I have now been in California for about four and a half months. And, attending Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, BSSM, for 3 months. Amazing, crazy, beautiful, painful things have surrounded me and covered me, around me and inside me. Not a part of my being, physical or spiritual has not been affected. Not at all what I expected, but exactly what I needed and I think subconsciously hoped for.
God is the all knowing, all seeing Father, also known as omniscience. In this nature of His, because of His extreme love for me, me being here right now is all part of His perfect timing. In addition, my heart was ready in this season to process and receive all of this stuff going on around me and going through me. Any other time in my life, this continually life-giving water would not have flowed through me freely, but rather lay stagnant in a puddle beside me.
In the Bethel community, this is a word you hear often. Initially, I was not completely sure what it meant or that it was something for me. It was for everyone else, they had stuff to get through, I was fine. After all, I had spent 10 months before coming here dealing with all of my stuff. Right? Ha! That’s what I thought! The Lord knew better, as did the leadership around me.
Within the first 2 weeks in, I realized that God had started me in my process and that I had so much more stuff in my heart that needed processing…
So what is process? Oxford dictionary defines it as a series of steps taken in order to achieve an end result. Makes sense. Maybe? What was I trying to achieve and what steps did I need to take? Or, better yet… what did God want to do in me and how was He going to do that? WOW. I began to see clearly that I had quite a bit of work in front of me.
The journey began. It started with things that I felt I needed to deal with, fear being one biggie for me. Interestingly enough, as I highlighted fears, Holy Spirit revealed to me how basic those fears were and then went deeper with me with each fear. As we looked at each fear, my eyes were opened for the first time in my life… fear had taken root in my heart many, many years ago and from it had grown a tree which had essentially controlled my entire life. My entire life, 40 plus years, had been rooted in fear! So many different moments, emotions, actions and reactions from my past made sense. I was living out of a place of fear.
To those of you who have never dealt with fear, or at least fear to this degree, this might not seem like a big deal to you. But to me and to others who have been there, this is something that is often immobilizing, both physically and emotionally.
I was literally afraid all the time… afraid to talk to someone because they might not like me, afraid to go to a social event because I was afraid to talk to people, afraid of how I looked, afraid to ride with someone because of anxiety in cars, afraid to speak because I might sound stupid, afraid to go place because of fear of heights, afraid to go places outside because of my fear of spiders and on and on and on. Essentially I was a 24/7 basket case full of anxiety and self-hatred who was often in a state of depression.
The crazy thing is, I really did not see this until about 2 months ago. This is when my process began and Holy Spirit began revealing all of this to me. Then, we began the difficult process of breaking all these fears off of me!!! Before the fears began to leave though, the Father and I had to talk about why they were there… I realized that it was really based on my trust and trusting that God was in control. I had no reason to be afraid, because of Him. As I stayed in Him, fear wouldn’t be there, first because in love there is no fear and the Father is love, (1 John 4:18 ) and also because the Father was my protector and He wasn’t going to let anything happen to me. (Psalm 18:2)
In these moments, I also felt His amazing love that was so good… I will talk more about that another time. His love for me was the reason He began to take me through this painful process of getting rid of the fears that had controlled me for so long. The two things that I really thought had been so big, my fear of heights and my fear of spiders, were the first things the Lord and I worked on.
Spiders would freak me out and I would scream and I would usually not go anywhere near a spider. I remember one time when my husband got a spider for me by merely squishing it between his fingers and I said to him, I wish I could do that. Well, crazier things have happened… I actually had one crawling on my couch one night, about a week into school, and not only did I not freak out and jump up, but I reached over and squished it with my fingers! It took a moment for that to process through my brain and when I did, I screamed in victory!!! It was so good. Since then I have had spiders in my apartment, that I have not even killed, because they weren’t hurting me! I release that testimony over anyone reading this who has a fear of spiders.
Now, the heights thing was a bit more intense. There was a moment one time in the Dallas airport when my husband, Roy, and I were going up an escalator, and my body went into a panic attack mode. I froze and my heart began racing just crazy fast. When I finally reached the top, I barely was able to lift my feet to get off the escalator but then proceeded to fall to the floor and crawl over to the side in a corner and was consumed by tears that raked my body. I shook and sobbed for about 10 or 15 minutes. I was terrified for the remainder of the day and filled with anxiety. This was the norm for me throughout my life. God was ready to change that! As a part of our building relationships and trust not only with God, but also within our revival groups at BSSM, each revival group was to spend a day at a ropes course close by. I was somewhat fearful, but not like I expected. The morning of the day we were to go as I spent time with the Lord, I heard Him in that still small voice so clear… Irene when you come home tonight your fear of heights will be gone. I didn’t question, but instead trusted because I was filled with so much peace. Well, with the presence of the Lord and the support of my group, I was able to make it through the entire course, and was only slightly afraid about 3 times. It was the most amazing and freeing feeling ever!!! I actually want to do things up high now!!! I also release that testimony over anyone with a fear of heights!
In reflecting, I see how the Lord is working so close with me in this process. He is slowly and gently peeling of the layers that have covered my heart for all these years. My Father is lovingly showing me things and allowing me to cry, be angry, repent and just let go. I already feel stronger and more sure of His love and my love for myself. I am excited about meeting the true me once the layers are gone and my heart is revealed and fully healed!
In part 2 of this blog, I will go deeper into some of the things that have been revealed to me by the Holy Spirit that were hidden fears and how we are processing through those. I pray that sharing my process will help catapult others into freedom from fears while realizing that no one is ever truly alone, God is always with us and so are the people around you. Thank you for reading… may you feel His love, peace and blessings today!!!