Have you ever asked to hear the voice of the Lord and then been nervous about what He might say? Have you ever wondered if God really means the best for you in this world of chaos and heartache? Have you ever wondered if what you are hearing is really from God?
Katie had these questions too, and walking through trials with the promise of God’s goodness didn’t always feel like freedom. But His truth and love prevailed, and she is excited to share her story!
My first exposure to Focus on the Heart was in college when I took the ABC’s course with some other girls my age. I grew up in a Christian household. Having a strong foundation in the Scriptures, I asked Jesus to be my Savior when around the age of 4. However, as I got older I was plagued by doubts – Am I really saved? How do you know if you’ve never heard God’s voice? Have I done enough, checked all the right boxes? I had said all the right things, been involved in all the right programs, but my confidence in what it meant to be “saved” faltered.
As college approached and I launched out on my own, I began to recognize the legalism I had internalized – trying to fit in to God’s box of right and avoid what was wrong. But I was exhausted by the constant need to perform, never really knowing if I was good enough, and wondering “What does it even mean to be good enough?”
It was with these questions that I stepped into the ABC’s of Caregiving. The insecurity I felt had become a rock weighing me down. I was ready to ask questions. I wanted to hear God’s voice. I needed something to change. As I entered the room on the first day, I saw that the class was filled with women and friends I knew and trusted. The environment created was safe. We talked about confidentiality and protecting each others hearts, and as the weekend went on I heard people sharing parts of their life stories that resonated with mine. The leaders of the group were women whose walk with the Lord I trusted, so I began opening up and asking those questions I had longed to have answers to – and they listened.
With compassion, patience, tenderness and love, they sat with me as I shared my fears and questions. My heart poured out what had caused anxiety and fear for so many years, and they gently asked me where I saw Jesus and what He had to say to me – “I wash you.” Oh, wow. His voice, so clear, so kind, so loving – “I wash you and you are my Daughter.” Having never heard from God before, I never imagined that it was possible, to know without a doubt that He would speak directly to my heart, to my fears, to my life. I sat and sobbed – but this time it was with tears of joy, reconciliation and acceptance. Tears that come with overwhelming love – knowing I am washed, cherished and sought after by the King. Thus began my transformation
The Avenue of FOH
It was not Focus on the Heart, or the ABC’s course that changed my life – that would be crediting them with something far beyond their capabilities. But, they became the avenue in which my relationship with God blossomed and flourished. They gave me a new and profound way to approach God that felt safe. Explaining applicable “heart” concepts that I had missed in the past through Sunday School, Bible Studies and small groups. Creating a practice of active listening and intentional questions, allowed the space to answer truly what I was honestly thinking and feeling rather than what I knew the right answer should be.
I’m still growing; I’m still in process; I still have a lot to learn – but I walk with a God Who is ever present and wants to heal my heart. I’m thankful to FOH for creating an avenue that I could learn more about my Lord who loves me unconditionally, and calls me His Daughter.
“I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.” (ESV)
The whole chapter of Psalms 116 models a lot of what I have felt walking the road to “maturity.” It often feels more like stumbling down the road to maturity, but, either way, I am a different person than who I was a few years ago. Each part of this verse is a reminder and a promise to me. Walking before the Lord reminds me that He sees me; that He is setting a pace for me – even when I feel like running. For many years I felt disconnected from people and from God. I was trapped by how I was trying to cope with life, and I felt dead. “In the land of the living” is such a different and wonderful place. A place where I am so thankful for how the Lord is changing me.