It’s been a long time coming. I’ve walked through many bruises, hurts, wounds, and traumas. I’ve spent nearly 40 years now in hot pursuit of knowing Jesus more intimately and finding my destiny on this earth. My hope was like fuel in reserves and I was running out fast. Would I ever break through? Would things ever make sense? Who am I anyway? The questions only drove me further into despair. Dangling like the fuzz on the end of the piece of thread, I mustered up all the strength I had left and visited my family and their church in Columbus, Ohio (Zion Christian Fellowship) in the hopes of a refreshing, an encounter, a breakthrough, anything!
You may be surprised to know that once I arrived, a battle of the wills began as I stood in the church pew soaking in His presence during heartfelt worship. I could feel the lord unctioning me to step out into the river that flows so freely before the altar there. Oh I had done this before and left my own river of tears there every time. So I began to reason with the Lord, “Why can’t you and I just meet here Lord? Why do I have to go back into the river and gush like a flash flood? I always fall apart when I’m here. I don’t want to keep acting like this when I visit. Touch me right here Lord”. Instantly He said, “Did you drive 4 hours to leave here unchanged Julie?” Finally, I relented and lay before the Father during worship. Wanting so badly not to cry, to “look strong”, I actually held my breath in an attempt to hold back the tears. Needless to say, that didn’t last long and an ocean of tears poured out of me. (I like to affectionately call these moments our liquid prayers).
I began to talk with a family member and describe how I was spiritually stuck, depleted, confused, and weary. Moments later I found myself in a quiet room outside the sanctuary with my family member and a woman I had never met before that day. What followed was a beautiful encounter with Jesus and the journey that began hope’s rising. As we began to talk, the Lord immediately took us back to a time in my life when I was but 4 years old. A family friend had molested my sister and me. I knew in general the things that took place at that time in my life, but I was so young. I always thought that unfortunate time in my life was not the incident that was holding me back. However, I could not have been more wrong. Isn’t that amazing? He really does know us better than we know ourselves (Romans 8:27).
We went back to that time in my life (myself, the ladies in the room with me, and Jesus). The woman would ask me what I saw and how I felt and of course there were many tears. After some time dealing with the trauma, she asked me where Jesus was in the room. I didn’t see Him anywhere. She talked with me some more and eventually I could see Him, but I saw Him standing outside my bedroom looking in at the scene. After more discussion, she asked me one more time where Jesus was. Suddenly I could see Him and it took my breath away. He was there, sitting on the edge of my bed, and he was crying; sobbing actually. I covered my mouth and cried uncontrollably for a few minutes. He was there. I can’t believe it. In one of the darkest moments of my life He was there. This was such a profound moment for me; to see Him in that darkness, in that painful and traumatic moment of my life. He was there. Why had I not seen this before? He’s omnipresent. Of course He was there. My head may have always known this in some way, but now, it was amazingly different because my heart knew it and I was forever changed. Staying in that moment, I was asked to give “little Julie” to Jesus; to pick her up and place her in the arms of Jesus. In place of this experience, I saw Jesus giving me hope and joy. I find this to be so beautiful because His Word says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12), and now I am alive. For the first time in my life, I’m ‘really alive’.
In the days that have since followed, I continue to read the notes taken from these encounters. Yes, there are more! These notes feed my spirit man and hope rises with every word. I’ve been forever changed. It has been days since this first encounter and repeatedly I can look back at what used to be so painful and now it is somehow beautiful because He was there….He was there…..and He was in your darkest moments too. I am no longer on the path that leads to death, but life. My hope is rising. I’m going to make it now and I know it. My destiny is just around the corner. I’m breaking through.
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I believe many of you can relate to the state of hopelessness and despair I was in. You feel like after all of these years walking with Jesus you shouldn’t be feeling this way right? I understand. But there is hope! Jesus himself said in, Matthew 12: 20, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory” (ESV). You are not going to break. You are not going to drown. Your circumstances will change, but it requires something of you.
At the beginning of this story I told how a battle of the wills ensued the day hope began to rise again. I had determined at this point in my life that it was going to be Jesus and Julie and that was it. I wasn’t going to trust anyone else to bring me through these places. I had already been there and done that. No thanks. No one else had a right to these places of my life. I had my plan and I was sticking to it! But do you remember what Jesus said to me in response? He said, “Did you drive all this way to leave here unchanged Julie?” He wanted me to step out in faith and trust Him to come through for me on His terms, not mine. When I lay on the floor before the altar that day sobbing, Jesus was plowing the hard places of my heart. He was preparing me to visit a painful place and be made whole; only I did not know that yet. Had I not listened to Him that day, I would not be writing this now. Maybe you have your own preconceived notions about how you will come out of the place you are in. I would encourage you to spend time in the secret place, spend time meditating on His Word, and listen to the guidance of His still small voice. Most importantly, always remember, James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you….”
For His Glory,
A TURNAROUND FOR YOU..
A word by Dana Jarvis
I decree you are making the spiritual journey from the bondage of Egypt into your promised land of destiny. I know you have grown weary. Do not let the murmurings and complaining attitudes rule you. It causes the faith to waiver! Your focus is upon the cup of bitter waters that you are currently drinking from.
Rest assured that your God is making these bitter waters sweet!
You shall taste and see that the Lord is good! You are going to see such extravagance in your daily life. He is delivering much into your hands so reach up and take hold. Just as he was with you before, he is with you now. You are going to drink deep of the Living Waters. The bitter waters of life have tried to steal all joy.
However I hear the Lord say, “It is done, I am the Lord who heals you. I am the Lord who will restore you. I am the Lord who will provide your every need. I am the One that is making the bitter waters sweet!”
I feel so strongly that God is removing your cup of bitter waters you have had to drink for so long. He is causing a turnaround for you in a situation that you desperately need him to move. I am speaking to several and know this word is for you. Even as the Lord led Moses and the children of Israel from their bondage at the Red Sea, it still took one step of faith. One step of faith is all it takes to cause a release from all of this. Take a moment and sow into good ground by giving into Spirit Fuel. For just a contribution of $25, $50, or even $100 or more given into Spirit Fuel is an active step and good ground on which to sow. It is a powerful ministry reaching the world for Christ. As you sow that offering, it is that act of faith that will cause the Red Sea where you are standing to part in your life. The bitter cup will be removed and the sweetness of the Lord shall begin to flow!
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