Not to be dramatic or anything. Ha!
The last week and a half have been crazy. Busy, but also restful in a weird way. I've been learning a lot from God, and it's been awesome to see the things that he says to me during my quiet times confirmed throughout the day in other conversations and through the teaching. Often times what he says is word-for-word what others will say, and every single time, I'm blown away by how cool that is. I'll never get used to it. But I really don't want to either.
A week ago on Friday, I was baptized in the Caribbean by two of my [many] favorites on staff. I have felt a push to be baptized over the past year, but because I had done it as a child, I didn't really feel the need to.
During freedom week, we went to God in prayer to ask who we needed to forgive. Forgiveness is something that I didn't realize had such a negative spot in my mind, but God quickly showed me that I've only ever forgotten about being hurt and never forgiven those who have hurt me in the past. I always viewed forgiveness as excusing actions. Like saying "it's okay", when it actually isn't okay. I didn't want to be fake about it, so I never forgave people. I just decided to move on and get over it. But doing life that way caused me to go numb.
Numbing is something that I also overlooked. Instead of feeling sadness or acceptance for what happened in my life, I went straight to anger and stayed there. I felt that sadness was the same as weakness.
When I made the list of people I needed to find forgiveness for, I opened wounds that had been numbed and covered up - some since I was a little kid - and saying the things out loud that I thought I had "gotten over" brought feelings that I didn't even know existed to the surface. It was raw. There was a lot of praying and handing it over to God and offering forgiveness aloud and crying that took place in a super short period of time. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting, but afterwards, I felt physically lighter. I can't describe it any other way. I felt like I was almost floating.
In an effort to embrace the forgiveness and freedom that I experienced, I decided to be baptized. It was a visible way to show that I am no longer in the place of numbing and heavy anger, but that I am free! I declared aloud to my new family that I am a new person and won't go back to who I was.
I fully believe that I will be used to teach others how to find freedom at some point in my journey because I can so easily relate to holding onto unforgiveness, yet was able to experience the intensity of freedom when I gave it to God. I let it go!! (Elsa status!)
Every week challenges me in a new way. I'm sure I'll have more to say next week. Stay tuned. :)
Love you all!!!