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6 December 2023

Reflecting on 2023

Psalms‬ ‭103:2‭-‬5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

[2] Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— [3] who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, [4] who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, [5] who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


In January 2019, the Lord delivered me from a lifelong struggle with depression & suicidal thoughts after watching an online sermon. However, deliverance needs to go hand-in-hand with healing. We can't just clean the house by chasing the demons, but we also have to get rid of the reason why the strong man was there in the first place. Then we must dismantle the stronghold so God can become our refuge & stronghold, otherwise, when we experience a situation that triggers those old feelings, we'll reach for the familiar or we'll replace the false refuges with new ones. My strongholds remained & because my trauma hadn't been resolved, I merely replaced my false refuges with church, choir & serving. When lockdown came the mat was once again ripped out from under me but through God's divine intervention, I stumbled onto Sandra's online "Trauma Training" webinar during which I realised I was the one standing in the need of prayer.


Last January during my B-School small group prayer ministry the Holy Spirit revealed that I had judged mom & dad as cold, distant, emotionally unavailable & unloving. Dishonouring mom & dad set me up for a lifetime of reaping. I had vowed never to become like mom & dad but that didn't go well for me. When we judge, we doom ourselves to do the same things & subsequently I became cold, distant & emotionally unavailable.  When my boys became older, they too became cold & distant. After all,  children learn what they LIVE, right?


Scripture teaches us to honour Mom & Dad. Deuteronomy 5:16 (NASB1995) Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.

In every area where we dishonour mom & dad things won't go well with us & where my boys are concerned, things weren't going so well. As they got older, they too became cold, distant & withdrawn. After all,  children learn what they LIVE, right? However, after repenting & apologising to my boys for my many mistakes as well as continuing to pursue my healing, our relationships have changed significantly in our family.


My biggest transformation happened at C-School in July last year when my strongholds of denial & shame were dismantled. At D-School hidden rebellion & self-hatred was dealt with resulting in a massive improvement in my allergic reactions to food. I can now eat cheese without getting migraines afterwards.


Running the Elijah House Encounter groups have been a massive learning experience for me. When the Lord prompted me to do it last year, my first response was a resounding "no ways, I'm ill-equipped & struggle with social anxiety. Surely, you can find someone better to do it!" but I have since learnt God can do more with my yes than I can do with all the education in the world. Courage & confidence follows OBEDIENCE! I've had to step way outside of my comfort zone & learn to trust that God would give me the ability to do what HE called me to do. I'm learning to lead, to trust, be authentic & also vulnerable enough to allow those around me to lift my arms when I feel weak. However I am now content with my weaknesses because God's grace is sufficient for me & His strength is revealed through my weakness.


The question "When did you stop being a daughter?" during the Bitter Root Judgements lesson last month, revealed to me that I have NEVER felt like a daughter. I may have closed my heart to mum & dad in the womb when I turned from life because I perceived I was a mistake. In my wounding I closed my heart to my parents & people in general, but in doing so, I also shut God out & opened the door to the orphaned heart... & therein lay my struggle with intimacy(in-to-me-see), hearing, seeing & relating to Him as my Father.  I had hardened my heart. It was encased in stone, wrapped with barbed wire & surrounded by iron bars & walls. God gave me this Scripture 3 decades ago & again, several times after receiving prayer ministry over the last 3 years. Ezekiel 36:26-27 26Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. The heart of stone must be loved to life by God through His people including family, friends, prayer group & community. My need to help people set me on a path of healing, restoration & transformation but also created many opportunities for the Elijah House tribe to love me back to life.  I am finally learning to respond & live from my redeemed heart I was given at conversion.


Over the years our youngest, had become more & more withdrawn until finally as a young adult he'd be in his room all day, not even bothered to hang out with friends. I've seen so many of my own responses in my boys, especially Misha, & yes, as I recognised my role in causing the wounds, I've  asked them for forgiveness. In all of his life I had never received an "I love you too" when I told him I loved him. He's always resisted hugs but I got my first I love you too response last November. He's been coming out more, sometimes just to ruffle my hair or even sit on my lap for a few minutes.


Coming home after receiving prayer ministry with Sandee in June this year, it suddenly dawned on me that Misha was born more needy than his brother, because for the 1st 12 weeks of my pregnancy with him, I refused to bond or even acknowledge the pregnancy, after having miscarried 4 in those early weeks & I just wasn't able to bear another loss.


Life & our personal spirit begin at conception. Even science has proven what Scripture has taught all along that babies pick up on their environment & mom's emotions in the womb. He would have sensed my turmoil & experienced the rejection & abandonment of my hesitancy to bond.


Then for the first 3 weeks after he was born, I couldn’t do anything for him because I had an infection in my C-section & could barely make it to the bathroom. He cried a lot & not knowing any better we followed the so-called expert advice that if he's fed & dry we should leave him to self-soothe. I would agonise over him crying for what felt like hours. Eventually he stopped crying & became the child that even when he hurt himself, would cry for like 2 seconds & then just move on.


When I got home from prayer ministry, I found him in the kitchen & shared this  revelation with him. I asked for his forgiveness & now I have a son who actually notices when I'm not home & over the last few weeks he has even spent time in my studio helping me pour some of my latest resin projects.


I have learnt:


  • God won't heal what we refuse to acknowledge.

  • If we don't forgive others, including ourselves, God won't forgive us, autch!

  • We are called to make accurate assessments between RIGHT & WRONG but when our judgements are defiled with bitterness, we doom ourselves to do the same things & sow dishonour.

  • When I step on your toes, I must apologise but when I  hurt your heart, I must ask for forgiveness to rebuild trust.

  • When we as parents recognise their wounding, acknowledge our mistakes & ask for forgiveness because we’ve hurt them, we create an opportunity for restitution so their hearts can heal & our children learn can to do the same.

  • We’re either going to be someone they look up to or someone they never want to be like.

  • We are human BEINGS, not human doings.

  • Be authentic & be VULNERABLE!

  • Courage & confidence follows OBEDIENCE!


Last but not least, November to January have historically been my trigger seasons because I lost my village to immigration at 5, just 1 of many displacement traumas that would follow. Last year was one of the hardest trigger seasons for me because having renounced all my self-protection vows to box my emotions & not to feel, I have lost the ability to box & numb them, so I am having to learn to feel & rightly express my emotions thus making them seem more intense.


Two weeks ago I experienced a major trigger that had the potential to spiral me back into withdrawal & depression. When I arrived at church at 7h30 for worship dance, there were 3 men waiting to do some work. I wasn't aware they'd be there, felt unsafe & vulnerable. I rushed inside & locked the door behind me. I tried to dance but couldn't focus & the angst was rising uncontrollably inside me. After about 30 minutes I decided to call it quits & go home instead. However I would spend the rest of the day in tears & turmoil. When I came for foodbank the next day, I was totally distraught. Pastor David & Cobi prayed for me, then when I got downstairs, my friend, Caroline prayed off the trauma from the sexual abuse as a teen. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that I had judged men as unsafe & because of my dad's absence in my life, I had judged him as unprotective & come to expect that I'm not safe. After repenting from the judgments, expectations & lies I had come to believe, I was able to calm down & in spite of all the triggers the enemy had fired my way, the familiar spirit of heaviness during this season has not resurfaced this year.


I'm truly thankful for all the Lord has done & is still doing in our lives. Finally I have a home, a country, identity, a culture & it's okay to BE ME. I'm home in the Father's house & it's gorgeous. It's amazing. I just declare the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:6-8. Not crying myself to sleep after Christmas & being just 3 weeks shy of 5 years victory over depression are my biggest breakthrough miracles this year. My birthday has always been shrouded in heaviness & I have stopped celebrating them a long time ago but instead I now celebrate my new life in Christ. I'm no longer barely surviving but instead I'm thriving.


May this testimony be a beacon of hope to anyone struggling with similar issues. What God's done for us, He can & will do for you if only you'd let Him into those messy areas of your life. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.


Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

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