The Lord Outran Me
I registered for the Healing the Whole Person retreat with the intention of being an observer only. I was confident that I had been very successful in moving beyond the psychological and spiritual wounds of my past, but I was willing to attend the retreat and pick up a few new tools for my fix-it-myself tool box, for use if ever needed in the future.
I attended the retreat on Thursday and Friday evening. I found the Friday evening "Facing Our Brokenness" journaling exercise overwhelming, painful, and threatening. Needing space, I skipped the Saturday sessions and began using a variety of ego defense mechanisms (denial, rationalizing, justifying, and minimizing) to nullify the horror of having seen two sins that I had paired together to protect myself from vulnerability. My two sins were pride (self-sufficiency) and greed. Greed enabled self-sufficiency, ensured that I needed no one for anything, and provided me with enough cash to throw at any and every problem I faced. I believed that very few problems in life could not be solved if I threw enough cash at them. Yes, I know that is just plain dumb. Despite my attempt to run from my sin and wounds, the Lord outran me.
I sat in mass on Sunday morning, and the priest giving the homily had attended the retreat and delivered to me God's remedy for my sin and wounds - forgiveness. As directed by Father Paul, I visualized the three people who had hurt me most in life and walked with them to the Cross. In a way that I had never been able to do before on my own, I forgave each one of them. In an instant, I sensed God's love flowing through me like some kind of river.
On Monday my experience was put to the test. On several occasions over the past seven months I have encountered one particular couple from Iran. I am sad to say this, but I had nothing but contempt for them. The woman is in very poor physical health and, on this day, she was confronted with more bad news regarding her illness and cried inconsolably. Because of what God did in my heart, my attitude towards this woman and her husband changed. Contempt was displaced by love and compassion for her. I went to her, took and held her hands, talked and expressed compassion to her, and prayed with her and continue to pray for her (I have never prayed with anyone in my life!) I made certain I said Jesus in the prayer several times, so they wouldn't think I was praying to Allah. My relationship with this couple has radically changed since that day because my heart was changed.
In addition, God is beginning to draw me out of self-sufficiency and is giving me a desire to connect with other Christians. I want and am ready to be part of His body of believers.
Thank you Church of the Resurrection for bringing the retreat to Lansing!
I shared with you that I prayed with an Iranian lady and her husband. Well, the update is this - Jesus healed her! Her gangrene is reversing; blood flow is back and black tissue is turning pink (healthy tissue). I am so happy for this lady. God is awesome!
The Iranian lady is getting better and better. The scheduled amputation was canceled! I'm still stunned.