For those of you who follow along and read my last blog post, it is my highest honor to say I have my first guest blogger! I am so excited for one of my best friends share her experience in Idaho! Buckle up because it is amazing!
I recently got back from a trip to Idaho to see one of my favorite people. Ashley was kind enough to provide me with the opportunity to leave my current situation so that I could be refreshed. I thought the trip was going to be restoring in the sense that I would get to step outside of my normal everyday life and honestly just take a breather. Hang out with a best friend, explore a new city, etc. It was all those things, but it was so much more. It was restoring to my spirit. It was restoring to my relationship with God and to my sense of self.
You see, little did I know, that God had a bigger and better plan for this trip for me. He planned on meeting me in a way that I could not deny and so desperately desired. Looking backwards, I honestly wonder if God had been preparing my heart and my mind for this trip for years so that I would be ready to experience him in a way that I never fully had before. This is because if Ashley had not started going to the Tree of Life and started experiencing the Holy Spirit in a tangible way, then I wouldn’t have been freaked out by it. If I hadn’t been freaked out by it, then I wouldn’t have prayed for God to soften my heart towards her experiences so that I could still be there for her. If I hadn’t prayed for God to soften my heart to people (especially Ashley) utilizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit and encountering Jesus in such a real way, then I wouldn’t have been able to feel safe enough with Ashley to really open my heart and mind to God while she was praying for me. I share this to encourage you as it has me. Even before I knew what this season would bring, he was preparing me to be able to endure it and he was preparing me to be ready for what he had for me: a deeper understanding of his presence and love.
Every night that I was in Idaho, Ashley guided me in prayer and helped me seek the Lord. Every. Single. Night. It wasn’t at a church service or at a spiritual conference, but in a single apartment with two girls (in their pajamas) earnestly seeking the Lord. And guess what – God met us in that space. I can’t say it was easy. In fact, I think I cried each night at one point or another because God was working at breaking off chains that lived within me. In fact, the second night I was there, Ashley was guiding me in a prayer to let the love that Jesus has for me in and I just kept seeing a brick wall. A literal red brick wall. Ashley, being the amazing friend and Godly woman that she is, got me ready for battle and told me we were going to go knock down that brick wall. At one point, I was getting ready to take a swing at the brick wall when all of a sudden my feet felt incredibly heavy and weighed down. I tried to pick up my foot (in the physical/ natural world) with all of my might and I couldn’t. I could not move my feet at all. I honestly started to panic. “Ashley, I can’t move my feet. Why can’t I move my feet?! This doesn’t make any sense” I exclaimed. She asked me to look around and say whatever I saw. When I looked down at my feet, there were these gigantic shackles on them. I told Ashley and she instantly dropped to her knees and knelt by my feet. She started praying for God to break me free from the shackles. He did. I then had to move my feet to walk towards the wall, but my mind was still fighting against me. How did that happen? It didn’t make any sense. Why couldn’t I move my feet? What if it happens again? Ashley was encouraging me to take steps forward, and I did as much as I could. They started out small and then slowly got bigger until I made my way to the wall. Later, God revealed to me that the shackles consisted of lies people have said about me and lies that I have spoken over myself. To be honest, that is just the start of the encounter I had with God, but if I share it all here, this post would be 20 pages long.
I wanted to highlight this moment though because it was the first time that I had fully experienced the spiritual and the natural intertwine. I had received words of knowledge for people before (not in a long time before this week); however, that still wasn’t tangible. My spirit knew what was going on and my body couldn’t deny what had happened, but my mind was trying as hard as it could to rationalize or make sense of it. But what it showed me, is just how close the Holy Spirit is. How close the spiritual war is. It often feels far away or metaphorical. Just some lofty, airy, concept. But it is our reality. And when we truly seek God, he will awaken our spiritual eyes to what is around us. As a result of experiencing that moment with my feet, I was later able to recognize where God has been in various situations in my life when I had felt abandoned by him. I was able to, with the help of the Holy Spirit, look back and see that God was with me the entire time.
As I returned home, and my normal life came off of pause, I felt the attacks of the enemy and the darkness of this decaying world fall upon me once again. The weight felt extremely heavy, especially after a week of feeling free. Then I remembered that God has removed the shackles. That he has lifted the weight and is carrying the burden. I have realized that he was with me then and he is with me now. Anytime that I am overwhelmed in the moment, I find myself closing my eyes, seeking the Lord, and meeting with him in our secret place. Our meeting place where I feel loved and seen. Our place where I can let go of the worry and embrace his joy and peace. That is my prayer for you. That you can encounter God in a way that completely shifts your spirit in alignment with his and allows you to run to your secret place with Jesus.
Thank you for letting me share with you! If you want to hear more about my time in Idaho, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to share with you all that Jesus did in that week!
Also, shout out to Ashley for being an incredible friend. I have been extremely blessed with her friendship and honestly just consider myself so lucky to have her in my life.