Wendy Reichelt writes:
I recently listened to one of our Hills women share something God was doing in her life, as she faced some huge challenges in her personal journey. I asked her to put it in writing as I wanted time to process what it was she had shared. She sent it to me last week and I felt that it was worth sharing on here and I asked her how she would feel about contributing her words to this weeks blog.Although a little `scared’ about putting `out there’, she has said `YES’. The Bible says that we overcome by the `blood of the lamb; and words of our testimony’. I beleive there is a rich source of revelation here for you but I also know that in sharing this that this amazing woman of God will find a rich source of healing as she empowers other with the truth. Here is Wendy Reichelt’s message for the Hills Sisterhood few years ago the Lord caused me to ponder on the story of Hagar, the servant of Sarah. Hagar had run away, but God said she needed to go back and face things. At that time I felt that God was challenging me to go back to my past (and to things that had really caused me a lot of pain) to work it through and then, in His timing, He would release me with a blessing. What gripped me powerfully was when Hagar declared, “The Lord has seen me” (Gen16.13). For me, who felt that my pain and hurt had not been seen, and therefore, did not matter, this was a huge thing – God saw me – and He cared about what He saw.
Recently I have been challenged to go to my past (again!). It didn’t seem as though there was anything more to uncover, yet I needed to admit that my life was far from free. So once more I journeyed back. I couldn’t understand it, but I knew I was not moving forward, and that there was something stopping me from experiencing real freedom in Christ.
I started seeing a counselor, as well as praying and seeking God on what was going on. My counselor kept urging me – Where did your hurt go – what did you do with those feelings? I was confused – I mean what did she mean? hadn’t I given them to Jesus when I gave my life to Him. But God kept challenging me through His Word, books I was reading and my counselor. I felt He was challenging me about escaping rather than being released. I did a search on Escape and Release and this is what I discovered:
To Escape certainly means to gain freedom. But this freedom comes by managing to avoid (punishment, disease etc). Synonyms include: Abscond, flee, avoidance, evasion.
Release also means freedom, but it means to be made free (a prisoner etc) from captivity. Release is an order allowing a prisoner freedom. To be released is also
– to loosen one’s grip and stop holding
– to move (a catch, brake etc) so that it no longer prevents something from moving or operating
There it was – God’s truth. Because I was still holding those things, those things were still holding me. Until I could release them, those past attitudes, hurts and ways of thinking would operate as a brake in my life, preventing me from moving and operating as I longed to, and as God intended me to. On many levels I had forgiven those who had hurt me in the past, those that had both knowingly and unknowingly contributed to my pain. But what I had not done, was loosened my grip and stopped holding those things in my heart and my thinking, where they continued to influence my reactions and actions.
Through prayer it became clear – I hadn’t given them to Jesus but instead long ago I had hidden them in my heart and nailed them shut tight down there.
So it came to this – had I allowed Jesus to set me free, or has I used Jesus to escape? You see, it turns out that it really matters how the freedom comes.
In Acts 12 the Apostle Peter is miraculously freed from prison. Suddenly there was a bright light in the prison and an angel of the Lord strikes Peter on his side and says “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell from his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me”, the angel ordered. (Acts 12:7,8). When Peter arrived back where the other disciples were staying he told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. (Verse 17). Clearly he was released – fully clothed and ready. Had I allowed Jesus to release me from my bondage – was I set free, fully clothed with all that God had for me?
Later in Acts, Paul and Silas are in prison, and a massive earthquake causes all the prison doors to open and the chains fall off. But the men do not escape. Instead they demand that the officials come and release them. Same as in Exodus – Moses, sent by God, goes to Pharoah and demands, let my people go. They did not escape – they were released by God’s authority. Not only were they released but they took with them riches to prosper them on their journey.
Isaiah says of Jesus (Is 42 vs 7) you will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
When I gave my life to Jesus I thought I was free, but in reality I had tried to escape the dark things in my heart, rather than letting Jesus bring His light into those places. Because of that, even after all these years there were places in my heart where I still remained sitting in dark dungeons. I needed the release that only Jesus can give – and I needed, with His help, to release myself.
So, now the light of His presence is there in those dark places. My chains are off and with His leading and His authority I am learning to release the darkness. I have a way to go, but I am so excited to know that as He sets me free, and as He teaches me how to release me, I will at last be free indeed.