Posted in Christian, Healing, Life, Scripture

Our Dark Closets

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am
making everything new!”
Revelation 21:5 (NLT)

The Healing Ministry is housed in a lovely old homestead. Built in 1922, it later became a well-known Bed and Breakfast.   In 2001, the house was bought by the Healing Ministry and renamed The Glennon House. The Victorian house radiates love and gentle hospitality. It’s a bright and joyful place covered by lavish amounts of prayer, but like all houses it has dark, locked closets, some of which haven’t been opened in years.

I believe all of us have our dark, locked closets.

My closets were stuffed with secret things. They included, but were not limited to: old costume jewelry idols such as pride and envy. Sparkly, but threadbare dresses of self-righteousness. Fashionable, but painful high-heeled shoes of broken dreams. And the ugliest of all my boxed up items—the rhinestone blinders I wore when I looked for salvation everywhere except Jesus.

There were times when I didn’t have a clue how to clean these closets. I wanted to get rid of the old stuff, but on my own terms (ie. I wanted to get rid of MOST of the items, but not the pretty ones). I couldn’t ask other Christians to help because they would judge me (ie. I didn’t realize they had their own dark closets at home). So instead of cleaning it out, I locked the door and ignored it.

Initially it worked, but after a while the unhealed junk inside started rattling the knob, trying to bust out. I ended up spending most of my energy with my shoulder to the door, straining to keep it shut. It was exhausting!

Finally, with no choices left, I threw myself on Christ’s mercy and opened the door. And here is the really interesting thing: Jesus was already inside. He and the ‘Holy Spirit Cleaning Crew’ had already thrown out most of my junky old sins without me realizing it. When I asked how He got in there, He smiled. Then He reminded me that He’d bought all of me with His sacrifice, even the hurting parts. He’s Lord of my dark closets, too.

Everyone has closet trouble from time to time. Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus and His Holy Spirit Cleaning Crew for help cleaning them out. He bought ALL of you with His blood, not just the bright and joyful parts. To paraphrase His words in Revelation, “I am making EVERYTHING new, even your stinky old closets”. He’s the Lord of your dark closets. Go ahead and open that door. You’ll be glad you did.

Posted in Christian, Life

Belief

Belief is half of all healing. Your belief is valuable, so you must be careful
where you put it and in whom.
Tree Monster ~ from A Monster Calls

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a movie on iTunes that piqued my interest. It was a movie about a young boy whose mom was battling cancer. Every night he had the same nightmare about her falling into a dark chasm. He always woke up in a cold sweat after her hand slipped out of his.

Then one night, he had a dream of a giant Tree Monster who told the boy that it was going to tell the youngster three tales. And then after the third tale, the Tree Monster wanted the boy to tell it what his nightmare was every night.monster calls

The Tree Monster was the one “person” that the boy felt safe talking to about his anger, fears, and pain in response to his mom’s illness. This creation of his imagination allowed him to express and process everything that he was bottling up inside.

After one of the Tree Monster and young boy’s conversations, the Tree Monster told him, “Belief is half of all healing. Your belief is valuable, so you must be careful where you put it and in whom.”

The truth in those words struck a chord in my heart.

I remember when I first came back to the Lord. I was struggling with multiple physical issues that the Doctor’s could not explain. None of my test results where conclusive, but the symptoms I was having were visibly apparent. The Doctor’s were stumped. And I was extremely frustrated and exhausted.

A well-meaning Christian friend kept quoting me this passage from Scripture, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22) Since I was a new Christian, I unfortunately interpreted my lack of healing being all my fault because I wasn’t believing enough. I became very angry with myself and my inability to believe for my healing. I felt guilty that once again I wasn’t perfect at something.

Thankfully, I was reading the Bible one day and stumbled across these words, “I believe, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24 paraphrased) I began speaking that Scripture every time I started to blame myself for not believing for my healing enough. Whenever guilt would try to sneak in I would say those words out loud.

The more I said them, the more I came to realize that believing that God could/would heal me of what the Doctor’s couldn’t diagnose was just as important (if not more so) than believing for my healing. I had to believe that He was my Healer before I could receive the healing He wanted to give me.

As I continued praying to believe that God could/would heal me, I was referred to a Doctor who decided to run some more obscure tests to see if they would reveal some insight to what was causing my physical symptoms. And praise the Lord, these tests gave us some results that explained what was wrong. The Doctor was then able to offer up several available treatment plans.

What the Tree Monster said in the movie was true, Who we put our belief in is very important. Putting my belief in the Lord as my Healer brought me halfway to my healing. God then did the rest of the healing through the Doctor and the treatment plan.

If you need help to believe that God is your Healer and that He wants to heal you, I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for prayer. One of our trained Prayer Ministers would be honored to pray with you to come to know that God heals today just as He did over two thousand years ago.

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life

Storms

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”  “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong[c] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Matthew 14:28-30

Storms can be scary and they often demand our attention.

I have many memories of storms from when I was at Summer Camp in Maine. Up there winds would come charging across the lake forcing all of us to seek shelter in the big Dining Hall in the center of the camp. Once inside the walls, we would group together in different areas spread throughout the indoor space.

Some would be huddled close together with hands over their ears jumping at each clap of thunder. Some stood directly in front of the windows watching as the storm crashed its way across the lake onto land. And some completely ignored the storm just chattering away with each other.

I think a variety of reactions also occur when storms of life (e.g. a bad diagnosis from the doctor, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, etc.) whip up around us.

For most of my life, I felt like I lived in a perpetual storm. It felt like I was constantly being buffeted by stormy winds. There was a lot of chaos and not very much peace at all. My reactions to the storms in my life varied depending on where I was emotionally and mentally when the storm hit.

Sometimes, I was mesmerized by the storm so I simply stood watching it come burdened by a sense of defeat. It was coming and there was nothing I could do about it. Other times I slapped my hands over my ears jumping at every little sound of thunder the storm brought with it. Hoping, that if I hid from the storm that it might ignore me completely and pass on by inflicting no damage. And finally, my last coping method was to completely ignore the existence of the storm. If I denied that there was a storm then I could just remain clueless to the storm’s destruction.

Well, I can tell you from experience. None of those worked!

Because they all have one thing in common, they give the storm the power. The storm remains in control in all of those situations. It wasn’t until I came to the Glennon House for inner healing that I realized that I was acting just like Peter. By looking at the storm instead of at Jesus, I was going to succumb to the storm’s power every time. There was always going to be chaos in my life if the storms were my focal point.

It has been a process of learning that when my focus is on the Lord, the storms can rage all around me, but they don’t affect my peace. It doesn’t matter if I get drenched by the storm or pounded by the waves I will still have peace in the midst of my life storm when my eyes remain on Jesus. I am by far not perfect in weathering storms yet. Like Peter, I still sometimes let my eyes wander to the storm which causes me to start sinking. The good news is that as soon as I cry out the Lord he rescues me from the storm’s clutches.

If you feel as if you are focusing on the storms in your life instead of the Lord. I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for prayer. Let Him help you to receive the peace that He has for you.

Posted in Christian, Life, ministry, Scripture

Perfectly Imperfect

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God.  It’s not the result of anything you’ve done,
so no one can brag about it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (GW)

Recently, I signed up for a portrait drawing class. This is way outside of my comfort zone. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. However, when it comes to drawing I don’t even come close to being perfect. So, for me this is quite the humbling creative experience.

For the very first lesson, the teacher instructed us to draw a portrait with our non-dominant hand. The results were quite humorous – to say the least. My drawing resembled the doodlings of a toddler. Then she instructed us to draw the same portrait with our dominant hand. I would really like to be able to tell you that there was a dramatic difference. Unfortunately, my portrait drawn with my dominant hand might actually have been worse than the one drawn with my non-dominant hand.

I was surprised that the lack of perfection in my artwork didn’t agitate me or make me decide to quit the class. I actually had the opposite reaction. I felt like all the pressure to perform perfectly had been lifted from my shoulders. I was now free to enjoy the class.
To listen. To watch. To learn. To create.

A majority of my life the drive to be perfect has stolen the joy out of many moments. In fact, I often didn’t even attempt to do things if I didn’t think that perfection would be the outcome. But my biggest perfection stumbling block was in my relationship with the Lord.

I bought into the lie that I had to be perfect before I could ask the Lord into my life. For years, I tried to get my act together in all areas. I kept saying, “Once I have _____________ fixed in my life. Then I can seek the Lord.”

That mentality doomed me to the perpetual cycle of always putting off starting a relationship with the Lord. In fact, if I had continued to believe that lie I still wouldn’t know Him at all! Thankfully, the Lord put a person in my path who showed me that God wanted “imperfect me” to seek out a relationship with Him. And technically, since I can never be perfect my waiting for perfection was a futile endeavor.

Once I decided to reach out to God, in the midst of my imperfect life, I discovered joy. The joy that comes from being loved unconditionally whether I am perfect or I am an imperfect mess. Jesus doesn’t need us to be perfect to be in relationship with Him. He simply needs us to humble ourselves by reaching out to Him even when we know we can’t be perfect.

It was a huge eye opener when I discovered that the Lord didn’t love me more when I was perfect and less when I was imperfect. For the first time in my life, I could be vulnerable in a relationship. All I had to do was reach out to the Lord and hold His hand as we walked through the imperfect mess that was my life. And the amazing part was that as I walked with the Lord He began to heal those areas in my life that were holding me back from the His joy.

Now that I don’t approach a relationship with the Lord wearing performance based blinders, I am free to be truly loved by Him. It is much easier to receive His love knowing that He loves me perfectly in my imperfection.

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life, Uncategorized

The Art of Grumbling and Complaining

Oh Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and My God.
Psalm 5:1-2a

At last evening’s Healing Service, Pastor Steve gave a wonderful sermon about the Biblical basis for grumbling and complaining. I think it caused quite a stir for many of those in attendance. It isn’t often that you hear a Priest speak about it being okay for Christians to grumble and complain to the Lord.

In fact, for years I thought it was taboo for a Christian to even think, much less verbalize, about grumbling and complaining to the Lord. Because I was under the impression that when I accepted Jesus into my life all the bad stuff would miraculously disappear. And if I even acknowledged, for a moment, that there was something in my life that wasn’t perfect then I must not have enough faith. That is a terrible burden to put on oneself!

For a majority of my life, I kept my emotions bottled up inside of me. To me showing emotions was a sign of weakness. If anyone could see my emotional response to a circumstance then I felt like I had given them the upper hand. If I gave them the upper hand then they had the power to hurt me. So, I refused to even acknowledge that I had emotions.

Having no healthy outlet to express my emotions led to me directing all my anger and frustration at myself. I had the art of self-loathing perfected. When the anger/frustration built up to the exploding point I had no choice but to react.

Those emotional explosions lead me to cutting myself, punching myself, and burning myself with cigarettes. The horrible physical pain I felt from those emotion driven acts gave me the false sense of freedom from being strangled by anger/frustration. The self-inflicted violence was my way of giving voice to the torture I was experiencing inside.

I sometimes wish I had known then what I know now.

God’s greatest desire is for us to be in relationship with Him. He created us with emotions. Emotions that He knew might some days get the better of us, but that could also allow us to fall madly in love with Him. I can’t believe that He wouldn’t have given us those emotions if He didn’t want us to express to Him their full range. It is in our moments of emotional vulnerability that we often draw the closest to Him.

I know now that it broke God’s heart to watch me suffer silently – never verbalizing my pain. I can’t tell you how many Christians God put in my path during those dark years. It was His way of trying to save me from myself. I was awestruck at the way they had peace during the worst of circumstances. Time and time again they told me that a relationship with the Lord was what got them through it all. That being able to cry out to Him with all their anger and pain was what enabled them to deal with all the bad things going on in their lives.

Well when I finally did get into a relationship with Him, I had a hard time breaking my past cycle of bottling up all my emotions. It wasn’t until I began reading the Psalms that I realized that it was okay, actually it was healthy and good, to be completely open emotionally with God. The Psalmists grumbled, they complained, they cursed their enemies, they yelled at God, and they bawled their hearts out. They ran the gamut of emotions that dwell in every human. And then at the end of their lament they praised the Lord. It was like they vomited out all the negative emotions so that there was room for the Lord to heal them through their praising Him. They found their freedom in expressing all of their emotions…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you have been bottling up your emotions, I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for an appointment with our trained Prayer Ministers. They will stand beside you as your grumble, complain, cry, yell, and praise the Lord as He sets you free and heals you.

Posted in Christian, Life, Uncategorized

My Own Worst Bully

…we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (GNT)

For a majority of my life, my self-talk has been horrific. My own internal commentary was much worse than what anyone could have ever dreamed of saying to me. Granted some of my derogatory thoughts were formed from the thoughtless, hurtful words of others, but I embraced their words making them my mantra.

I was my own worst bully.

I constantly beat myself up mentally, emotionally, and yes, even physically. What began as my lame attempt at humorous self-deprecating quips grew into flat out bullying of myself on all three levels. My thoughts and words shaped the person I became. The meaner my self-talk, the lower my self-esteem and self-worth fell. By the time I was about to turn twenty, I viewed myself as pitiful excuse for a human being.

That had become my truth. Thanks to my constant self-bullying.

I used my own thoughts and words as weapons against myself. Phrases such as:

You are not pretty enough
You are not good enough
You will never amount to anything in this life
You stink at relationships
You are so stupid
You are lazy
You are fat
You are ugly
You are unloveable

When you hear those thoughts on a constant non-ending loop, you begin to believe them. They become who think you are…a loser. That mental and emotional self-bullying led me to a life of addictions and eating disorders. So not only was I mentally and emotionally injuring myself, I was also physically hurting myself.

I was my own worst bully.

Thankfully, Jesus knew exactly how to deal with that bully, named Kirsten. He loved me. He showed me that no matter how damaged I thought I was He could love me in the midst of that damage. He loved me through people He placed in my life. He loved me through the inner healing I received at the Glennon House. He loved me on the good days and bad days. And most importantly, He showed me how to love myself – with His kind of love!

Learning to love myself has been a process. It hasn’t happened over night. I still have brief moments where that unhealthy inner bully tries to rear its ugly head. Those are the times that I replace my words with Jesus’ words, I ask my friends to pray for me, or I get prayer at the Glennon House. Jesus doesn’t want me to be a self-bully, He wants my words and actions to build myself up so that I see myself through His eyes as His beloved daughter.

If you are your own worst bully, I encourage you to come to the Glennon House for a time of individual prayer with one of our trained Prayer Ministers. Stop beating yourself up all the time. Instead come receive prayer so that you can be healed by Jesus’ love and learn to love yourself like He loves you.

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life

Wasted Times

Back in 2011, a movie came out called In Time. It was about a world where people stopped aging at 25 years old. That sounds great until you hear that you only have one more year to live unless you find a way to buy yourself more time. The economy of this world was time driven. You got paid in hours or days. You bought your groceries in hours or days. And if you ran out of time you ran out of life.

I remember thinking, “Yikes, being a procrastinator in that world could be deadly.” It also made me take a moment to really look at how I’d spent my time over my lifespan. I had a variety of memories of both wonderful moments of time and not so wonderful moments of time in my life. I thought about the hours I spent playing as a child. I thought about the days I spent up in the woods of Maine. I thought about the months I’d spent working. And I thought about the years I’d wasted on my addictions.

If how I spent my time equaled how much time I had to live would I spend my time differently? I think I would probably answer with a resounding, “Yes!” The movie made me question how I choose to spend my time. It made me realize that it is up to me how I spend the time in my life.

I wonder – Would we spend time focusing only on all of our problems if it took hours off of our lives? Would we spend time feeding our addiction if it took years off? Would we spend time worrying about situations in our lives if it cost us time?

I spent years worrying about everything. Was I ever going to make anything out of my life? Was I ever going to have a husband and a family? Was I ever going to be happy? The more I worried the more stressed out I became about my future. Worry can eat you up from the inside out. I wasted too much time consumed by my worry.

bing.com
bing.com

Then I came across this Scripture: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life. (Matt 6:27)

I realized that my worrying was not beneficial for me at all. It wasn’t adding time to my life. All my worrying was doing was stealing time from me. I needed to trade in my worry for trust. I had to trust that God knew what I needed in my life much better I did. And that He was already taking care of all my worries.

Do I still ever have worries? Yes, of course. I’m in the continued process of learning to turn over my worries to God as soon as they cross my mind. It is truly a waste of time for me to dwell on my worries. Obviously Jesus agreed that we shouldn’t spend our time worrying or He wouldn’t have said what He said about it.

I’d rather choose to spend my time on things that add quality to my life. Focusing on God instead of my worry. Spending time with my loved ones. Helping others. There are so many uplifting activities that I can do with my time instead.

If you are spending your time worrying about situations in your life, I encourage to ask for prayer. Join us for one of our Tuesday evening Healing Services where you can raise your hand for prayer. Stop letting worry steal your time. God wants you set free so you can spend your time with Him and others.

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life, Poetry

Your Song

And I am the One Who wove the lyrics and the melody into the fabric of your life.
So, My child sing My song
~ Jeanie Miley

I think of each of us was born with a unique song in our hearts. It is the song God intended for us to share with the world. That song that dwells in our heart is nurtured by the way we love and the way others love us. Over time the notes of our song join together to form a melody that we sing as we live our lives.

In a perfect world everyone’s heart song would flourish. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world that tries to steal our songs before we have a chance to sing. Sometimes others actions rob us of our songs. Sometimes our own actions steal our songs. And sometimes it is a combination of others actions and our own actions.

Regardless of whose actions are to blame many of us are walking around with our heart songs silenced by the pain that we carry. Here is part of a poem I wrote quite awhile ago that talks about the seeds of song in our hearts:

…The fertile soil of my heart watered
my seeds of song as they sprouted.
Leaves reaching for the light of love
Blooms spread open in song.

Then one day a shadow stranger
Paid a visit to my heart garden.
He blocked the light of love
Stealing lyrics from my song blooms.

The stranger crushed the petals
Blowing their dust from his hand.
The lyrics scattered on the wind
Lost to my heart’s perception…

The scattered petal dust of my song
Awaits the return of the light of love,
Who has the power to change petal dust
Into the seeds of song once again.

As I re-read that poem, I thought how the “shadow stranger” could be an addiction, disease, depression, an unhealthy relationship, a lost job, or any number of negative circumstances that cause us to stumble in life. While the stranger is determined to destroy what is good in our lives he is not ultimately successful. Because the “light of love” has the power to heal what was destroyed and make it whole once again!

bing.com
bing.com

That is the hope we can have in the Lord. He is the “Light of Love” that heals us…making us whole. He is the One Who takes what has been destroyed and makes it brand new! The Lord is the One Who gives us our new song to sing!

He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the
Lord.
Psalm 40:3 NLT

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life

Best Day Ever

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

                                               Psalm 118:24

The other evening during the Testimony time at the Healing Service, a woman stood up telling us her testimony. During this time, she offered up praise for her time with her grandchildren. She then mentioned what one of her granddaughters says to her each day,

“This is the best day ever!”

best-day-ever-2I think that is a fabulous way to approach each day of our lives. And I would love to be able to tell you that I’ve said the same thing every day, but that would be a lie. Frankly, there are some days that I was much more likely to be heard saying, “This is the worst day ever!”

I remember reading the story in the Bible that told about the time when Paul and Silas were thrown into prison. About midnight, they were heard praying and singing to the Lord. The other prisoners were in their cells listening to them when suddenly there was a violent earthquake that caused the prison doors to fly open and everyone’s chains to break loose. (Acts 16:25&26)

My initial thought upon reading that story for the first time was, “Are they crazy? Why on earth would they even feel like singing when they were just beaten and in prison?” But then, I realized that it was after they were praising and singing that not only were they set free, but so was everyone else who could hear them! I am pretty sure that all the prisoners in the jail that night were saying, “Best day ever!”

While I have never been in an actual prison, I have been a prisoner to a multitude of situations, addictions, and relationships in my life. Before coming to know Jesus, it never even entered my mind that I should (or could) do something other than grumble and complain about those things.

I don’t believe that Paul and Silas were singing praises to the Lord for being beaten and imprisoned. I think that they were singing praises, in the midst of their pain, because they knew that worshipping Him would set them free from their prison in some way or another. In this instance, they were physically set free, but at other times Paul was set free spiritually or emotionally from his prison instead.

Paul and Silas chose to praise the Lord while they were still prisoners. It might not have been an easy choice, but they decided they would praise in the midst of pain. That is a choice each of us has before us when we are in pain. I can tell you from experience that it is sometimes the hardest choice I’ve had to make. And sometimes, I don’t do such a great job at choosing to praise Him when I’m in the midst of turmoil. What I have found is that if I will choose to find something, no matter how tiny it may seem, to be thankful for in the midst of pain it helps to redirect my focus onto God instead of my problem.

One of the simplest praises I’ve ever uttered is, “Thank you Lord for this moment.” It’s nothing deep or eloquent, but God knows my heart. He knows that at that exact moment it is the only thing I can say and He is there with me as I take the first step towards being able to greet each day saying,

“This is the best day ever!”

Posted in Christian, Healing, Life

Shell Game

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along

the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

Most of you are probably familiar with a magic trick/grifter con called ‘The Shell Game’. Simply put: A man places three upside-down plastic cups on a table. He puts a small ball under one of the cups, then quickly shuffles them around and around. The ultimate challenge is to guess which of the three cups contains the hidden ball.

Usually it isn’t too hard to guess where the ball is hidden, particularly if the trick is being performed by an amateur who keeps unconsciously glancing at the cup hiding the ball. But if the magician is skilled, it is nearly impossible to tell exactly which cup contains the ball.

I’m bringing this up because I think many of us ‘shuffle the cups’ to hide little balls of shame in our lives.

Sometimes it’s a silly thing, like the new wife who spends the first few months of her marriage scooping grocery bought food into her own dishes because she doesn’t want her husband to know she can’t cook. Sometimes it’s anything but silly, like the man who spends his evenings drinking in secret, but tells his distraught wife that she’s the one with the problem, not him. But, big or small, we all have our ‘shuffled shames’ that we try to hide with philosophical and spiritual sleight of hand. And, big or small, if left hidden they can destroy you.

One of the most freeing things to do is to confess your ‘shuffled shame’ to a trusted Christian friend. However, sometimes such friends aren’t available. Or maybe your shames are too huge and frightening to put into words. Or we’ve hidden those shames so well that even we don’t recall where they are. But God always knows what’s hidden under our ‘shuffled cups’. Our Father sees all, and He loves us in spite of them. He died on the cross to pay for every one of those hidden shames. He rose from the dead to show us we did not have to fear them.

bing.com
bing.com

Are you concealing a secret shame that is warping your life? If so, know that you are not alone, and that the Lord still loves you. There is no secret so shameful that Jesus cannot forgive it. Confess to a trusted friend, or to one of the Prayer Ministers at the Glennon House. Please don’t settle for a life lived in fear of someone guessing which plastic cup hides the ball.

Don’t waste another day of your precious life playing ‘The Shell Game’.