Years ago, the leaders of a local church graciously gave me a key to their building so that I could stop in anytime I wanted, which those days was almost every day. In March of 2008, during a very intense prayer time there, I began to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me, and I wrote it down:
Write freedom! Freedom for My children who live pitiful lives in chains, freedom for the seekers, freedom for the lost. These things I will give to you: a new heart, new dancing feet, clear eyes, and freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom!”
He then confirmed this promise with Psalm 146:5-8:
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,New King James Version
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
I thought my freedom was immediate. And I told people I was free. Delivered! But I wasn’t. Not yet. It was very disappointing to find myself back in The Pit. But there I was, feeling as if I’d been flung headfirst back down that black hole that sucked my identity completely dry.
I decided to try counseling. My counselor, Ms. Martha, is a wonderful counselor, but I held on too tightly to my gluttony to let her help me. She suggested another counselor, who suggested an addiction facility, and even offered to go with me. I refused, and left counseling feeling pretty beat and ignored by God.
I put God’s promise on the back burner. As the years went by, I thought of it less and less as I continued the tornadic journey of self-destruction, both physically and mentally. And I continued to beg God for freedom.
In February, 2017, I developed an iris inflammation that I had couldn’t shake; the steroid was raising the pressure in my eye, which meant a different medicine for a longer period of time. Around that time, the tooth that I had had a root canal on just six months earlier decided to act up. Then a persistent UTI, something I’d never had to deal with before, attacked me and did not want to let go, even after four rounds of antibiotics…but according to the urologist, I had been on too many antibiotics. In the middle of that, my knee started really bothering me, so much so that I was limping around (and making plenty of sound-effects).
Before I could make it to the doctor to see about my knee, my heart decided to run amok. “Amok” as in beating fast and furious, and for an added attention-getting measure, it would toss in a few definite skips. It started in the middle of the night, and I may have had a panic attack because I convinced myself that I might be dying, so I made my husband take me to the ER…which ended up being an all-night/good-part-of-the-morning ordeal.
In all of the testing, they found my d-dimer was elevated (which led to CT scans and ultrasounds to be sure I had no blood clots), and that my aorta was enlarged. It all sounds about as serious as a heart attack, doesn’t it? God is merciful. There are shots for my sore knees when needed, a beta blocker for my racing heart, my tooth finally settled down, and my aneurysm (enlarged aorta) is not serious, just bears watching.
Throughout the summer dealing these issues, I couldn’t sleep very well. I decided I could either toss and turn or do something more productive, so I began to pray and read the Bible in the long hours of the night. I would pray for every need I could think of, whether I knew the people or not, if I’d heard of someone’s problems, I prayed for them. I prayed a lot for the people of North Korea, asking God to deliver them from the Kim family dictatorship, to feed the hungry, and for the Holy Spirit to infiltrate the country. I pray for other countries where I know Christians are persecuted. I prayed a lot for our own country, as well.
In July, I decided to start reading the Bible every day without fail if I could help it, even if it was only a chapter for the day, a commitment I have kept to this day. That fall, I made another commitment to pay my tithes…the full 10% on the gross.
In December, out of the blue, I thought about the promise I’d received ten years before. It came to my mind a few times, and I thought to myself, “I need to find that promise and reread it.” Days later, I was at work with my earphones on listening to a preacher, and he talked about not letting go of promises, even if it had been a long time. I thought about my promise, and sitting right there at my desk, I asked God if that “promise” so long ago was indeed a promise, and if so, to let me open my Bible (I keep one at my desk) and see the word “dancing.” Instead, I opened the Bible to Isaiah 41, and my eyes landed on the verses 8-10 which I had already underlined years ago.
I had written my name above verse 8 to remind myself that God chose me.
8) But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
9) You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you, ‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
And Verse 10:
Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
But then I noticed that in the margin of these verses I had written “Psalm 146:5” My confirmation scripture to my promise!
That evening, when I sat down to do my Bible reading, my Bible was already opened to Psalm 146! It’s no coincidence! A God-incidence!
On December 19, my last day at work before Christmas vacation, I was waiting for some documents to finish scanning, and I reached for a folder that had some things I’d saved, favorite scriptures and things I’d found and liked over the years. I hadn’t looked at in a long time. I opened the folder and there among the pages I spotted it right away: a printed copy of the promise, with Psalm 146 also printed on the page.
God was surely reminding me of His promise to me!