This past weekend I had the privilege of going to a local workshop with my youngest son. This is a workshop I, myself, had gone through in November of 2014, and am praying my husband will go through, too. My oldest son will be going through the first weekend of February. I count each encounter in this workshop a blessing. A program formed and begun by the sweetest couple who realized God's work is best carried out by those who understand - at a HEART level - that He loves deeply, completely, passionately, and justly.
I have seen the changes in my friends who have gone through - a more confident spirit, a greater sense of meaning and purpose in life, and a deeper love for God and His Holy Word.
I have experienced the same transformation. I walked away KNOWING that "I am my Father's love, and I have nothing to hide!" Everything I am. Every wobble, foible, talent and gift are who He has created to be used for the glory of His Kingdom. My wobbles remind me I'm not God - I will mess up and I will fail people without intention because I am human. My foibles are there to give me a heart of compassion and understanding of grace that I will pour those out on others who are hurting or stuck in their foibles. My talents have been given to be shared. (This is an area I struggle in - not because I don't want to share them, but because I have a thorn in my side that can easily creep in and overshadow the life-giving reason for them. If you understand a bit of what I mean, I'd appreciate your prayers that God would heal that place in me.) My gifts are meant for a Kingdom purpose, and they will walk the road hand in hand with the other three parts of who I am for if my gifts are not couched in humility, compassion and confidence in Him they are clanging gongs in the Kingdom.
Back to this past weekend, though, because it's a pretty awesome tale to tell!
God brought together 16 students aged ten to thirteen and eleven of their parents. A staff of about 15 as well as volunteers in the kitchen rounded out the gathering inside the building. Around the world there were others praying for the transformation - the Heart Change - that would be taking place in the lives of children, parents, and families. Prayers were answered!!
Although I cannot go into details or name any names I want to share the highlights of the heart transformations we saw.
*A couple diligently trying to parent children from a previous marriage as well as children from their own marriage saw the healing of a relationship with son and step-mom.
*A young woman who looked in the mirror and didn't see the beauty on the outside shattered the lies that she was ugly.
*A young man who could trust God for so many others discovered God could be trusted with HIS heart and HIS life and HIS dreams, too.
*A young woman terrified of the mental disorder she lived with graciously and humbly asked for and received prayers that it would not take over her life and she could be delivered from it.
*Another young woman was angry at God because her father had died when she was very young and God didn't save him. The healing that took place as she learned the truth of what happened and the happy heart that came from this knowledge was tangible!
*A young man understood for the first time that some of the happenings in his life were *not* his fault and he no longer had to carry the burden of that guilt.
*A young woman who had tried to take her life a few months earlier was given the beautiful gift of self-worth from God alone, and the change in her spirit was overwhelming...the smile on her face spoke volumes of peace on the inside.
That's a handful of the transformations. It would seem girls outnumbered boys 2 to 1 and that the boys didn't change as much, but it's simply not true. The transformations of the boys were equal in depth and breadth. True to humanity, though, they didn't share as much about what happened deep down. I assure you, however, changes took place for the glory of the Kingdom of God in each and every one of these young people. Not one of them left with the same "face" they came in with.
In talking with other parents, staff members, and the founders of this ministry, I am convinced the workshops going on around the globe bringing the work of the Holy Spirit, the healing of the Cross, and the power of the One True Living God into the day - to - day lives of His children are going to start a revolution of repentance. Those sixteen kids from this past weekend? They are going to be world-changers. WORLD. CHANGERS! Jesus spoke of the fact that unless we have the faith of a child we will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. ( Mark 10:15) The faith of these young people have encouraged me, inspired me, spurred me on to outbursts of love and good deeds.
Because of their faith the parents they live with and the people they interact with will be changed as well.
Now...there's always a flip side, isn't there? You know how we parents wonder if our kids *really* learned that lesson and if there's *really* a change that took place? Well, I didn't realize my mind was holding onto a similar question. It was evidently in the far recesses of my mind as my ears perked up when my son went out to play football in the street with the neighbor boys yesterday. I was cleaning the master bedroom and had the windows open to get rid of some of the stifling winter air, so it was virtually impossible not to hear the loud playground-worthy voices of 10 young men. Previously I would have heard bossiness and smack talk to make a point or to compliment others. I was amazed to hear the difference in the *tone* of my son's voice when he talked to his friends. When instruction was given (he was put in the QB role, lots of instruction spews forth...) it wasn't given in the tone of "do what I say" like it had in the past. Instead, it was given with a smile and compliment right after it or before it. When his decision was questioned by another boy he didn't respond in defensiveness, but he responded in humility and a desire to work together as a team. As I continued to listen for the inevitable argument that would lead to the disbanding of the football game I was pleasantly surprised to hear the tones of the other boys begin to change as well. It became a game of friends - teammates - comrades instead of a competition to prove who has the most powerful arm or the fastest legs.
I was given a glimpse of the power of one person changing how they interact with others.
I was given a glimpse of how the power of Jesus Christ in us can impact our world.
I was given a glimpse of the power we each have to make our world better or bitter
just by Whose we are.
My son is not perfect - in fact, if anything, the realization that he doesn't have to earn love has greatly decreased his need to jump in and do for others what they are capable of doing themselves* - but he does love his Lord, and the change in him is greater than any act of service he could ever do!
*explanation - when his brother, who is not a "do-er" like our youngest is, has to clean his room he often asks little brother to help him. He's brilliant in this request, actually, because he knows HE won't have to think about what needs to be done, and he can ease off while little brother cleans his room for him. Last night he mentioned that little brother wouldn't even help him clean his room when he asked (as if this was the greatest travesty of life). Little brother quickly piped up, "but if I always do it for you, you'll never learn to do it for yourself." Aaaaaahhhh, Jesus for the WIN!
I hear the words of Matthew when he writes about the wise men and the shepherds coming to see the Child King, Jesus. Mary watched each one and pondered these things in her heart.
Transforming lives in the truth of the Word of God and the Spirit given to us for this life is one of my favorite things to see. My cup is filled to overflowing as I revel in the beautiful grace and glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I'm curious if there are workshops like this in other areas? I know there are, but do any of you know of them? The workshop I attended is called Heart Change, and in talking to Gloria, one of the founders, she mentioned this is not the only one taking place that is in the process of changing lives deeply and truly for the Kingdom. The key to finding true change is for the Bible to be foundational, not secondary, to the process. We read in Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Without the Bible as foundation, the building (person) topples away.
If you are looking for a program like this in your area, you could contact House Of Myrrh Ministries and ask if they know of one where you are. As one father said to me and I agree completely with, "If you had told me four years ago I was going to go through this and be who I am today, I'd have told you you were nuts. Today I would tell you I would sell everything I owned if necessary for the opportunity to go through this life change."
God IS good...does your heart really believe that?...for yourself?