I have a past that involves some trauma, lots of shame, and an overload of pain. My go-to defense mechanism has been to shut down feelings…to not feel anything in order to not feel the pain. I started doing this about ten years ago. I was in my teens, and it seemed like the rational choice to preserve myself from pain. However, in more recent years, this became difficult as I experienced new traumas and I began to have leakages of memories and emotions that I had long "forgotten" and never dealt with.
In order to function in everyday life, and especially for the sake of my ministry, I compartmentalized like there was no tomorrow — so much so that I even began to refer to myself in three distinct parts living together but disjointed: body, mind, and spirit. "Body" had experienced those traumas, "Mind" had chosen to forget the rougher portions of those experiences, and "Spirit" had remained unscathed... or so I thought.
Needless to say, things got pretty out of hand last year when I had one final and overwhelming full-blown trigger experience. All of the safeguards I had put in place, the memory-blocks, everything, began to unravel. Interestingly, God continued to reveal Himself to me in the midst of that, being the only constant that remained real after most everything else about my reality had come undone.
I was invited to the HIM conference on scholarship and I was terrified to go. I had spent some time with my family, but was still really uncomfortable being around large groups of people. But I was convinced that God did indeed have something for me, so I went.
During the first worship time, I felt like I had been put back into my body, that God was giving me a second chance to live my life with an integrated "self." God had something special for me at each session: more truth to build a firmer foundation on the reality I have in Him. He really does draw us with "cords of kindness" and "bands of love." God's firm and gentle hand has led me through the beginning of a healing process that I had been quite unaware I needed (mainly because I had chosen to forget). The first few weeks of this were very hard, as it seemed that I was feeling all of the feelings I had refused to feel for the past ten years. All that time I was just holding it together, surviving, but I wasn't really experiencing or living.
This was the gift God gave me at the HIM conference: a chance to be the self that I am and have always been, having gone through everything I have, but also to know that He is present with me and loves me and is leading me through healing and through life. I praise God for His goodness and for your faithfulness and generosity. In Him, I have new life (not just survival) and I am grateful for another chance. Thank you, and thank God!
Thank you for making it possible for me to attend the HIM conference this past March. I believed that God could have something for me at the conference, but did not have the financial means to get myself there. Your gift paid my way and I received more from God than I even knew to ask for. God used your gift to change my life.