At the church where I grew up, Sunday evening services were times of worship and words of testimony. The pastor would wait a few minutes until someone would stand up and share what God had done that week in their life. Even as a teenager, I loved to hear the stories of God working and even had a few myself. So...here's my real-life testimony from just a couple of weeks ago.
My husband, Jonathan, and I are church musicians and we had practiced a piano and organ duet before the service and I felt pretty confident with it, even though it was a bit difficult. We started to play and it was going pretty well. I got a few more measures into the piece and I fudged a part, got a little more nervous, but kept playing. It was still going well and then I got almost to the end and all of a sudden I didn't know what happened, but we were not together. It just felt like it fell apart...barely making it to the end together. I looked across the chancel at my husband and his face looked like what I felt. Stunned, disappointed, what in the world just happened? I felt awful! I thought I had miscounted and that it was "my fault". My inner critical voices (yes, I'm an Enneagram 1) started berating me. Why do I always mess things up? You practiced...what happened?
In the past, I would have held on to this diatribe in my head for hours or even days...allowing those inner voices to have their way. However, I chose to give those thoughts to the Lord in that moment. I acknowledged that it wasn't perfect, but overall it still went ok and God was glorified.
Then...He showed up and ministered to my heart and change me!
When I left the chancel area and went to sit in the pew, our pastor opened up with the Scripture text for the day, Luke 13:10-17:
10-11 One Sabbath day, while Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, he encountered a seriously handicapped woman. She was crippled and had been doubled over for eighteen years. Her condition was caused by a demonic spirit of bondage that had left her unable to stand up straight.
12–13 When Jesus saw her condition, he called her over and gently laid his hands on her. Then he said, “Dear woman, you are free. I release you forever from this crippling spirit.” Instantly she stood straight and tall and overflowed with glorious praise to God!
14 The Jewish leader who was in charge of the synagogue was infuriated over Jesus healing on the Sabbath day. “Six days you are to work,” he shouted angrily to the crowd. “Those are the days you should come here for healing, but not on the seventh day!”
15 The Lord said, “You hopeless frauds! Don’t you care for your animals on the Sabbath day, untying your ox or donkey from the stall and leading it away to water? 16 If you do this for your animals, what’s wrong with allowing this beloved daughter of Abraham, who has been bound by Satan for eighteen long years, to be untied and set free on a Sabbath day?”
17 When they heard this, his critics were completely humiliated. But the crowds shouted with joy over the glorious things Jesus was doing among them. (The Passion Translation)
I was struck with the words "Woman you are free!" I didn't hear the pastor read past verse 13 because God said this to me. "Dear woman, you are free. I release you forever from this crippling spirit. This is for you, Pam! Be released...you do not need to be perfect. Your heart is right to want to minister to Me. You are no longer bound! So stand straight and tall and overflow with praise!" The written word became a Rhema word (a fresh, new utterance from the Holy Spirit) for me at that very moment. It was like Jesus was calling to me directly and "gently laid His hands" on my heart. I have heard this story over and over again, but that day...wow. It felt totally new!
After the pastor finished the Scripture passage, Jonathan, came down from the chancel area to sit beside me. He leaned over and apologized for messing up the ending of our piece. All I could do was chuckle inside. Here I was thinking that I had done it wrong and he thought he had. God showed me, it really didn't matter and it wasn't a big deal. Nobody was "at fault", it just happened. I was able to share with Jonathan over lunch what had occurred in my mind and heart in the past hour or so and I was truly able to move forward in healing in so many ways.
God used this circumstance to bring another level of healing to my heart and mind. I'm not bound to being perfect. I am free to make mistakes and God will still use my talents for His glory! I'm not bound by fear or self-doubt! In the past, all of those feelings/thoughts have crippled my spirit.
So...my friend, what is crippling you today? You can be free from the bondage of the enemy.
"And they overcame and conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony..." Revelation 12:11 (Amplified Bible)
What is your testimony today?
This post was prompted by Kate Motaung's "Five Minute Friday," which she hosts on the Five Minute Friday website. Kate posts a single word each week and each blogger sets a timer for 5 minutes to write and then posts, with very little editing. (Some weeks I have more trouble with that part than others and this week I had problems posting on my blog.) Check out the other writers on this topic!