Sunday, April 4, 2010

A look back at the first few days of our Intro to IHOP Internship...

We are here, FINALLY, at day 3 of our internship. We have been wanting to move to IHOP (honestly, Matt has been wanting for the both of us until about 3 months ago when I got on board too) and now we find ourselves here....and on the other side of countless financial testimonies and personal battlefields. This past year has NOT been an easy one and I find myself feeling strangely like a returning war Vet with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As I was recounting last years personal battles to a friend of mine, I heard myself saying that this time in KC was our "Selah" period. Like in the book of Psalms when the psalmist wants you to take a moment and reflect upon what you just read, they write, Selah. I believe this time at IHOP, and especially this internship, is going to be a time of great inner healing and personal equipping. I believe God is going to first clean out all of the muck.....the trauma and hurts, the offenses and stresses of the past year.....and then fill us beyond belief with a revelation of His great LOVE for US!

Emotionally, I feel as if I have been broken down and tenderized nearly to death. I feel crushed, raw, hurt and exposed...and EXACTLY in the perfect will of a loving God! I believe in the God of Romans 8:28.... "And we know that ALL THINGS work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose." I have spent my time asking "Why" and now I understand that the breaking was necessary to get past my outer wall of defenses, so to speak. To get past the wall I had built around myself in order to protect my tender heart. Problem is I had walled out God as well as any would be assailants. I felt like a nut encased within it's own, yet, somehow not living. My life felt hollow and I was afraid of even trying to live to my potential. I knew God had called me to greatness...even if that was just happily living to my fullest under the proud light of my Daddy's gaze...but that even frightened me. I am beginning to see that there was a breaking that was necessary in order for Him to work the greatest good into my heart. Yes, I still feel crushed, raw, hurt and exposed....but, that exposed, raw heart is so tender right now that at the first strum of a guitar during worship, I'm weeping. Crying out all of the muck and allowing God to repair the crooked places in my heart. I can feel the healing work already and it has been such a short time! Friday was the first day of Intro and for the first 2 days, we had the option of going to the evening Awakening Services or rest with our family. We chose to attend just for a while with the kiddo's to get a feel for it before we had to attend (like anyone would have to force us anyways.....the services are AMAZING! Healings breaking out right and left...emotional and physical healings, you name it.) Well, Matt and I took turns watching the kids in the toddler room so that one of us could experience the meeting undisturbed. The spiritual atmosphere in that building was tangible. Holy Spirit was there working on hearts, encouraging forgiveness and bringing healing to many. Many were praying and laying on hands throughout the crowd and others were layed out on the floor up front. I was in the back and just began weeping as the singers vocalized along with the words. It was so powerful! I believe I received healing that night just by walking in the building with no one praying for me. I had experienced a miscarriage 6 weeks prior...only 1 week before our moving truck was coming and I believe it had been an incomplete miscarriage. Usually after 2 weeks, a woman's body is finished with the cleaning out period and she begins to physically get back to normal. Well, I was still experiencing bleeding 6 weeks after and was having a difficult time with emotional healing, not to mention the physical work of unpacking, because my body was still going through the process of the miscarriage. That night and the next day, the bleeding became so much worse that I was actually afraid. I had to leave the morning part of our internship to go home and rest, but, after a few hours, my body began to feel stronger and the bleeding lessened. I believe that anything that had not passed initially, was loosened and released during the Awakening Service and my body just had to go through the process of removing it. At first we were scarred of "what could happen" if the bleeding didn't stop, then we were feeling let down because our prayers were SEEMINGLY going unanswered. But, in hindsight, that was the answer to our prayers and we just needed to trust God.

I hope my heart's understanding of these situations is coming through. I am just so amazed at God's ability to bring RESTORATION out of a year marked by death. And, it is just fitting that the understanding of these things and even the physical healing from a lost child would happen today, on Easter Sunday.... the day celebrated in remembrance of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. "GOD YOU ARE SO GOOD!"

I want to share one last thing which was really cool. Today after church, all of the interns came together for a pot luck lunch in order to meet each other and build unity within our teams. I ended up meeting a woman who after asking a few questions, drew out my entire life's story of the past year. This has happened 3 times in the last 3 weeks and I truly believe that each time I tell the details of what we have gone through....that God is bringing more healing to my heart. After talking for a while and after she prayed for me, I found out that she and her husband were the one's who had adopted little Stephen James from the JHOP in San Francisco. For those who don't know the story...The young adults running the Justice House of Prayer had taken in a pregnant homeless girl and cared for her baby when she relapsed into her worldly lifestyle. They had such a heart for this little guy and wanted to see him saved from a life on the streets...but they were barely more than kids themselves, mostly young 20 somethings....and found the task difficult at best. Long story short, this family had just given birth to a stillborn baby and had agreed to adopt little Stephen. The mother moved to San Fran with her oldest daughter and took care of Stephen until the adoption could be finalized. She was even able to nurse that little boy! It is such a beautiful that we were agreeing with in prayer nearly 3 1/2 years ago when we were living at The Cause Base in Ft. Mill, SC. And now, today, I was able to meet that beautiful family and little Stephen. It blessed my heart so much because Matt and I know that some day we will be adopting and allowing God's loving restoration to work through us in the life of a lost and forgotten little one. Just Beautiful!

I'm done....purged for now. More to come and hopefully full of pictures. Our new camera will be here soon and then we can photo update again.



wellsparker said...

wow!! that was so powerful. finally, someone describes the dark night of the soul that no one wants to talk about. it is during those dark nights we find the path to the secret places of His presence. thank you for sharing your walk. it has truly bless me. carol parker

Diana Scimone said...

I am in awe reading this! Erika, thank you for sharing your deepest heart things with us. What a blessing to see you experience so much of God's healing power.

I am so very very sorry about the baby and pray God will continue to bring healing to you and Matt in such a beautiful comforting way.

We love you and miss you, but know you are exactly where God wants you to be.

Much love and a joyous Resurrection Day,

userc6921 said...

Erika,I had no idea about the miscarriage. I am sorry. If you ever want prayer please don't hesitate to call. I'v been in the deepest trial of my life the last 5 months too, I felt like you described my life too. .. Right now I have days when I don't see how I am physically still operating but I crawl into bed and then the Lord keeps renewing mu strength over and over again. He is a good God!

Nicole said...

=) I'm so proud of you Erika. Now that I'm crying (for the nth time this week, lol)... Continue to allow the LORD to purge you and loff you the way are, and don't forget you've got the Arrazolo Four behind you in prayer! :)

Matt & Erika Bond said...

Rachel, I'm so sorry you have been going through the "night hour", but I also rejoice knowing God will work His Beauty into your heart through the pain.

Please pray for us whenever we come into your mind....I'm sure we will be needing it! ;) We will do the same for you and your family.

Matt & Erika Bond said...

Nikki......Loff You!