Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do everything through HIM who gives me strength.
Isaiah 40:31 ~ but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Psalm 34:4 ~ I sought The Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
I have something really amazing to share with you today!
I have just returned from an awesome weekend retreat with 60 something women. We feasted on HIS Word and lives were changed! I am so blessed by new friendships made and old friendships being strengthened. GOD is GOOD!
The story that I am sharing today, is not my own. I asked this sweet woman if she would allow me to share it. Why? Because….I want you all to see that there is POWER in prayer and that FEAR has no hold on you when you fully trust God. THIS IS HER TESTIMONY..all glory to GOD. ALL GLORY TO GOD!!
Thank you, Tawanna, for allowing me to share your story…I love you and I am so very proud of you!
In her words:
Every year, our church holds a women’s retreat at Epwroth by the Sea on St. Simon’s island. The retreat has been a blessing to me and my family because every year, I leave something on the island, and bring home something new that I have learned about the goodness and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to this yearly ritual that we have come to have where we spend the weekend in fellowship and worship. We sang, we prayed, we danced, we laughed, we cried. Trying to put the weekend into words is a bit challenging but if I had to chose one word, I would chose the word blessed because that is how I feel every time I am on that island.
The one struggle that I have is crossing that bridge that connects the island to the actual town. The first year that we went, I was riding with 2 of my dearest friends. As we started to near the bridge I looked to my left and at first I didn’t know that it was an actual bridge. From a distance, it looked like a big building, I thought to myself and said out loud, “Hey guys, check out that bridge. The blue is so beautiful it almost looks like the color of the sky. As we got closer to the turn my friend in the back said, “That’s not a building it’s a bridge.” As I burst into laughter, I told my friends that I was so glad that we wouldn’t be going over that contraption. I then started to laugh and make comments about the courageous people that went over it daily and I started to thank God that we were not amongst them. The more I talked the more my friends became quiet. They had no idea that I had a fear of bridges, being over water, and certain high places. As I am talking and laughing and talking and laughing, I realized that the turn that I was making towards the left, led me right towards that bridge. Well I started to yell and scream and panic. I started to drive in the middle two lanes, so the people behind me and the people that were trying to come down on the opposite lane, had to merge into one lane. As they honked their horns and yelled at me, and some made obscene gestures and said obscene things, I panicked even more started yelling back and telling everyone that I am on a retreat and that they cannot yell at me. You see I was like Peter in Matthew 14:29. We were all doing fine as we were driving and God was leading us, but I took my eyes off Jesus and started to let fear abide in me. This caused me to panic and to start driving in the middle of the bridge.
On the very last day of the retreat, our beautiful pastor’s wife Lanelle Rogers, asked that the ladies of the retreat pray for and with me, that I may conquer my fear and successfully cross that bridge. I crossed it, but I wasn’t trusting God. I allowed my friend to drive while I sat in the backseat sobbing with a huge sweater wrapped around my head. I placed the garment over my head as soon as we left Epworth by the Sea and did not take it off until I was told that we were well across the bridge. I didn’t want to see what was going. That weekend I had learned so much and was filled with so much love for Christ but I still was not trusting in him.
This year I was blessed to go back. I was so excited that I was able to attend. I asked my girlfriend and fellow sister in Christ Kim Wade to drive as I started to speak fear into my life. I told her that I just knew that I wouldn’t not make it on my own and made her drive. We had agreed that I would sleep the entire way there, and I had gotten up at 2am that morning so that I would be tired and would want to sleep. Kim and I have not seen each other in months so we did what ladies do best. We talked, and talked, and talked. Before we knew it, my phone rang and it was the member of the church that we were following, Lisa Colburn. She called and said that we were approaching the bridge and that she wanted to warn me because she knows of my fears.
We were approximately 5 minutes away and I allowed fear to take over my body. As we crossed the bridge I pulled my shirt over my head and started to scream and holler. The more I hollered the more I panicked. I started to hyperventilate and then before I knew it I was unable to breathe. In the midst of me trying to catch my breath, I became nausea. I closed my eyes, open the car door (not knowing that we were going 55 mph) and started to vomit until my stomach was empty.
I then spent the first night of the retreat staying up until 2am trying to find alternate routes off of the island so that I could avoid the bridge on the way home. While staying up I missed the fellowship that was going on downstairs right beneath me and later discovered that there was only one way off of the island, and it was over that bridge.
This weekend we learned how to abide in God and to allow Him to abide in us. I really paid close attention to the messages that were brought, the testimonies that were shared and on the last morning, once again, my sisters in Christ wrapped their hands around me, surrounded me and prayed on me and for me. Prior to leaving God sent an angel in the form of Heather Dawkins. As she hugged me she prayed for me and that I would not only make it over the bridge, but that I would open my eyes and look at the beauty that God has created all around me. As she prayed, I thought to myself, “how could I be afraid of God’s beauty?” It was then that I started to think about the bridge and what it represented. That bridge and my fear of it, represented the chains that had me in bondage. I then wrote down things that had me in bondage on several slips of paper and folded them into little pieces. As my friend and I crossed the bridge, I cracked the window. Although nervous in the beginning, I started to quote the scripture 2 Timothy 1:7, for God did not give us the spirit of fear. And I just kept reciting that scripture as I threw the slips of paper out of the window. When I looked at both sides of the bridge, I became humbled by the beauty that surrounded me, and how awesome God’s works are. That bridge no longer represents my fears, but the relationship that I have with Christ as his daughter. I am set free, no longer bound, no more chains holding me.
2 Timothy 1:7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
WOW!!! Isn’t GOD good!!!!???!!!! So many people were praying for Tawanna…and they never ceased to pray and care… The BODY of Christ lifted her up…and allowed God to use them in her life. Please feel free to comment on this post and tell Tawanna what you thought of her awesome testimony…and share it with others..so that GOD can receive the glory that HE so deserves. 🙂
Until Next Time,
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Unglued ~ Lysa Terkeurst
The Excellent Wife ~ Martha Peace
Crazy Love ~ Francis Chan
Radical ~ David Platt
The 5 Love Languages ~ Gary Chapman
Let's All Be Brave ~ Annie F Downs
Love Idol ~ Jennifer Dukes Lee
Boundaries ~ Henry Cloud & John Townsend
Whole ~ Lisa Whittle
A Million Little Ways ~ Emily P Freeman