The invitation to attend a Healing Retreat in January 2016 could not have come at a better time, as I was starting a new job the following day, and I was incredibly fearful of the transition. I was exhausted from my previous job and I did not know whether I would have the strength to prove myself and perform well in the new position. Moreover, I have been suffering from chronic abdominal pain for years. It became so bad that I once had to take myself to Casualty in the early hours of the morning. The emergency personnel suspected that it could be kidney stones because of the severe pain I was in. Soon after I came back from a scan of my midsection, I passed out in one of the ER cubicles. I awoke later that morning without any pain. Then a doctor came in and told me that they could not find anything wrong. I did not understand how nothing could be wrong after experiencing such extreme pain. So when I received a call during December 2015 inviting me to attend the Healing Retreat 8-10 January 2016, I was over joyed!! God was going to rid me of all my pain and stress, and I would be okay at my new job. Or so I thought.
Nearing the start of every new year, normally during the final days of the year just after Christmas, I ask God for a word to usher in the coming year, but this year would be an exception. You see, God has been giving me the same scripture Isaiah 30:15 for the past three years. It reads “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not.” Now I understand this word to mean I should surrender to Him and rest in Him, but as much as I tried to “surrender and rest” I found it impossible to do. The first year God gave me this word, 2013, I tried and failed within the first couple of months in the year. 2014, after receiving the same word from God again, I thought perhaps this is something I must achieve before God can continue His restoring work in me. I once again failed miserably at it and gave up by early July 2014. I was angry at God when He gave me the same word for 2015. He was setting me up for disaster again, and as such I had nothing to look forward to. Angry and willful to “show” Him, I decided that I would give it my best shot for one last time. But, the year was tough and a struggle on all fronts. I finally lost heart and gave up hope early spring 2015. It was impossible!! God has probably lost interest in me by now. I am too weak and too much of a disappointment to him to be of any use to Him. I just needed to wake up to the fact that I am and never will be good enough. I am alone.
December 2015 I did not take my Bible with me on holiday. I wasn’t going to ask God for anything this time around. He will probably just laugh at me and in His disgust give me the same word for 2016. I felt alone and rejected. I can’t ever meet His expectation of me. I’m just a wannabe child of God. A fake. I felt orphaned…..which was strange because I’ve never been aware of this orphan emotion before. 29 December 2015; As I’m scanning through emails and well wishes received from friends and family for the festive season, my eye caught an email received from the Bible App on my Smart phone. I get so many scripture messages that I don’t even bother reading them. The default is to just press delete, delete, delete. However, I felt compelled to open and read this one particular massage, and when I did, the word for 2016 leapt out at me and struck me to the depths of my being. It read: “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen. The descendants of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from the farthest regions, and said to you, you are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41: 8-10 Wow!! God spoke with mercy and grace towards me?? I did not know what He meant exactly. Does it mean that He will now help me to comply with His previous instructions? I did not understand …..
Back to the weekend of the Healing Retreat 8-10 January 2016. Preparing my clothes and packing the last of the few things I wanted to take with me to the retreat, I did not know what to expect. To be honest, I did not know what I would say should anyone ask me why I’m at the retreat. What was I searching for? What do I need deliverance from or prayer for? I thought, whilst closing the last of my bags. Perhaps it was for peace or to learn how to surrender. Perhaps forgiveness for being so disappointed in and angry at God? I didn’t know. I was afraid that I would waste everyone’s time. I will be seen as weak or as not broken enough. Perhaps they should give my seat to someone more “healing worthy” than I? I was afraid. Then I remembered that orphaned feeling I felt. I remember the feeling of not being worthy, not belonging, not loved, vulnerable, used, abused and simply homeless. I have no home. I am afraid. I am alone. It was with these thoughts that I left home for the retreat that Friday afternoon.
As soon as I arrived at Ellel Shere House I put on my confident pose and approached reception. I was welcomed and given some documentation and a small envelope with my name on it. Inside was a printed card with an image of Jesus holding up a broken young man on the front. Then I opened the card and my heart missed a beat as I read the personal scripture written in the card. “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” …..speechless….. I immediately called my wife and told her. She was just as amazed as I was and both of us were now confident that this wasn’t a coincidence. This was a God appointment and I needed to brace myself for His might hand. I did not sleep well that first night, due to terrible nightmares and even though I woke up very tired on the Saturday morning, I was still hopeful and very excited to see what God was going to do.
It was during the first session that Saturday morning when God made His intentions known toward me. Jill opened the session by informing us that intercessors have been praying for us and added that she would like to share that which was revealed to them. I need to add that the intercessors are anonymous and also do not know those they are interceding for. They simply forward that which they are shown in the spirit to the Ellel Team. That morning, Sharon, one of the associate team members stood up and shared the following message from one of the intercessors. “……. you are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41: 9-10 This was my word from the Lord for 2016!! How could they have known? How was this possible? God was present and wanted me to know that the mission for my rescue, healing and restoration was on.
And so it all started. Between teaching sessions, individual counselling sessions and alone time with Jesus in the beautiful gardens, I started seeing what the problem was. The reason for my striving and anxieties. Why I’m so driven and fearful of disappointing people and why I feel so utterly alone most of the time. I had an orphan spirit and I did not believe that God IS my Father and that I am His son. This made surrendering to Him impossible. I could not receive nor rest. And so, God fought for me throughout that weekend until he broke my heart and snapped the neck of that orphan spirit, setting me free to believe. Setting me free to rest, to trust and to believe in His love for me. Through Repentance, Forgiveness and rest in His love for me, I became a son, FREE!
Lastly, an opportunity for prayer for physical healing came up. I asked the facilitators who worked with me throughout the weekend to please pray with me, which they did. They placed their hands on my stomach and we prayed for healing and for the constant pain to leave. It did. It has been almost seven months since the retreat and the pain has not returned. I still know that I am a son, living in my Father’s house. I can enjoy the privileges as His son and I am now ready to move forward to the next part of this mammoth restoration work which God is continually doing in me. What a privilege. This is the reason why I waited so long before writing my testimony. I needed to be sure that it wasn’t just an emotional high. I needed to be sure that my testimony is authentic. I needed to see that my healing is sure. It is!! I have since resigned from my job and have taken a step of faith with my Father. I am finally moving forward. Never again alone. You see, I have finally found a HOME! Thank you to all at Ellel Ministries for dedicating your time and lives to the purposes of God.
- Event: Healing Retreat