by Erin
Chicago, USA

THE ENTIRE WEEKEND of our fall retreat flowed perfectly.  What we were learning and the way the Holy Spirit was personalizing key components and fitting them into what I already understood as well as into place was amazing.  On Saturday, during worship, I felt the Holy Spirit surround me in a way I hadn’t really experienced before.  I felt free to drop to my knees in worship and I began to sing my own song…perhaps the Fathers song over me.  “You have nothing to fear, nothing to fear….I have nothing to fear, nothing to fear..My God is Greater.”  I had been internally struggling with much fear after several bizarre incidents in my neighborhood.  While on my knees in worship, I began to weep…a release that I have needed.  It was during that time that a couple prophetic songs and words came through about the very thing I had been singing…we have NOTHING to fear in light of WHO our GOD is!!!!  I felt incredible freedom wash over me in that moment as the Lord confirmed the Word He had been ministering personally over my heart.

I think that set the tone for what that day would be for me–A day of freedom!

That night I paced the back of the room for a bit, working out what felt like random tweaks all over my body.  I had a shooting pain in my back, then in my ear, then in my head, then in my shoulder…just pinging pain.  I thought it bizarre and had a twinge of insight (given the weekend’s teaching) that there was something not quite right about that.  When there was an opportunity for prayer, my husband and I went up.  I don’t think I had any expectations…I just felt that the Lord was doing something so I wanted to stand with others in that.

As Ken began to ask me what I needed prayer for I felt extremely awkward…and those that know me would know that I don’t feel awkward very often.  In fact, some might say I make it my mission in life to diffuse awkward situations by calling it out or actually creating the awkward situation by being overly silly.  So it was…awkward to feel awkward.  I drew a blank…I didn’t know what to pray for.  My husband reminded me that I mentioned the pinging pain all over my body…and so Ken began to ask some questions.  Nothing really resonated and I was readily able to say “Jesus is my Lord, I am loved and accepted” so they just began to pray.  Then my husband Dave said, “You know, I just keep hearing ‘alcoholism’…alcoholism runs in her family.”

I reacted immediately.  I don’t know how to explain it…I was fully present in my mind but it was as if God made a supernatural freedom bubble around me that allowed me to crack.  I began buckling over, crying and say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” repeatedly.  Ken then called on my husband to take authority over this familiar spirit. (Ken later said, Dave got a crash course in deliverance.)  I ended up on the floor. Dave said I would squirm away from his hand as he tried to lay it on my head.  My face was on the floor and I don’t think I heard much of what he prayed.  I know he prayed in authority releasing me from the alcoholic history in my family and the resulting shame, feelings of abandonment or loneliness that came from that.  Another friend and elder’s wife, Kathy, came over at some point and joined in praying for me as well.  I began coughing and gagging a lot…feeling overwhelmed by tears and relief.  While at one point I was unknowingly squirming away from my husband who was ministering to me, I began to find peace, stillness, and rest and when I turned my head on the floor and opened my eyes I saw his hand and grabbed it.

I am still processing what happened in that time.  While I didn’t actually struggle with alcohol myself, despite my family’s battle I never felt compelled to abstain completely.  Nevertheless, I felt it personally important to apply faith and action to my sure deliverance, so I am taking a fast from alcohol for an unknown length of time. I’m allowing God the space to continue working out and to cement some things He has done AND to stand in absolute resistance to a family door the enemy would just love to find a way into again.

What I do know is that I have a quietness in me that hasn’t been there before.  I’ve since been in circumstances where I’ve noticed a stillness where there used to be a compulsion to argue and a quietness where there used to be anger or anxiousness.  I am so curious about all this…but it tastes like freedom and feels like love…and that is more than enough!

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom”.  Praise our LIVING God!