A story I want to share with everyone because it has transformed my life, and because as much as I want to share it I want to remember it for myself.
Let me paint a picture for those who were not there.
I am in a softly lit room, in Antigua Guatemala, an amazing message was just shared although right now I do not remember what it was even about. IGNITE class 11 has been invited to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the leaders have gone around laying hands on each of them praying for them.
Then one of the leaders tells us there is an open time of worship and prayer about to happen. Kristin one of my field time overseers is sitting next to me already, Brittany an RA comes to sit beside me both ask if they can pray for me. As Brittany begins praying for me I thought "how kind of them to make me feel included." Suddenly the words pop into my head "You know you're welcome here right?" it was the LORD. "You need to stop believing that you're not welcome here Manon."
I don't even remember the prayers of Brittany and Kristin, but my eyes became teary, as I thought about the significance of these words spoken to my heart. I had started to withdraw as class 11 had been there believing I was the one who now had to be strong for every one. I had started to believe I couldn't ask for prayers or time to talk things out. This was not just in IGNITE that I have had these feelings, but also at church, and camp, and my own family, back home. this was not by any means the fault of anyone but myself, the devil had catered to my pride, and I believed I had some kind of image to uphold.
However as I cut off fellowship I stopped walking in the light, sharing my weaknesses, confessing my sins, and as that happened my relationship with God became more and more distant, not being able to talk out my guilt, and confess my sins I was walking in darkness. I slowly felt the separation from God that would have been so easily removed if only I had shared with others my struggles and sins. Because of that I had started to believe I could not come to God.
So when God said "you're welcome here."
God did not only mean in that moment You're welcome here in this pfm family, you're welcome in the family of the church, but most deeply affecting me, was as He spoke those words, it also meant "You are welcome in my presence, to worship me and enjoy sweet fellowship."
the Prayer ends, and I ask if I can in return pray for them. I thank God for each one, and neither of them yet realizes the impact that one small act of prayer had just done in my heart as they obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I finished praying Brittany leaves Kristin begins worshiping with the music, lifting my eyes I immediately thought of my team mates, I found Emily and prayed for her, then seeing each of the others being prayed over I return to my spot, and I worshiped, I was free. Every wall I had let be in the way was removed by the words "You're welcome here."
These are some scriptures that have been on my mind today.
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
" 1 John 1:6-9
"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
" 1 Peter 6:6-11