It all started in February of this past year at a typical Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting at Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester, MN. Each year we have various speakers come to share about topics relevant to our current theme, which at the time was Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords’ favor.”
This particular Thursday morning, our speaker was from Healing Hearts Ministries. When I first heard about Healing Hearts, I didn’t realize it was for me. Then I heard her testimony and it was as though the Holy Spirit was speaking to me directly. My heart sang and I immediately joined a Hem of His Garment study group. There were four of us coming to learn how God can heal our hearts, and I was blessed to watch someone I didn’t know find her way to the Gospel and start a journey to Christ and healing.
For many years I have wanted to change―to become a better person―but I didn’t know how to go about it. I had a lot of anger and my heart was hurting. Many betrayals and disappointments in my life had left me bitter. This study helped me understand how to open my heart to the divine wisdom of God and let scripture speak life into my heart.
Jesus knows my struggles and pain. The Bible tells me that He went through my very agonies and that He cries with me. I realized I was holding on to anger and resentment from long ago, allowing it to become part of my existence. I couldn’t find healing until I learned from the Word of God that by His power I could put it all behind me. Through this study I came to realize how unfriendly and burdensome that baggage really was, and I was glad to be rid of it. It’s never too late to let go and move forward, having hope in Christ. That alone is encouragement to all hearts heavy with sorrow.
I know in my days ahead I will be tested and I will come into new adversities, but now I am equipped with God’s incredible armor, and I cannot only face them head on, I can overcome anything and grow with the power of God.
Jesus didn’t suffer and die upon the cross so that I would have a life of hurt without hope! His death was for my personal benefit, so that my burdens would be lifted, I could have joy and love in this life, and I could be free from the chains that bound me.
In Matthew 11:28 (NIV), Jesus calls us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” I know the hurts and trials of my past are not for waste, but can be used to show others hope where none seems possible. I asked the Lord to give me courage to spread the Gospel to hurting people, and He led me to pursue becoming a Healing Hearts Certified Counselor. Now I am being trained by Julie, the very woman whose testimony first drew me to join a Healing Hearts study.
As a Healing Hearts trainee, I have had the opportunity to sit in on a Hem of His Garment Bible study with Julie. Part of my role is to watch, listen, and pray for the group as she leads it. After one night in which the women of the group shared their testimonies, I wrote this note to Julie:
“I am so filled from last night. The vulnerability and pain shared was really an amazing work of the Spirit. I never realized the different struggles that are being fought daily in every person. Praying for these women is an honor. What a blessing! I look forward to many revelations from the Lord in the path I am on, and learning to have the heart I have always hoped for. I am forever changed because of your testimony shared that day in MOPS. Your pain has been a triumph in His name! Glory to God!”
In October, I will be attending the 2018 Healing Hearts National Conference for the first time. At the conference, I am looking forward to learning how to care for hurting women the way God wants me to. I desire to be inspired by the Spirit, to be able to look into my own heart and see His healing so that I can help someone else to find healing through Jesus. I also am looking forward to being with others who are broken instruments, each of us learning to be used by our God in our unique way to help whomever He sends into our lives. I hope to be reminded to be His humble and obedient servant and to give all the glory to my Lord, my Savior.
— Joleen Larsen, Rochester, MN