My knee had not given me trouble until Thursday night. We were praying for one of our team (all of us circled around her) when one girl stood up, tripped over my foot, and fell on my knee with most of her weight. Yeah. I don’t think I screamed, but I sure felt like it. I kept it elevated and took pain medicine…and prayer. Babying it kept me in fine shape for the rest of the trip. God was good!
We worked through the material slowly. On Thursday, the material about the Day of Delight was on page 91 onward. We were then around page 32. Our leader said that (technically) we should be doing it faster, but it did not matter. Instead of flipping pages, we were really cleaning our hearts. Times of discussion about the course material would turn into times of questions, and times of confession of sin, and times of prayer for one another. One by one, we stripped off part, and then all of our various masks. ( the “Perfect ATI girl” mask, and the “Holy and Spiritual Christian” mask, and the “I Am So Strong” mask…to name a few) On Friday, the beloved visionary of our team lead us in a time of confessing the various iniquities that our families passed down to us, and other sins that we had ignored, or buried, or refused to confess. During the week, as we listened to speakers, or as we read through the course material, different areas of my “heart” would begin aching, or throbbing. It was the strangest sensation. Almost as if God was touching the sin-stained area and scrubbing away all the filth. By Friday, I had dealt with a lot of the larger issues either privately with God, or during our study of the different “bad hearts”. However, I could still feel areas that were dirty. As we confessed to one-another, we all broke out in tears. We all got on our knees (some of us on our faces) and we cried out to God for forgiveness and cleansing. We prayed “in one-accord” for about two hours. We prayed for eachother, for our families, for our nation, for others, for a sudden, painful attack of TMJ that hit our visionary sister (as we prayed the pain subsided), and our own sin-stained hearts. I have never known 10 strangers so well as I did those girls. In those hours of prayer and couple hours of confession, we became a family. We could say anything. Our deepest darkest secrets and sins. It was so freeing. We loved and were loved with forgiveness from God and eachother. I arose from there with a perfectly clean heart. It was the strangest feeling in the entire world. To be empty inside. To not feel angry or guilty or hurt. Things that have happened to me, people who have hurt me, I still remember those events, but God (in His awesome and overwhelming Grace) took away the pain. I can acknowledge the damaging things that they did to me, but those events no longer hold me captive.
Lest you should think I now am perfect, please do not presume. I did get angry at someone just the next day for not being considerate about my knee. Anger and nasty comments poured out of my mouth. Then it came to me: “…Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I suddenly stopped in my tracks. Here my new heart was filled with anger. I had to completely stop and ask God for forgiveness. I am still a sinner. My mind would still like to get up on the throne and tell me what is good for me. Tell me what I deserve. Tell me my rights have been trampled on. It is astounding to me to see how many times I need to re-clean out my heart. I have found though, that although I am a sinner, I now much more in tune with what is going on in my heart. I can understand why I am angry and give my expectations to God. I can stop it before it turns to bitterness. It is wonderful.