I suspect that my walk from seeker to believer started long before I was knitted in my mother’s womb.
I come from a multicultural background. Both of my parents were raised as semi-orphans. My mother lost her mom soon after childbirth, and my dad is a holocaust survivor who lost his mother as well, along with most of his family. I suppose they found solace in each other for 25 years, but both had huge holes in their hearts and were highly emotionally volatile human beings. Needless to say, my brother and I grew up in extreme emotional chaos and my survival mode was, at best, a mask of happy extroverted cheerfulness.
In Judaism – in modern Judaism anyway, whether in the community or in worship, I did not experience being known, loved, accepted, or protected. I certainly did not have an experience of being in an intimate relationship with my Creator, my heavenly Father. Being in conversation with the Almighty seemed to be meant only for special people, or the most orthodox of all. The idea of God’s delight in me or the concept of authentic prayer, confession, and worship was farthest from my mind or heart. Spontaneous prayer was a foreign experience. Praying for another from our own hearts and words? Believing that God could pour into my heart for another soul or for mine? That was not even a concept that would have crossed my radar. I never once walked out of a Synagogue having experienced God’s fullness.
All I knew is that I wanted true love. And until I found it, I would be sad, disappointed, empty, lonely and not enough on my own.
I see now, as I look back at each season of my life, I have always been anxious and discontented. Even if I appeared warm and filled with life and charisma, I was actually filled with fear, anxiety, and gigantic mood swings. I was addicted to romantic love. I chased after boys for two decades. I was used to getting attention and was an expert at receiving it. I craved connection and attachment, relevance, and to simply matter. And the only kind of relationship that filled that role temporarily was the romantic kind. I didn’t understand that I was so empty inside and had very little to offer on my own, other than charm and need, which by default, would bring each relationship to an end. I kept telling myself that the next one would be “the one.”
A lifetime of seeking and wandering in the desert brought me to a Holy Yoga class at Mariners Church led by Shiloh McKassen. As class ended, I told Shiloh I felt the Lord urge me to start a Holy Yoga teacher training. And she said, “Today is the last day to sign up. Immersion is in May. Go purchase your plane ticket first!” Over the next three hours, I paid for the training, the plane tickets, downloaded the manual, got online and sat face to face with Jonnie Goodmanson!
So, for eight weeks I basically had open heart surgery with Jonnie, Brooke and Brenda in small groups, Jesus all the while was keeping me still. And then there was Immersion.
Where my old self and new self collided with all our amazing leaders at Holy Yoga Immersion. Social Media is not exactly my gift or interest, but I forced myself to ask several Godly women half my age to disciple me into Instagram. And one post later, a Mariners Church friend invited me to teach a monthly class in our brand new Special Needs ministry for exceptional adults and families which began the day after I returned from Immersion.
DECISION AND PREPARATION
God is such a gentleman. He invites us. He waits for us. He prepares us each time for the next season.
Thank you for the humility of “you can’t teach what you don’t know.” I must see and acknowledge and deal with the trauma in in my own life before I can ask Jesus to guide me and help me breathe life into others. As the Trauma Sensitive and Leader Development overlapped for a couple weeks, I wanted to run away. I wanted to escape.
Excuses began to pile up for not doing the work. My daughter needed me. I’m not spending enough time with her. I must prepare for a class. It was time to listen to what Jesus was doing once again. When Brooke taught week four of Leadership Development last week, her prayer began with “Till the Soil, Lord. Soften it. Show us what you want us to know Lord. Do it! Jesus, Come.”
UNPACKING THE TRUTH
That image of the hard soil being tilled and softened before the planting begins was stunning. The seeds Jesus planted in my garden that week through Brooke’s urging were decision and preparation. I saw instantly that in committing to teaching Holy Yoga, my old ways wouldn’t hold up. I had to make the decision to believe I could lead, teach, have faith, repent and confess to Jesus that I needed help with being prepared. If I didn’t, there was too much that could go wrong. (And I confess to Him and you now that my need to be relevant, my desire for performance and my strives to be spectacular actually helped me to be more prepared). Now I had to unpack what was motivating me. The truth was surfacing. I can’t say thank you enough to Holy Yoga for all it is revealing and transforming in me in the Leadership Development study.
To come face to face with the hard truth with our earthly selves – our deep seated and unconscious defense mechanisms – so many of them to admit and repent.
To come to our knees in confession and repentance is our freedom.
To confess I couldn’t do this without the Lord.
To confess how easily I was offended.
How easily I defend myself.
How easily I crumbled under anyone’s criticism.
ON MY KNEES – WHERE FREEDOM REIGNS
I knew deep in my heart that lack of preparation was my weakness. I specialized in doing things by the seat of my pants. I also waited and expected for life to happen TO me. Not with me planning, deciding and preparing. Since my husband had passed away, I had to make all my own decisions – financial, provision, education, and parental. And I had, for some time, been doing all of it by the seat of my pants, with my hands on my eyes as blinders, throwing darts into the wind. But once I confessed, once I came down on my knees in repentance and asked for help, love came down. The more I leaned on Him, the more He had to say.
It all slowly began to change as Jesus entered my life. He was now keeping me accountable, guiding me to agents on earth who gave me guardrails and nudged me to safer pastures. I had pastors, mentors, elders, friends, and teachers speaking into my life now. A true, abundant and fruitful harvest to eat from, chew on and very slowly, at my Lord’s invitation, to perhaps one day pour into others.
If you’re still with me my sweet brothers and sisters, I invite you to continue listening and engaging where the Lord is leading you. May this Fall season be one filled with discernment, that the Lord gives you a heart to see and notice the bountiful harvest He is preparing in you and to share your testimonies and see how it feeds the hungry souls around you.
I am excited to read and relive with you the stories of the Living God in your hearts and see what He is about to do next.
In his firm and loving grip, your sister in Christ –Regina
Do you have a story of transformation to share? Did Regina’s story relate to your own in some way? Comment in the box below and share with us so that we might celebrate His great Love together!