sad and sweet release.

At one point during our immersion training last week, time was set apart for us to sit before our leader as she washed our hands in water and oil as a symbol of our cleansing in release of something that no longer served us.

As we sat together, going one by one, and I searched my heart for what I needed to release, I was just overwhelmed as I came to finally acknowledge my feelings of shame and disappointment with both myself and with God. I didn’t realize before then just how tightly, albeit quietly, I held these things. Silently and with little fanfare, they’d almost become just a part of my narrative and understanding of myself and my standing in the Kingdom. I’d become almost comfortable with them.

Letting them go seemed so hard because it is so uncomfortable to break off these dead pieces of our hearts.

Watching each of my sisters go before me, I just cried. I was coming to grips in one moment how attached I was to my shame and disappointment, and almost simultaneously, learning to let it go.

After my turn, and speaking out loud these things to be laid down, and receiving the prayers of my sisters, I felt this, almost whoosh of calm come over me.

I liken it to the scene in ‘Frozen’ when Hans tells Elsa incorrectly that Anna is dead, and the blizzard they’re in just halts and falls to the ground in an instant as Elsa collapses to the ground in defeat.

Less defeat, I think I was experiencing the freedom in surrender, and quite honestly, the freedom in forgiveness – of both myself and forgiving God (again, more on that later).

Even better though, rather than just releasing and having these empty, vacant places where something was killing us took up residence once, one sweet sis suggested we also consider what we would pick up in its place. For this I am so grateful, because the Lord met me in the prayer in the same way He pressed into my heart in meditation – like a gracious Father.

He said, “Receive my grace, and be secure in your sonship.”

As painful as it was to be pruned of these dead and dying branches, it was like a healing balm to hear those words: GRACE. SONSHIP.

I find so much peace in that, knowing this God who I may have walked away from, never walked away from me; that even in my overwhelming disappointment in each of us, He’s never been overwhelmingly disappointed in me; and even in my guilt and shame, He’s never been condemning or ashamed of me.

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