Some of you will have read this email already but it's worth posting again.
My response to reading Niamh’s email “Word of Encouragement” was just tears and tears and a trip back memory lane to a place about 6 years ago of brokenness and despair in my life that I’ve almost forgotten at this point. The sense of “lost and failure etc” in my life was crippling and destroying me so much that I was unable to share this burden even with my wife. 6 years on I live a different story, but I feel compelled to write what I’m about to write and tell you of my pain and now.
Through knocks picked up in life from all spheres known to me, extended family, work and church life. Invisible to all, I came to a point of brokenness (my exterior face intact but becoming stale inside and withdrawing from all , shutting down and hardening). All 3 spheres of my life were nonfunctional, painful and a lie and I became more and more despairing. This span of my life ran from mid 90’s to approx 2005 and in this period I never notice all this creep up on me, I pulled back from everything and everyone and become isolated and exceedingly lonely. I became afraid of what I was thinking of doing when driving to work, this fear was growing and growing, the only reason anyone of you saw me in church was for my immediate families’ sake during this time. I was coming closer and closer to breaking point and the only thing holding me from going over the edge was love for my immediate family. I now know it was God holding me but then God was not in the equation though I became a believer in 1985. At this point in 2005 I did the only thing I could think of doing with the only person I felt I could speak with. I rang Paul Mooney and called over to see him. After spending time with both Paul and Emma I drove back home not really knowing in my head if I was capable of making it home. I persuaded them I was ok but believe me I was petrified.
Sometime later Niamh Kenny was teaching in church and a verse she shared “today if you hear my voice, do not harden your heart” penetrated in a way that I had not experienced for years. Sometime later I got involved in cell and a short time later I ended up cell leader. I lasted in this role 4 / 6 months, during this period all I could hear were the words “liar and hypocrite” and I ran from this position. I tried attending cell after this and after a short period I had enough of this. I just hated it, and the intimacy of my sense of rejection, failure as a believer was taking its toll again. At the start of attending cell again after being a leader I noticed I was having dreams that I just knew were from God but I was terrified of sharing any of this with anyone for fear of being labeled. When the XL Prophecy school came around maybe 2 years ago something within me said I should go along. My answer was easy, NO WAY and I didn’t. The second class came up a number of months later I said yes to going but the week before I was wanted to cancel but didn’t and amazingly my life has changed significantly since then.
One or two things of significance for me at this point are as follows. Many spoke words to me but two in particular kicked a process off. Aine Darling spoke a word to me “sadness” and Paul Rothwell spoke “frustration” and these words started a process of change within me (life changing words). At the end of one of these meetings I was paired with Paul for prayer. Well poor Paul, I told him that I was so close to walking away from church that if I were to tell him how recent this was I might scare him. He prayed for me and had a picture for me with the word “Worship” over it like a banner (my horrors of horrors this word “worship”). To cut a long story short the following Sunday morning in church, I saw Jesus beckon with his finger calling me to come to him and I heard him sing to me “Come away, come away with me my love”. As I was sobbing in my chair I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to get up and share this and I did in tears. As I was sharing it Jesus asked me to dance with him, to my amazement I said yes and the only way I knew how was ask my wife to dance right now during our Sunday meeting. A few short days later Lynda Butcher gave me a Jesus Culture worship CD to listen to and I just could not understand how she could be so stupid giving me something she knew I did not like, well when I listened, God broke my heart and turned it around and today one year later the rest is history.
I have been on pilgrimage (Psalm 84) for the past year, and a few days ago I read Psalm 8:2 “From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to SILENCE the foe and avenger”, somehow for years I read his word and missed Him, today my enemy is silent. To my utter amazement God has restored my heart and captivated me and set me on a path from despair to destiny. I am one of those “even those” that Niamh spoke about, and today I stand a transformed child of God, and God has been telling me He has no limits and if I let him he will transform me that I have none either.
God will do so for You.
A grateful child