One of my favorite books is by a woman named Anne Lamott, it's called Traveling Mercies. In the prelude she talks about her "lily pads of faith" where God kind of brought her around bit by bit, kind of from one shaky, wobbly place to the next, that she wouldn't have been able to get there if it had all been in one leap, but it was this growing process. I love that analogy. I'll take it.
So I feel like my journey has been a series of lily pads, learning to trust God, to walk in faith and be led by him.
In high school I didn't think he wanted to have anything to do with this struggle. Those first years in college I began to cry out to him, going back and forth from trust to distrust. I kept just taking it out of his hands and trying to do it my own way, always ending in failure, of course.
My sophomore year I was living with some girls I didn't know very well, I had gone potluck and ended up with a wonderful Vietnamese roommate, another Christian girl and a girl who hated the sight of me. I felt very alone that first semester. I remember biking back to my apartment after being a part of an amazing worship service with dear friends, getting to play piano under one of the most passionate worship leaders I have ever met and just being overwhelmed by a sense of being alone.
You all are totally gonna think I'm crazy, but I'll just share this. I believe I was under some sort of spiritual attack/oppression. I would wake up and feel like I was hitting a brick wall. I wanted to study and to practice my singing, I wanted to exercise, but I couldn't. Many practice sessions would end up in tears, it was almost this physical thing beating me down. It was like my mind was under attack. Some might say that was just depression, my own thoughts... and to some degree I'm sure I helped it. But there were times when I literally could not do what I wanted to do. I ate a lot, slept a lot and watched a lot of TV instead. This of course did not help.
During this time our campus pastor had it laid on his heart to start a 24/7 prayer room. He called us as the leadership to step in and pray, at all hours of the day and night, to fill time slots and make sacrifices to pray. In the prayer room I felt a freedom that I could feel almost nowhere else, except maybe on Monday nights during worship. It was like a relief came over me when I entered. Again, I believe that it was spiritual attack/oppression. Some kind of demonic force or something.
One night in small group, my leader was sharing about seeing a friend of hers freed from spiritual oppression. What? I had never heard of this thing before, but it was like she was describing my life. So in tears I shared what I had been going through and my confusion about my situation and feelings. So they all gathered around me and prayed. I mean prayed! It was like a battlefield of crying out. My friends just lifting me up. I will tell you that I felt the presence leave. I don't mean to be spooky, I'm just speaking from my experience. I got up and I was free.
For the first time in months, maybe years, I didn't feel overwhelmed. I didn't feel afraid as I once was. I was free.
It was as though I needed to be lifted up by others. I was trying to do it on my own with just me and God and he was like, "No Jody, you need community, you need others around you." My life was changed from that point on. I had new eyes for the spiritual that was going on around me.
Another answer to prayer is that my roommate who hated me moved out. We sort of reconciled about a month beforehand, but it was just a relief not to have to deal with her anymore. The other Christian girl had moved out and I spent that next semester having an awesome time with my Vietnamese roommate and her amazing friends. I look back with much fondness on that time.
I guess I shared this story because I feel like there were things that had to be freed in my spirit first before my physical body would reap the consequences. I am just sharing my life on here. I realized the other day that I'm not really sure of how I got to where I am, so I am sort of discovering along with you as I look back. Thank you for sharing with me.