At the River

At the River

Thoughts on Depending on God and Letting Jesus Lead

at the riverWhen I tune into vision while in prayer, Jesus often meets me at a river. Off in the distance, I can see bright green grassy hills, and on the edge of the shore, there is always a crowd of people that I am very aware of. When I first learned this technique of meeting and listening to Jesus, it seemed the crowd of people was the most important part of the vision for me. I wanted to be with them, to be seen by them, for them to approve of me. It was very difficult to follow Jesus and sit alone with Him.

My question for Him was almost always to the effect of: How long do I have to sit here before I am healed enough to relate to those people the way you want me to? How long before I can go back among them and be who I really am?

But Jesus wasn’t at all interested in answering any questions of time–He just wanted my company. He would sit on the edge of the shore swinging His feet in the water.

Initially, I found this very frustrating. The longer I sat with Jesus, the more aware I became of my own insecurities. I feared that people would forget me if I was not always “present,” always “on.” I tried to explain to Jesus how much people needed to be able to rely on me, and that I had commitments I needed to fulfill.

Instead of depending on God, I was trying to disguise my fears with dependability.

Many times, I tried to walk away from the shore, yet Jesus would get up to follow me. He was always with me wherever I decided I wanted to be. But deep down I knew something was wrong with this. Something was clearly wrong when Jesus was following me: I just couldn’t justify being in the lead.

Letting Jesus Take the Lead

We all want to be able to say that Jesus is Lord of our lives and that we are completely surrendered to His will. This whole idea of Him following me challenged that belief in so many ways, and made me feel rebellious and stubborn. So I would try to stay in step with Him, so that I could at least say I was walking with Him. I thought I could have peace with that.  And maybe in years past, I would have.

But the more I experience inner healing and allow Jesus to dismantle my negative belief system, the harder it is to ignore His voice, and the easier it is to hear His heart even when He isn’t speaking. Maybe there would come a time when it was perfectly acceptable to walk side by side with Jesus along the river bank, but for me, it was definitely not time yet. Because I wasn’t really walking with Him. That was all for show. In my heart, I was still leading.

I could feel Him tugging at me, calling me away to sit with Him on the shore. I really didn’t mind being with Him. I didn’t necessarily mind the sitting. Every time I decided to be obedient and sit with Him, He would reveal some invaluable truth to me or heal a very broken space in my heart. It was always a very peaceful, liberating space. I would always come out of my prayer and journaling time feeling refreshed and renewed.

Even so, I found the length of time this took to be extremely frustrating. Am I not healed yet? I wondered, as He sat peacefully. Are we not done? Can we go now!? Obviously, Jesus didn’t understand how important it was that I be with the crowd along the shore that I could still see.  I mean, what good is a relationship with Jesus if other people can’t see it, right? I needed Him to walk with me so other people could see us together and know how important and special I was.

Yet the longer I sat with Jesus, the more real it became to me that people didn’t necessarily need me as much as I thought they did–or, if I was honest, as much I really needed them to. This wrecked my sense of identity, and I hated it!

Sitting there with Him was soon not enough: He wanted me to focus on Him and not be aware of the crowd at all! He wanted to be enough even if no one else existed. He showed me that I had made people my everything, and He had become just an accessory to my life. He wanted to reverse that for me.

The process of finally surrendering was emotional. I had to face all the empty spaces in my heart that were left vacant when people pleasing was no longer an option. It forced me to have to look into the eyes of Jesus to figure out who I really was.

This was a really scary thought for someone who spent most of her life believing Jesus couldn’t possibly really love her for real. But Jesus was loving and patient. And on the days that I couldn’t bear to look Him in the face because I was so overcome with shame that I would bow my head and stare at the ground, He would get down on His knees and look up at me. He would stare into me with a love so piercing, as if to say, “I am here and I am enough and you are enough. You don’t need anything or anyone else to make you whole, to make you….you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I am madly in love with you.”

Depending on God to Break Down Walls

This relentless love was wrecking my theology and breaking down all the walls I built to protect myself. But somehow, I was no longer afraid. Jesus, somehow, being the infinitely loving gentleman that He is, found a way to completely dismantle my entire belief system, the foundation on which I built my whole life and based all my decisions, brick by brick.  And, despite all my preconceived notions of Him and how this process would turn out, I was not destroyed. He strategically replaced each core lie that I had believed with a new truth.

These days, I have no problem sitting on the river bank with Jesus, swinging my feet in the water. In a world where there is so much malice and hatred attempting to attack our identities, day in and day out, there is just nothing more freeing than being daily reminded of who I am by the King of the universe! Who–get this–delights to sit with little old me. Imagine that!

Lately, it is not uncommon for me to meet Jesus and find that we are no longer sitting on the shore. I see Him standing waist-deep in the water, and I am completely submerged. I notice, though, that my hair always still seems to float on the water. No matter how deep I dive down into the water, I still feel like I am right next to him and my hair is still visible above the water. It is almost as if the deeper I go, the longer my hair gets. I see him still above the water, running His fingers through my hair, removing debris, untangling it. He is very intentional about it. I asked Him one day: what does this mean? Why is my hair so long and prominent in this scene?

He said, “Your hair is your glory. I am restoring you to your former glory.” I realized in this moment that the crowd along the shore could no longer see me at all. If they looked at me or for me, all they could see was Jesus and my hair floating above the water. He said  “I am making it so when they see you, they only see Me and My glory in your life.” In that moment, I was okay with that. All of a sudden, it was enough. I don’t need to be seen and known by man. I don’t need to be validated by his opinions or his thoughts of me. I am seen and known deeply by my Father in heaven and that is more than enough!

Written by Sherika Chew, Prayer Ministry Intern. She is excited to use her gifts in this new role to introduce churches and ministries in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, to the benefits of prayer ministry. Her hope is for the body of Christ in her community to start making prayer ministry a part of their everyday spiritual disciplines. To learn more about Sherika, click here!

Prayer Counseling and the Freedom to Love

How Does Prayer Counseling Help Us to Love God and Others?

“Which is the first commandment of all?” And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:28b-31 NKJV

freedom friendshipLove God. Love others. This is the commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples, both then and now. Jesus also said that if we loved God we would obey His commandments. John 14:15, 21. What keeps us from truly loving God, and, as a consequence, others?

The answer lies with this question: how hard can it be to love God? It would seem natural that our response to the gift of salvation would be devotion to the One that made the way for us to receive new life.

Yet it isn’t always as easy as just saying the words “I love you, God.” Those words ring hollow for those who have never truly tasted the sweetness of God’s love. How can someone who has never felt the warmth of God’s affection respond in kind to a loving Father?

We can also say, “I love my fellow man” yet never truly be an extension of God’s love in this world. Those words carry no weight unless accompanied by real acts of love. How can someone who is not full to overflowing with the compassion and grace that fills God’s heart pass it on to others?

Free to Be Vessels of His Love

As disciples, it is vital that we have an experiential knowledge of the love of God, so that we ourselves brim over with the kindness, affection and unconditional acceptance of God and are not just “points of light” to others but, more importantly, “points of love.”

How can we go from knowing about God’s love to knowing God’s love?

We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, NKJV)

Ever since I can remember I have always loved babies. I can only think of a few rare occasions when I met a child who didn’t like me back. When I meet a small child for the first time my instinct is to just grab him and hug him but I have learned over time to give the child time to get used to me before I do the full court press. Sometimes that takes longer than other times but invariably I end up holding him and loving on him. The comments I often hear range from “he never lets anyone he doesn’t know hold him” to “he’s so comfortable with you!” When people ask me why children seem to like me, my response is always the same: they feel the love.

When it comes to loving God we are just like little children: our love for God is a direct response to His love for us. Like babies, we were created to be natural sponges for the love of our Father in heaven. The more we experience His love, the more we love Him.

But how many of us are like the babies who resist being held? Or worse yet, how many more of us have hearts that are actually filled with fear? Fear and love cannot inhabit the same space. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18, NKJV) We fear because we have never truly experienced the love of God in our hearts. We only have a head knowledge of the love of God rather than a heartknowledge. Instead of being open, our hearts are closed off and we cannot receive the love God is pouring out on us.

In childhood we are meant to receive the nurture and love from our parents that will enable us to keep our hearts open to God and to others. In his book, The Five Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman calls this “filling our love tank.” When our love tank is full we learn to trust, and we do not to have to hide, or flee in fear. However, when our primary caregivers fail to meet our need for love in real or perceived ways, like flowers that do not bloom, our hearts do not open up and we have less capacity to love. This impedes our ability to receive God’s love.

It also hinders us from loving others. In their book Letting Go of Your Past, John and Paula Sandford write: “When we do not have a functioning spirit filled with love, we cannot care how our brother feels, nor do we feel bad if we happen to be the one who causes him harm.”

Prayer counseling is one way for this deficit to be remedied.

Finding Freedom through Prayer Counseling

Being healed through prayer counseling deals with the wounds of childhood that caused us to close our hearts. The truth strips away the poor substitutes for love that we have clung to over the years. For the first time perhaps, we can see ourselves seated in the lap of our loving Father in heaven, and allow Him to give us the nurture we so desperately need. Our hearts begin to open up to receive. We are like a glass full of dirty water into which clean water is being poured until all the dirt is displaced. The cup fills and overflows with clean, pure, water—love—and now it becomes natural to love in turn.

Through prayer for healing, dialogue with God, and the unconditional acceptance of the prayer minister, God reveals His love in ways that are meaningful to each individual.

This is what God showed one counselee:

“[God’s love is like a] powerful sea with powerful waves. You can’t wade in and push it away or stop it. You can try and fight the current, [but] it is like the love of God that rolls right over you and covers you. There is no sin, nothing about you, that can stop that sea rolling over you.”

When we experience God’s love, fear is displaced, our hearts are enlarged and we are able to love God in return. When we know what it is to receive His love with no strings attached, we can love others in the same way. It is then that we are truly able to obey Jesus’ command to love God and one another.

Ready to start your own journey to freedom? Make your prayer counseling appointment with Finding Home Institute today. Email us at (preferred) or call (571) 393-1278. You will receive a response in no later than 1 business day.

Giving Tuesday: Support Prayer Counseling at FHI

Giving Tuesday Supports Prayer Counseling at FHI

Today is Giving Tuesday, an exciting opportunity for Finding Home Institute to offer prayer counseling and healing for so many more people. FHI is a unique prayer counseling ministry that looks at the roots of life problems, and makes real freedom possible. By getting in touch with God’s truth, a heart can be transformed; a life, changed for the better.

This Giving Tuesday, the ministry is featuring testimonies about how the prayer counseling and classes at Finding Home Institute can lead to true healing.

Start with Felicia’s story on being part of an Elijah House class:

Next is Jessie, FHI founder & director, talking about her own healing experience:

On Giving Tuesday, Help Set Someone Free

Donations to Finding Home Institute are powerful and meaningful. They provide scholarships for powerful prayer counseling, help support staff members, and make it possible to offer classes for communities in need of healing.

Here’s what your gift can do:

  • $50 covers one person’s registration fee for a life-changing class.
  • $75 gives one individual session of powerful prayer counseling.
  • $100 donates five students’ art therapy kits.
  • $200 covers one person’s registration and workbook costs for an introductory Elijah House class.

There are so many possibilities, and your help makes them possible!

To make a one-time or recurring donation, click here.

The Prodigal Journey

The Prodigal Journey

“The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.”
Luke 15:16 NLT

journey like the prodigal sonThis is the predicament the prodigal son found himself in after turning away from his father to make a way for himself.  I have been in this place so many times for so many different reasons: lost and hungry for something, and not always sure exactly what. But whatever it was, I was sure I wasn’t getting it.

Hunger is produced in so many ways. It can be the result of broken relationships, absent parents, lack of self-care, or abuse. It is what causes an aching in our souls, an insatiable emptiness that nags to be filled. It is because of our hurts, our pains, our fears, our disappointments. It is the lack of all that we deem good and essential for life. This world provides myriad opportunities for these things to be robbed from us. And it hurts!

This is where I imagine the prodigal son to have found himself in this scripture: lost, alone, and brokenhearted because things did not turn out the way he thought they would. But that is also where I imagine his heart was before he ever left home.

We look back on the story, and because we know the ending, we can see that he indeed had a good, good father. He was lacking nothing. He had everything he needed for his present everyday life, as well as the promise of a future inheritance. But something had to be missing in order for him to turn his back completely on his father and brother and take his inheritance with no plans of looking back. The story doesn’t tell us exactly what this thing was that the son so desperately thought he needed but was not getting at home. But there is an obvious level of resentment.

When You are Like the Prodigal Son

I completely relate. God has proven to me, time and time again, that He is God and He is good. But I am no stranger to this place. I’m not sure if it is pride or fear that causes it, but we have a tendency to focus on the one thing we didn’t get or feel we will never have. A wall of anger builds toward to God around this hurt and we refuse to let him touch it. Maybe life has gone out of its way to prove to you that no man will ever really be there for you. Or circumstances seem to reveal that you will never really be able to communicate with the people in your family. Maybe it seems no one understands you or really knows you and no one ever will. Maybe your childhood was so traumatic and dysfunctional that, even though you somehow are able to see the goodness of God in others, you just can’t begin to believe He will ever be truly good to you.

And then you find yourself in the Father’s house, labeled a son, with access to everything He has, but you don’t really know Him. And frankly, you don’t care to. Like the young man in this story, you want out! You would prefer to make your own way and you are pretty sure you can figure out a better way to do it.  You love God on some level, or at least know you should, but you don’t trust Him.

Can you relate? Are there places in your heart where you have packed up and left God? I am just recently coming out of one of these seasons. Like the prodigal son in verse 17, I’ve recently come to my senses. I’ve looked around and come to grips with the fact that I was better off in my Father’s house. Life and circumstances have humbled me and I realize I am not nearly as smart as I thought I was.

But what really struck me, this most recent time hearing the famous parable, was that I, like the prodigal son, was coming home not because I missed my dad, but because I was at my wit’s end.

The prodigal son was so empty, so broken, that he desired what he knew was not good for him. The scripture doesn’t say he was willing to resort to the pods that the pigs were eating. It says they looked good to him. Ever been in that place? Have you ever strongly desired what you knew in your heart of hearts was not at all good for you? This is the deception that comes along with turning your back on God to fulfill your own needs. We often have to learn this hard way.

But thankfully, just like the prodigal son, God, in His sovereignty and mercy did not allow me access to the pods. The scripture says because no one would give him anything, he came to his senses. I can now sit and rejoice at all the things God didn’t let me have in order to give me what He knew I needed. But in the process, I was actually upset. I was upset that God did not give me what I needed growing up and now, I thought,  He won’t even let me get it myself. I was upset that I had to settle for doing things God’s way in order to be able to at least eat. Isn’t that just how the enemy makes things look. So many us have settled with sitting in the house of God as His servants because at least the servants eat better than the pigs. But deep down we are still hurt, resentful, and afraid and like the older son in the story, we may not be running off with our inheritance but we still don’t know Him.

I really did not know God until I started making my way back home. I had squandered all that He had given me, and rebelled against Him because of all I thought He didn’t give me, yet He welcomed me home with open arms. I received the exact opposite of what I expected from Him. Because of that, I’m finally coming to the understanding that there is truly  no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

But what do I do with this sadness that lingers because of the disappointment that is still very real? How do I reconcile the hunger that still exists in those broken, wounded places?

The way I should have all along, I give them to my Daddy. I don’t just will myself to believe that He is a good, good Father, I grant Him opportunity to prove it. And beyond my wildest dreams, He has!

He Will Withhold No Good Thing

I have learned that when I experience aching and emptiness, I am to let it push me towards God, and not away from Him. There will always be questions that I can’t answer and longings that I am unable to fill. But I am confident that my Father sees me, He hears me and He understands. He will withhold no good thing from me (Psalms 84:11).  I have decided that if it seems like He is withholding something that because of the depravity of my heart it just looks good but most likely isn’t or He wants to provide that need through different means. But He will provide! And I will lack no good thing! (Psalms 34:10)  Plain and simple, and I refuse to believe anything else!

Will you believe?

He wants to be the Father you didn’t have. He wants to provide the love you didn’t get. He is the only one who can truly fill the emptiness. I recognize that this is definitely a process and I don’t claim to have come anywhere near the end of it. I am not completely sure whether I ever will, this side of eternity. But I do know this: I have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord and it is far better than anything I could manufacture on my own. Now, I can see how desperately hungry I really was, and I don’t plan on ever letting myself get there again.

Regardless of where you find yourself on this journey, whether you still have quite a bit of inheritance left to blow, or you’re finding yourself desiring slop, or you are at home still but mad at your Father, find comfort in this:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:35

And when you find yourself hungry, draw closer. Make sure it’s not because you don’t know Him or because you have shut Him out. The enemy will try to use this emptiness to prove to you that God doesn’t care. But given the opportunity, God will use it to prove how much He really, really does!

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him”
Luke 15:20

Article by Sherika Chew, Prayer Ministry Intern. You can learn more about Sherika and support her work at FHI here!

Strategies for Freedom: Giving Thanks in All Things

Giving Thanks in All Things

prayer with thanksgivingThe difficult circumstances we often face prompt some people to wonder where God is, and what He is doing. Others view such trying times as perilous, finding the reality hard to reconcile with a loving and gracious God.

The Apostles lived in equally perilous times—and many of them literally gave their lives for their beliefs. And yet, what was their exhortation? Be thankful.

They understood that living with thanksgiving was the key to faith and peace. They knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that their God was in control, even in the midst of their circumstances. Therefore, they had no trouble encouraging God’s people to demonstrate their confidence in the goodness of their Heavenly Father by offering praise and thanksgiving.

In light of changing, confusing times, and with Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to share an excerpt from my book that reminds us how God can change our perspectives—and our hearts—when we choose to give thanks in all things.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Knowing (not hoping) that God really is good has caused me to see Romans 8:28 from a whole new light. Previously I had believed that verse from the perspective of the past. As I lived through difficult and unpleasant situations I would declare, while I worried and fretted, that God would work all things together for good. I would wait, sometimes for years, to see the good that He would bring from the bad things that happened to me. When I finally saw the good He brought out of the bad, then, and only then, would I give Him the praise He was due. But now I had a new response. If God really works all things together for good, then that means that I can praise Him in the midst of the bad things that are happening and look expectantly for the good that He will bring out of it. When I started to do that, the most amazing thing happened. I no longer had to wait weeks, months, or years to see the good that God could bring out of the bad. He would often show me instantaneously what He was accomplishing in allowing me to go through hardship (real or perceived).

Thanking God in all things has made life a lot more pleasant. I no longer have to get upset about the numerous things that used to annoy me and take away my happiness. When I am forced to slow down because the driver in front of me is barely moving at the speed limit but I remember to thank God in advance, I praise God a few minutes later when I see the police car on the side of the road with his speed gun. When my flight is delayed but I remember to thank God in advance and just arrange to take another flight, I praise God when I find out later that day that the flight I was originally waiting for was cancelled. When the seating section on my eight-hour flight from Europe is the only one that cannot show videos but I remember to thank God in advance, I praise God when the flight attendant comes around and offers us $200 vouchers for our “inconvenience.” I could go on and on with examples of things that used to disturb my peace that no longer bother me and how the Lord takes those situations and turns them around.

Romans 8:28 has become a way of life for me now. Although there are times when what is happening seems so bad that it is extremely hard to thank Him for it, those are the times when my choice becomes a true sacrifice of praise. God is a gentleman and He waits to be invited into the situations of our lives. I know from experience that when I am thanking Him, I am involving Him in my life. In response, He springs into action on my behalf. The solutions are not all the same. Sometimes He will change a situation completely; sometimes He will redeem it somehow by causing me to go in another direction that was better than the first. Other times He will not change the situation or lead me in another direction: He will change me in the situation. When I start to thank God for EVERYTHING, He can give me His perspective on life and that changes me.

Excerpted from my book Leaving Home—Finding Home: My Journey from Shame to Sonship through Journaling, XLibris Corporation, ©2010, pages 365-366.

Pray With Thanksgiving

Here are some steps to thanking God even when circumstances are, at best, not ideal—or, at worst, downright awful:

  1. Be honest with God about how you feel about what is going on. Let Him know how unhappy you are with the situation. He can handle it.
  2. Acknowledge that He can work out even the worst situation for good somehow.
  3. Choose to make the sacrifice of praise (Job 13:15) and thank Him now for working even this situation out for good.
  4. If necessary, use Philippians 4:6-7 as you would a prescription.

Be anxious for nothing…

Recognize your anxiety and confess your fears to God.

…but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…

Offer up:

  • Prayer – bringing your case before God
  • Supplication – telling God what you need
  • Requests – telling God what you want
  • Thanksgiving – thanking Him in advance for the answer to your prayer

…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus…

Then, you will experience His peace.

To read more about finding freedom, you can order Jessie’s book Leaving Home, Finding Home.

All “Strategies for Freedom”

To help you on your journey:
1: Letting Go
2: Giving Thanks
3: Stop Comparing

Strategies for Freedom: Letting Go

Strategies for Freedom

Letting Go

dandelionFears. Anger. Shame. These are some of the burdens that weigh us down, and that we carry with seemingly no way of finding relief.

As a prayer minister, it is my privilege to come alongside people and help them accurately pinpoint what is keeping them stuck in a bad place. I often encounter clients who are having trouble getting in touch with the underlying feelings that are the real problems. They are unable to connect with the lies that they may have bought into, and tend to believe that what they are going through is too hard even for God.

One way I help them identify and let go of what is weighing them down is coaching them to use their eyes of their hearts. This allows them to see Jesus’ heart and intentions for them, and what He wants to give to them in return.

This can look similar to dream interpretation. It is easy enough for us to understand that, when we dream, we are seeing symbols of the way we may feel. For instance, if you were to see yourself behind the wheel of your car, it would likely mean that your heart sees you as the “driver,” and in control, of your life.

In the same way, in our waking hours, we can identify and pray through symbols our hearts hold onto that are just as potent as the metaphors in our dreams.

I learned how to pray this way early on in my own healing experience. As my minister was helping me process a certain painful memory, I saw myself as young pioneer girl, à la Little House on the Prairie, carrying a yoke with two heavy buckets of water on my shoulders. The counselor gently asked me if I could put down that burden. I wanted to but found that I could not – the burden seemed so heavy (and so real!) that I couldn’t lift it up to take it off of my shoulders. She asked if I needed the Lord’s help to do so, and I said yes. As soon as we prayed for His help, the thought popped into my mind to tip over the water buckets so that the water would drain out and the buckets would be much lighter. I did so and was able to then remove the yoke and set it down on the ground. I then saw myself walking peacefully by a river with Him.

It has been my joy and privilege to see many letting go of their burdens in a similar fashion. This is easy and effective and can be done on your own.

Take Steps Towards Letting Go

Here are 5 key steps to letting go:

  1. Pray, and present the eyes of your heart to the Holy Spirit to be filled with only the True Lord Jesus Christ and His truth.
  2. Ask yourself: What am I holding onto? What kinds of pictures, visuals, or images may represent what I am holding onto?
  3. Allow yourself to picture the symbols of what you are holding onto. The range of possibilities is endless, from pebbles held in your hand to enormous black blobs of goo smothering your heart! I cannot emphasize enough that the number of pictures or symbols that our hearts can see is truly infinite. When I am helping someone let go using this method, I rarely have to do more than explain what a metaphor is before the person begins seeing pictures that resonate with them.
  4. Once you have identified those objects, picture yourself letting them go. You might see yourself giving them to Jesus, laying them down at the foot of the cross, or physically releasing them in some other way. At this point, if you find you are having a hard time letting go, realize that you may need to forgive someone (an offender, God or yourself); or you may simply need to ask Jesus to help you.
  5. Finally, let Jesus show you what He wants to give you in return. He may replace it with another object that is meaningful to you or He may simply replace it with His presence and His peace. The governing principle here is that nature abhors a vacuum, and in my experience, Jesus does not take anything from us without replacing it with something new to fill the void. Just as death was followed by resurrection, lies are replaced with truth, wounds are replaced with comfort, and rejection is replaced with full acceptance.

If you find it difficult to do this on your own you may need to set up a session with a skillful prayer minister. An FHI minister is available to help you. Click here to contact us.

If you have been able to use this method successfully, with or without a prayer minister, we would love to hear your story! Please email it to us at and we will publish it on our website.

All “Strategies for Freedom” Posts

To help you on your journey:

1: Letting Go
2: Giving Thanks
3: Stop Comparing

Dream Interpretation Workshop – Weekly Online Class

Dream Interpretation Workshop – Weekly Online Class

dreamFinding Home Institute’s Dream Interpretation Workshop began last week, but you can still sign up for sessions 2, 3, and 4 – or choose one that is convenient for you!

Read on for further information or click here to register!

Class Description

Are dreams just an interesting byproduct of our sleeping hours, or could God be speaking to us through them? What does the Bible have to say about dreams? How can we decipher the meaning of our dreams? This teaching gives practical keys to biblical dream interpretation and how to hear God’s voice through dreams.

This 4-week workshop will present principles of Christian dream interpretation from the book Dream Dreams by Steve and Dianne Bydeley and Principles of Christian Dream Interpretation by Dr. Mark Virkler. Students will be asked to record and bring at least one dream for interpretation each week. Participants will learn how to interpret dreams through a hands-on approach and by asking key questions as the class works through several actual dreams each week.

Format for each session: Live teaching online* followed by hands-on dream interpretation using the Dream Interpretation Worksheet. Students may register for 1 session or all!

*Students will be given instructions and access after registration.

Class Schedule

Session 1:

  • Defining Dreams and Visions
  • Rebuilding Our Regard for Dreams
  • Hands on Dream Interpretation – Using the Worksheet

Session 2:

  • Types and Purposes of Dreams
  • Approaches to Symbols
  • Hands on Dream Interpretation – Using the Worksheet

Session 3:

  • Basic Dream Language
  • Context of the Dream
  • Hands on Dream Interpretation – Using the Worksheet

Session 4:

  • Responding to Dreams
  • Interpretation Pitfalls
  • Hands on Dream Interpretation – Using the Worksheet

Date & Time: Thursdays from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; August 11, 2016 through September 1, 2016

Cost: $15 per session or $40 for all sessions

Instructor: Jessie Mejias, Director, Finding Home Institute.

For more information about this class, contact


Click below to register via PayPal!

Trust vs. Faith

Pathways to Life
Summer 2016

trust fallTrust vs. Faith

As often as I can, I attend a monthly day retreat that always starts with a time of centering prayer. Centering prayer is essentially a time to just be in God’s presence. In centering prayer, you are to choose a sacred word that you return to every time your thoughts crowd in and begin to distract you from this time of intimacy and openness to our Heavenly Father.

During a recent time of centering prayer, I felt like the sacred word that was given to me was “trust.” Before I could even get to being silently in God’s presence, I found it necessary to let go of the things that preoccupied me and to put them in the Lord’s lap. I pictured myself giving Him symbols of my cares: pieces of paper that represented this ministry, unpaid bills, unopened emails, and pictures of my family, among other things. In return, I was given a card to hold in my hand that had the one word “trust” on it. As I held tightly onto that card, I could see in my mind’s eye the rising and then the setting of the sun. I began to think about how the one who trusts knows that the sun will rise again after the darkness. Then my thoughts wandered to the fact that while the sun remains stationary, it’s the earth that moves. I realized that, at times, it is my own movement away from the light that causes darkness, but that I can always move back into the light. Then I felt like the Lord was saying that, like a baby who is sleeping peacefully while her parent takes care of the necessities of life, He will take care of food, shelter, clothes and paying the bills.

Some verses floated to the surface of my mind:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5,6

Is there anything too hard for me?
Jeremiah 32:27

Perfect love casts out all fear.
1 John 4:18

This last verse reminded me that if I know that He loves me perfectly, I don’t have to fear. I can trust.

Over the next few days I meditated upon trust and began to wonder: what is the difference between trust and faith? If faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, what is trust?

Naturally, I went first to the dictionary.


  1. Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
  2. One in which confidence is placed

Then I went to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance[2] to see exactly how that word was used in the Bible. The Hebrew word “batach” (pronounced ba-takh) means “to trust, trust in, to have confidence, be confident, to be bold, to be secure, to cause to trust, make secure, to feel safe, be careless.”

I was completely taken with the last meaning of trust—to be care-less. That seemed to be the exact state of that little baby asleep while her parent is bustling around the house getting things done.

However, Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon really caught my imagination with its illustration of the meaning of this word: “to throw one down on his back…”2

Free fall! This made me think of the trust exercises that are often done at team training seminars.

When we trust God, we are letting go, putting our confidence in Him, allowing ourselves to fall backwards and expecting Him to catch us.

trust mountain

Faith, on the other hand, according to Strong’s[3], is the Hebrew word “pístis” and means “persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:—assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

So what do I believe is the difference between trust and faith?

Trust is the test of faith.

Faith is about what you believe, and trust is how you walk out that belief. If I believe that God is good, then I will allow myself to throw myself down on my back.

What is trust except the action of faith, the outworking of faith? How would you know what you truly believed if you were never in a position that causes you to trust in order to test your faith? That is when the rubber hits the road: What do I really believe about God?

Although Abraham believed God, it was not until he had to follow God’s instructions and take Isaac to the altar that his faith was tested, and trust in God was the result.

Mary believed that the Messiah would come, but it was not until she was told that she would be the unwed mother of the Savior that her faith was tested, and trust in God was the result.

Job believed that God was sovereign, but it wasn’t until all his riches and family were taken away from him that that faith was tested. God gave him a greater revelation of who He was, and Job’s trust became solid.

We can believe or say that we believe all we want, but in the day of testing, what do we really do?

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4

When you go to school, the only way that the teacher can find out if you have actually learned the lesson is to test you. When you have passed the test, the knowledge of the material becomes part of you – tucked away sometimes in the recesses of your brain, but there nonetheless.

God is the God of experiential knowledge. He knows that what we don’t experience we don’t really know in our hearts. Head knowledge has never done anyone any good when the time of testing came. When times of testing come (and they will) it is the deep and firm belief that is in your heart that comes out.

Do you believe that God is good and wants good for you? Do you believe that He is on your team and won’t let you down? Do you believe that He is strong enough to catch you? Do you believe that He cares enough to be there to catch you?

If you said yes to any of those questions, I would encourage you to trust—test your faith.

Are you ready to free fall?


Jessie Mejias - President & Director of FHI

Jessie Mejias – President & Director, FHI






[1] Retrieved 6/18/16 from

[2] Retrieved on 6/18/16 from

[3] Retrieved 6/18/16 from

Summer News and Updates

Summer News and Updates

finding joy sunriseAs summer approaches and warmer temperatures take center stage, we find ourselves taking a step back here at FHI with our training and events. Two online classes are on our calendar for July and August, and we’ve recently postponed a seminar for September. Continue reading for more information on these classes that cover Christian dream interpretation and spiritual gifts!

Understanding God’s Design for You – Weekly Online Class Starts July 7

We all know that everyone has a unique way of looking at life, but did you know that God has designed each one of us to look at and encounter life primarily through one of the seven spiritual or redemptive gifts, described in Romans 12?

God intended for you to find rich fulfillment in life when you are walking in the righteous expression of your redemptive gift. An integral part of your birthright as a child of God is to be able to recognize, understand, and develop that gift.

This 2-week class integrates teachings from Bill Gothard and Arthur Burk and will help participants learn the characteristics of each of the gifts and how to identify their own dominant gift.

To find out more and register, click here: Understanding God’s Design for You

Dream Interpretation Workshop – Weekly Online Class Starts August 11

Are dreams just an interesting byproduct of our sleeping hours, or could God be speaking to us through them? What does the Bible have to say about dreams? How can we decipher their meanings?

This 4-week workshop will present principles of Christian dream interpretation from the book Dream Dreams by Steve and Dianne Bydeley and Principles of Christian Dream Interpretation by Dr. Mark Virkler. Students will learn how to interpret dreams through a hands-on approach and by asking key questions as the class works through several actual dreams each week.

For this weekly class, participants can register for one or all sessions.

To find out more and register, click here: Dream Interpretation Workshop

Healing the Hearts of Our Children Seminar and Kids’ Camp Postponed

Please note that the “Healing the Hearts of Our Children” seminar originally scheduled for June 17-18 at the CHAT Resurrection House will be postponed until September. The kids’ camp, scheduled for June 18 at the East End Fellowship Office, will be postponed as well. New dates and registration information will be available soon!

Spring Events and Updates

spring flowers

Spring Events and Updates

At Finding Home Institute, we are providing new opportunities over the coming weeks for others to embrace growth and change. Among other classes and small group offerings, for example, we will be holding the seminar “Healing the Hearts of Our Children” in June. Trials in our families can be deeply rooted, but healing with God’s help and in His time is truly the best salve. So let’s find new ways blossom together this spring.

Some updates on upcoming events:

  • Please note that, due to a lack of participants, FHI will be postponing the seminar “Developing a Prophetic Ministry” originally scheduled for Thursday, May 12, 2016, until further notice. We will post an update as soon as a new date is chosen. If you have any further questions or interest in this topic, please feel free to contact FHI!