New Spring Classes and Events!

New Spring Classes and Events!

bright sunrise hopeThis spring, join Finding Home Institute for a variety of new classes and events designed to help you start living the abundant life! Register today to secure your spot and get the best rates.

Letting Go of Your Past – Part 3

Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 PM, April 26 through June 14

Friday mornings from 9:30 AM-12:30 PM, April 29 through June 17

Your past contains a wealth of relationships, experiences, lessons, and hurts. You can learn from them and use them as a foundation for a victorious future. Or you can let them use you, and hinder your ability to be the person you were created to be.

This is the conclusion of a 3-part series of Elijah House teachings designed to help you learn how your past affects your life today, and how to move on and find healing in Christ.

Classes will be offered on Tuesday evenings starting on April 26, and Friday mornings starting on April 29. Evening sessions will be at the home of Michael and Kristen Wind, and daytime sessions will be at the FHI Office.

Learn more & register: Letting Go of Your Past – Evening session

Letting Go of Your Past – Daytime session

Boundaries Small Group

Wednesday evenings from 7-9 PM, April 28 through June 29

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which are responsible. They define who we are and who we are not. Christians often focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limitations.

In this 8-week class, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based instructions on how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

This small group will be held on Wednesday evenings starting on April 28 at the FHI Office.

Learn more & register: Boundaries Small Group – Richmond, VA


Find out more by emailing!

Understanding Our Spirit

Understanding Our Spirit

We are created spirit, soul, and body—in that order. God intended from the beginning of time that we should live by our spirit, in close fellowship with Him. Above all, He desires intimacy with us. This intimacy cannot be replaced by works that we do, not even works of ministry. When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in our hearts—our spirits—so that God can bring us into that close relationship, that intimacy, with Him.

When I think of intimacy, I think of the phrase “into-me-see.” Recently, I invited the Lord to see into me and show me what He saw. I saw myself as a transparent being with clock workings moving inside of me. I felt that the “oil” of the Holy Spirit is what makes these parts work best, and also what makes them bright and shiny. Then I sensed the Lord inviting me to see into Him. I was reminded that intimacy is a two-way street. I heard the words,“I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with bands of lovingkindness I have drawn you to me.” I could see myself as a timepiece: the Lord had me on a wristband that He wrapped tightly around His arm so that I could be ever so close to Him. He also began to show me how the mechanical parts in my clock work with the mechanical parts of the Body of Christ to cause the whole to work better. I thought of Jesus’ prayer for the disciples in John, chapter 17, when He asked this of the Father:

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:20-23 (NKJV)

A week later, the Lord continued to speak to me about my spirit:

Remember what I showed you last week? How I shine the light on your inward mechanism and it shines brightly in return? That is my glory that I have given you. My glory is the light. The light of my Holy Spirit. That light shines in the darkness and dispels the darkness. Your spirit is light. The light that shines within you is bright and it dispels darkness. It is the light of life, true life, a light and a life that cannot be extinguished.

These words only served to drive home to me how much more I need to learn about my spirit and how it works so that I can let that light shine brightly. Do you know how your spirit works? Like me, you can seek to get a picture from the Word and from God about the glory that He wants to spread to the world through you.

We cannot underestimate the importance of understanding our spirit so that we can cooperate with God in His work, being led by His Holy Spirit as it joined to ours. Our light needs to shine brightly so that His presence in us will dispel the darkness of the world that we encounter every day. However, many of us have not been taught how to sense our spirit; all too often our spirit is weak, and our soul is in the dominant position instead. Our job is to develop our spirit and tap into its great potential. We need to become aware of the Holy Spirit’s movements within us, learn how to walk by the Spirit, and find out what our spirit needs in order to take its proper place. As we learn to understand and live by our spirit—allowing His light to shine through us and radiate to the world—we will experience fullness of life.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)


This topic is presented in “Understanding and Living by Your Spirit,” which is one of FHI’s core curriculum courses. This two-part course, which combines teachings from Mark Virkler and Arthur Burk, helps us learn how to properly live by our spirit that is filled with the Spirit of God. Check our website for upcoming class dates, or contact us at to arrange for a class for your church or small group.

Who Am I in Christ? An Event with Lois Hochstatter

Who Am I in Christ? An Event with Lois Hochstatter

Christ crossWe are excited to announce that Lois Hochstatter of Healing Heart Ministry will be visiting Richmond in early March! FHI is offering two opportunities to hear from her about finding your identity in Christ:

  • Saturday, March 5th, from 10 AM to 12 PM
    927 Chimborazo Blvd, Richmond, VA 23223
  • Tuesday, March 8th, from 10 AM to 12 PM
    Rivers of Living Water Healing Ministries
    5639 S. Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA 23231

Both events will be Lois’s seminar “Who Am I?” In this seminar, you will find out that God has created our true identity, our destiny, and a unique song in each one of us. Lois’s teaching will encourage you to let God and God alone tell you who are you, then live into the fullness of who He created you to be.

For more information, check out the FHI Eventbrite page. Be sure to register early! Both events are free*, and space will fill up quickly!

*Note: an offering will be taken up for Lois at both events.

Thoughts for the New Year

Thoughts for the New Year

FHI Ministry Partner and Facilitator Liz Steffen posted this on Facebook on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2016. It bears reprinting here.

morning dewWe all get excited about the new year because we hope this year will not be filled with the same illness, financial trouble, heartbreak, loss, depression, loneliness, etc. that we experienced in the last year. We hope by starting over we can prevent last year’s pain. The truth is that this year we will carry some of the old difficulties with us. Some will go away, but there will be new ones. So where is the hope of the new year? It is found in the opportunity to be reminded in a new way that we all have the power to choose EACH DAY what our reality will be. EVERY single day there is new mercy afforded for us and sufficient grace to see us through. Just like God’s presence is always with us, so too is His provision if only we have the awareness to experience it in the way it is being offered. So yes, resolve today to start over, but also renew your mind and refresh your spirit constantly, for life is a journey and we never escape trials or suffering. What we can do is change our approach to it and be made stronger and more complete in the face of it!

May you be blessed with hope and perseverance to gain the fruit of all your labor and trials this year!

Light of the World

candle light

Light of the World

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:14, 16

Jesus is the Light of the World: He came to bring light to the world and to bring hope where there is darkness. Darkness will spread but so will hope as hearts are turned to Him.

Jesus is the Light of the World: He is the only way to the Father. He lights the way before us and guides us to heaven’s throne.

We believers are the light of the world: We are meant to co-labor with Jesus. We do that by reflecting Jesus’ light within us and by praying for the lost.

As we celebrate the coming of the Light, let us remember that He chose to come in human form to live among us and identify with us. Then He died for us so that He could work in us and through us to bring the light of hope and healing to a darkened world.

Glory to God in the Highest!


seasons tree


Recognizing which of the four seasons we are in is a simple but important part of life. If we are not able to discern the times, we won’t know how to respond (i.e. dress) appropriately. If that happens, we may find ourselves out of sync with nature and ill prepared for the weather.

Seasons also change for us in life. Take parenting, for example: before the children come along we are free and don’t have to worry about anyone but ourselves; then the children are small and helpless and need a great deal of our time; next, they become more and more independent as they grow but still need us in many ways; finally (hopefully!), they are on their own, able to take care of themselves and we find ourselves with more freedom but still involved when needed. If we don’t adjust ourselves psychologically to think and behave differently at each of these stages, we will not be ready for the particular challenges each one presents.

We also find ourselves moving through seasons as we do God’s work. Accurately discerning these transitions brings us into alignment with His will for whatever He has called us to do.

Recently the Lord seemed to be showing me a timeline of seven years for building the foundation of FHI. As I pondered the fact that we have just completed our fifth year of ministry it occurred to me that each of those years (seasons) might be aligned with a specific redemptive gift. If that were true then we will have just completed the Giver season. This made sense to me because stewardship is both the key principle governing the Giver gift and the theme that God was consistently bringing to my heart and mind over the course of the past year. Arthur Burk of Sapphire Leadership Group defines stewardship this way: doing somebody else’s work with somebody else’s resources. I could recognize that season because it was a time when God was patiently teaching me that He is ultimately the provider of all the resources we need to fulfill His kingdom purposes at FHI.

Pursuing that line of reasoning, it would follow then that now, in our sixth year, we have entered the Ruler season.  The key principle governing the Ruler gift is freedom, which Burk says comes from seeing a vast array of resources and knowing when and how to use them. The Ruler season is a time to implement the vision given to the FHI Board members and me, and to put people in order. Organizational development will be crucial to this season and God has already started bringing people alongside us to point out effective ways to use our resources.

As a first step we believe that our vision needed to be clearly articulated and communicated. To accomplish that we created a video about FHI which we call “Stories of Hope.” We invite you to watch it and share it with your friends!

To be sure, there are other components to building for FHI’s future growth such as adding new board members, finding more effective ways to bring our staff and volunteers together, linking up with other ministries and churches, and updating and streamlining our office procedures. (All great Ruler projects!)

Bottom line: we are excited about this new season and want to get into alignment with God’s plan for us. Please pray that God will give us wisdom, insight and discernment as we navigate our ship on new waters.

We hope you will join hands with us in this adventure!

Shame: Part Four

Shame: Part Four

Note: This is the fourth and final in a series of articles about shame.

How can we be healed from shame?

lotus rise from mudThe key to being healed from shame is to see ourselves the way God sees us.

Let’s use the example of a child who has been out playing and rolling around in mud. When the child comes home, his mother may not be happy at the state of her child, but she knows that all she has to do is put him in the bathtub. He may be so covered in mud that mom can barely see his chubby little face. However, when he gets into the water, the dirt begins to slide off him and turn the water black. Mom applies copious amounts of soap and water and pretty soon she can discern the real little boy that was hidden underneath the dirt. She never once worried that the dirt wouldn’t come off and that her child would not be revealed to her. This mother’s confidence in that truth is conveyed deeply to the heart of her child, and as a consequence, he is not afraid that he might get dirty again—he knows that mom can see right through the mud to the child that she loves.

Suppose, however, that this little boy comes home and looks in the mirror, and seeing the mud that pretty much disguises his true features, believes that the mud is part of him, that he is that mud, as if it were laminated to his skin.

That is what the person who lives in shame sees.

To be healed we need the truth of how God our Father in heaven sees us. He has the confidence that the blood of His Son will wash away anything that clings to us. He does not consider our sin to have tainted us so far beyond the identity He gave us that we cannot be washed clean and restored to our original design.

Using the eyes and the ears of our heart, we ask God to give us His perspective. As a result of catching His vision of what He sees when He looks at us, we can find the courage needed to give up all of the defense mechanisms that I mentioned in part three of this series.

The following are some practical ways of dealing with shame. We may need an experienced prayer minister to come alongside us to help us as we work through this deeply seated issue.

Breaking the generational sin and curse of shame

We confess and repent of the sin of shame of previous generations, forgiving them and releasing them for passing this sin and its resulting curse on to us.

We ask for God’s forgiveness for our own participation in this sin, receiving His forgiveness, and forgiving ourselves.

Finally, we place the cross of Christ between our generations and ourselves as babies in the womb and command the sin and curse of shame to be halted at the cross.

Receiving healing for traumatic memories

We ask God to bring to mind every memory that caused us to believe that we were less than, not good enough, or damaged goods. Again, using the eyes and ears of our heart, we invite Jesus to show us where He was and what He was doing when that event happened. Jesus does not change history, but He brings His comfort, compassion, and perspective to the memory and replaces the lie we have believed about our identity with His truth.

We can do this for any and every memory that needs healing.


We ask God to give us the grace to forgive all those who conveyed the message to us in our formative years through outright acts of abuse or through neglect that we were inherently defective. We confess and release all judgments made against them and ask God to bless them. We trust God to accomplish forgiveness in and through us.

We do the three steps of choosing to forgive, releasing the person(s) from our judgments and blessing them as often as needed.

Confessing negative beliefs and expectations and renouncing inner vows

Because God is good and He is light, His truth is always positive. Therefore, anything we believe that is negative is a lie. As God shows us each lie (i.e. negative belief) that we have embraced about ourselves, we must also ask ourselves this question: what decision did I make to protect myself from this negative belief? Those decisions, often called inner vows, are ways that we try to keep ourselves from being hurt by the lies we believe. For example, I believe that if I let someone know me, they will find out that I am damaged goods, therefore, I will never let anybody know me or see the real me. However, this decision backfires because it keeps us from having what we need the most: unconditional love and true intimacy.

We confess and repent for believing the lie, and we choose to renounce and let go of the decisions we made to protect ourselves. We accept God’s truth and we allow the Holy Spirit to help us have a new purpose in life.

These are just a few of the tools of inner healing that can bring us to a place of self-acceptance and awareness of who we truly are in Christ. As we walk in the reality of our God-given identity, shame will no longer have a hold on us.


Shame: Part Three

Shame: Part Three

Note: This is the third in a series of articles about shame.

How do we deal with shame?

woman hands shameWe have looked at what shame is, its source and some of the ways that we can recognize when we are dealing with shame.

Now let’s look at some of the ways we choose to deal with shame and what follows as a result of those choices.

Shame is essentially a deep-seated negative belief of our unworthiness: it is like a railroad track that our lives run on and that determines the course of our lives. As a result of that belief, we make inner vows, that is, unconscious and deeply hidden decisions that we have made as children that are intended to defend or protect us from the consequences of that belief. Inner vows usually involve statements such as “I will always” or “I will never” and are powerful, commanding us to think, act and feel as they instruct and actually keeping us bound in shame.

Each of the following reactions to shame is a defense mechanism or a means of controlling our life and dealing with our need for significance and worth:


The primary way that we often deal with shame is to hide. We fear that if others—even those closest to us—find out who we really are we will be rejected.

This deep sense of unworthiness may cause us to wrap ourselves in layer after layer of false identities in an effort to mask what is underneath. Our mask may take the form of excessive pride, where we are constantly boasting about the things that we have done, or of false humility, where we cannot even receive a compliment.

The Online Etymology Dictionary indicates that one original meaning of the word shame may be “to ‘cover’ (covering oneself being a common expression of shame).”[1] In Genesis we see that Adam and Eve’s first response to the awareness of their nakedness was to cover themselves (Genesis 3:6-7). Like them, we try to hide ourselves from others—and sometimes even from God—but there is an emotional toll to these efforts.

Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church says, “Wearing a mask wears you out. Faking it is fatiguing. The most exhausting activity is pretending to be what you know you aren’t.”[2]


Feelings of worthlessness may cause us to remove ourselves from social settings. As a child, we may become extremely or painfully shy and avoid being seen, willing ourselves to be invisible. However, in adulthood we find that this decision may backfire on us in social, business or church settings where we may want to, and indeed may need to, be seen.


Our shame may originate from feelings of being excluded. We, in turn, may make an unconscious decision to exclude others before they exclude us. In new or threatening situations, we may find ourselves pushing back and refusing to allow some who would be in relationship with us to get close to us. Our fear of rejection causes us to reject first. Rather than leading us to healthy interactions of inclusion and acceptance, we end up feeling alone and abandoned.


When we are dealing with shame, we are our own greatest critic—the voice in our own head. We constantly blame and berate ourselves for real or perceived mistakes, and we are often quick to let others know how flawed we are. Compliments are hard to receive graciously, but rather are rebuffed with self-deprecating comments. Our inability to receive honor simply deepens our feelings of illegitimacy.


If we were raised in a shame-based family, we may not have been allowed to make mistakes. We may have been punished for not doing things just right or making even the smallest mistake despite the fact that we were never helped or taught how to do things. Punishment included ridicule, isolation and possibly physical or emotional abuse.

Therefore, we want to avoid mistakes at all cost. As a result, we strive to be perfect in everything we do in order to avoid embarrassment. We become performance-oriented and find ourselves in a constant cycle of striving, failing, then striving some more. Real rest eludes us.

Lack of boundaries

Shame may cause us to let ourselves be controlled by others. If we consider ourselves not good enough or worthless, then by default everyone else is of more value than we are. Saying no to others becomes a difficult task because we can never put our own needs and desires above the demands of those around us. The result, however, is not peace with others, but deep resentment and anger.

Next time, we will examine how we can be healed from shame.


Shame: Part Two

Shame: Part Two

Note: This is the second in a series of articles about shame.

What is shame?

empty desertThe dictionary defines shame as “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.”

There is a true and legitimate shame, or feeling of genuine guilt that should be the result of our own wrongdoing, the remedy for which is the cross. Genuine guilt says, “I MADE a mistake.”

However, the kind of shame that we will be talking about here is not a consequence of sin. Rather it is a keen awareness that we will be seen at our core and deemed valueless. It says, “I AM a mistake.” It is the lie we believe about who we are, therefore, the only remedy for this kind of shame is God’s truth.

Shame is a kind of identity theft, an assault by Satan, the father of lies, who accuses us day and night of our worthlessness and servitude. We are like a house that is under siege, completely surrounded by the enemy
so that the person inside is starving. This starvation keeps us from fully entering into our destiny. As Elijah House Ministries teaches, “God wants to help us find identity and destiny. Once we find identity, destiny follows. If we try to do it the other way around, we are acting as if what we do is who we are.”[1]

Shame is being in the one-down position; we find ourselves reacting like a tiny child faced by an adult giant, never able to rise to a position of equal footing with others, always feeling beneath and not above. It is a deep feeling that it is not okay to be oneself. This is due to the certainty that if others knew us as we truly are, we could never be loved. Some have described shame like an acid eating away at us that causes anyone who gets near us to get burned. It can also be like a dark cloak that gets put on us.

Shame is the very opposite of true sonship. We do not see ourselves as sons and daughters of the King, co-heirs with Christ. We see ourselves as orphans, fearing a punishing and wrathful God, rather than welcoming the discipline of a loving Father.

What is the source of shame?

Shame may be the result of trauma that we experience in childhood, which may be as mild as being ridiculed at home or in school, or as serious as being physically, sexually or emotionally abused. Unless dealt with early on, the messages that we receive through these woundings leave a deep imprint on our spirits that tell us we are inherently defective.

Shame may be a result of a person’s birth circumstances, especially if a child was unwanted for various reasons, such as gender, lack of finances, bad timing, being born out of wedlock, etc. Rejection at conception, during the womb experience or at birth, even if the child is later accepted and loved, can still leave a deep stamp of illegitimacy on the spirit.

Very often shame is handed down through a shame-based family system. There may be some in previous generations who have suffered physical, sexual, or emotional (i.e. verbal) abuse either from within or without the home and have never known what it is like to be unconditionally loved. Family legacies may also include: rigid religion systems and legalism, where rules without relationship were used to keep children in line; loss of home, wealth, or position of influence; or even actual bondage or slavery. Generations of a family may have been indoctrinated with the lie that they are not as good as other families.

Shame may also be cultural. Traumatic historical events such as slavery, losses of territory or position among other nations, may affect whole ethnic groups, leaving a negative mark on the people.

Children born into shame-based families or cultures are handicapped with shame at conception. It is as if they come into the world carrying a receptacle of shame, like a shopping bag, that gets filled up with all of life’s hurts. No matter how much they empty the bag, it still remains with the person until the shame itself, that is, the identity lie, is removed with God’s truth.

How can we know if shame is our problem?

In my book Leaving Home—Finding Home, I described my own experience of discovering that shame was my problem:

“I had become increasingly aware of the uncomfortable physical reactions (flushed face, queasy stomach) that I was having whenever I made a mistake or did anything that I thought might lead to any type of reprimand. I could see clearly that I was a 50-year-old woman having the reaction of a 5-year-old to anyone whom I thought could point a finger at me and say I had done something wrong!

Another facet of shame in my life was the constant worrying about what people thought of me…[there was] an ever present, underlying, and unspoken fear of not being good enough.

It was as if all my life I had been living in a slum that I would leave from time to time to go to the nice clean neighborhood down the block—at first for short times, then for longer and longer periods of time—but inevitably I would end up at some point back in this dump. The sight of it would make me sick but I did not know how to leave it completely behind.

Feeling “less than,” “not good enough,” and like a “second-class citizen” was the theme of my life…[3]

The symptoms of shame may vary from person to person, and in degree may be manifested in some of these ways:

  • A deep sense of embarrassment after making a mistake, no matter how small, leading to self-condemnation
  • Constant worrying about what others think of us, leading to perfectionism
  • A compelling need to please others, leading to an inability to say no
  • A fear of sharing our deepest thoughts and feelings even with those closest to us, leading to isolation
  • A sense of insecurity that we seek to cover up, leading to either excessive pride or false humility
  • Actual physical symptoms that occur each time we make a mistake or feel embarrassed: blushing, queasy stomach, or any other unpleasant sensation

If these or other symptoms are present in your life, you may be dealing with shame.

Next time, we will examine the various ways that we cope with shame.


[1] Course 202 Official Workbook, Copyright© 1989,1997 Revised 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010,2011,2012 Elijah House Inc., , p. 200
[3] Leaving Home—Finding Home ©, by Jessie Mejias, 2010, pp. 42; 48-49


Shame: Part One

Shame: Part One

Note: This is the first in a series of articles about shame

girl alone shameIn 2010 I published my book Leaving Home—Finding Home, which detailed my healing from shame.

In the book, I explain how I first began to see the affects of this toxic emotion on my life through a group dynamics class. During the class, we were asked to picture how we saw ourselves. I had never consciously done that before. This is how I described myself in a journal entry on December 11, 1999:

Hawking Unwanted Goods

I see myself at a table or a counter in a store or a bakery, and I have all these wonderful goods in the display case. I am standing behind the counter, holding out the goods. I’m smiling but the people that do come into the store can’t see that I’m smiling. They are not looking at me. The only thing they see are the goods I’m offering. Some of them see the goods and want to buy them—others don’t want the goods.

Most people don’t even want to come into the store. The store is not really successful even though the goods are top quality. Maybe the glass is not clear enough or the sign outside doesn’t do a good job of advertising, or maybe the goods I’m offering—my years of knowledge, my experience, my goodwill—are valued by very few people. Why is it so important that I sell my goods? Do the people really need them? What would be a better store for me to have? Should I have a store at all?

Lord, please help me to see what it is I think I’m offering to the world that the world doesn’t want. Show me what it is that I can offer that is truly valuable and that people will want.

But more than that, help me to see that my value does not lie in what I can offer to people but rather in my relationship with you.

Lord, please show me how you see me so that I can stop hawking goods that no one wants. (pp. 46-47)

I hadn’t put a name on it yet, but I was later to learn that what I was describing was a deep sense of shame.

Since then I have come to know that shame hinders us from being who God has created us to be and from doing what God has called us to do.

Since then I have come to understand that shame is one of the greatest weapons the enemy uses to keep us from knowing and fulfilling our destinies.

Since then I have come across countless people who suffer from this debilitating emotion without understanding its nature or its origin.

Since then it has been my privilege to cooperate with the Lord to come against strongholds of shame in the lives of His children.

It is the Lord’s desire that His people be set free from anything and everything that hinders them from being overcomers. That is why He wants all of us to have the keys to removing shame from our lives. In order to do so we must be able to identify it and learn how to use His righteous weapons to defeat it.

In the next few articles I will seek to answer the following questions:

  • What is shame?
  • How can we identify shame in our lives?
  • How have we dealt with shame?
  • How can we be healed from shame?

My prayer is that you will be equipped to use these keys to unlock the doors behind which you may be hiding and come out into the sunlight of God’s love and acceptance.