Two very influential leaders in the body of Christ came to IHOP-KC a few weeks ago, fueling our Student Awakening meetings and fueling the hearts of the body here. I was real excited to hear them teach us about Holy Spirit but awoke the first morning with a RAGING headache, pounding pressure in my sinuses….. and went back to sleep. Later I turned on the webstream and listened to John Arnott teach as I prepared for my day.
While doing my hair in the bathroom he came to the ministry time of the service, and as he welcomed the presence of the Lord to come and touch hearts in the room I felt a tangible weight come into MY room and wash over me, sweeping through my soul and senses and completely overtaking me. As John continued the presence grew and I slowly sank to the floor until I was lying down on the rug soaking up the wave after wave washing over me.
*pause* insert history.
I’m going to get very personal for the glory of the Lord, not the bearing of my soul in an unhealthy manner. There was a time in my early childhood that I do not remember seeing my father, this time may have not lasted for more than a few months, but it was long enough to mark me. He would leave for work before I woke, coming home after I fell asleep. I have been a light sleeper all of my life, and in the early hours of the morning I would wake as my daddy woke. Grabbing my blanket and doll I would climb out of bed and go to the bathroom where he was showering.
In my mind, the only way I would be able to see my father is if I could stay awake long enough for him to get out of the shower, and then I could spend time with him. But the room was warm and the day early, and no matter how hard I fought it each attempt would end with me sleeping on the bathroom rug. Hours later my mom would find me there and I would wake to her tears at my pain and desire to see my father. My little heart would be so angry that I couldn’t just stay awake.
I’ve never slept well. There are things that happen in the heart of a child that mark them forever, and nothing that man can do will remove those marks. Truthfully until two weeks ago I had never connected my years of inability to sleep to the pain related to a missing father.
But that morning, as I lay on the floor FEELING, the intensity of the Presence in the room and the joy in my heart as I was enveloped in it, deep inside I heard a voice say “I never leave you”. In that moment I saw 5 yr old me on the bathroom floor, remembering the longing in my heart for my Father, the fight within me to say awake, the pain each morning with my mothers tears, and was overcome by my childhood emotions; loneliness, longing, and failure. Again I heard the Lord say to that little girl heart “I never leave you” and stronger than the depth of pain inside of me I could FEEL, truly feel the limitless love of God for my little heart and I wept on the bathroom floor as John Arnott ministered to hundreds at the altar in the FSM auditorium.
This lasted for quite a while, tears soaking the rug as the presence of the Lord came over me, wave after wave after wave. At some point I got up, washed my face and went to work. Truly the day was awful, the pressure in my head was TEN times worse after crying, and I went about the day in fear that all could see the heart so exposed by the Lord in the morning.
By the end of the day I was raw, brain frozen, and the headache was threatening to turn into a migraine, the first in two months. As the evening service began I sat upstairs working in the editing suites as the editors worked hard on projects for Onething, but my mind was threatening to shut down.
Making a comment about leaving for medicine, one of the guys turned around, asking if I’d been having migraines. (I was prayed for at a department meeting and had gone for TWO WHOLE MONTHS without a SINGLE migraine!) I told him no, but that I was still waking with a headache each morning, then surprised myself by going further and telling them that waking came with pain, frustration and anger – never joy or peace, and that this had gone on for a long, long time. AND went on to tell them that my sinuses were beating me on the inside causing me to hardly breathe or think, thus my need for medicine.
With furrowed brow he asked “Well can we pray for you?”. It had been a long day. My emotions were sapped, patience gone, and I was tired. My response of “sure, if you want to” was birthed out of these emotions, but he quickly tho gently replied “Oh, so you don’t think you will be healed if we pray for you then?”
An arrow shot over the walls around my soul, and under the door i keep locked tightly sticking deep into my heart with a “twump!”. No really, it hit hard and hurt, leaving my heart crying out “NO! I WANT to still believe Lord!” Keeping tears inside I threw out my hands and said “oh guys please pray for me right now!”
And they did 🙂 Simple heartfelt prayers for my healing, asking the Lord to restore my frame completely and to give me deep sleep. “No more headaches God, and let Christina wake up each morning with joy.” There was no dramatic rush of air through my body, the pressure did not break and instantly lift off of me, but the headache eased a little bit, and my heart was tender as they finished. I went into the meeting, waiting to see if the Lord would touch me but left a short time later to get medicine.
Sitting in the parking lot upon my return, I lay my head on the steering wheel whispering a plea for immediate healing, for sleep. And for no more headaches though I had no hope, no imagination of mornings without pounding pain ushering me into consciousness. And right there in the cold car it happened again. The intensity of memories can steal my breath at times and this was one of those moments. Just like that morning I saw myself, tiny little 5-year-old me lying on the floor of the bathroom with warm moist air lulling me to sleep as I fought to keep my eyes open, desperate just to be with my father and know that he loved me. That was when I realized the “sleep thing” was a “dad thing”. I’m surprised at how tears can come when we think there is no place left inside for them to hide. But there is no shame in tears before our Father, and again I heard Him say to my pained little heart “Christina I never leave you” and I sat in the car as the love that knows no bounds soothed my weary soul, knowing that He was restoring and will restore my heart and soul. The meds kicked in, I went inside, the meeting was good, I went home, ate food, and went to bed later than I should have, as usual.
Something slowly woke me, my bed was moving? But with a pattern. Oh my phone? No my alarm on my phone but I could hardly stir myself to find it and turn it off. Sitting in bed shaking my head to try to bring clarity to what was happening, light spilling through lace curtains, eyes trying to ward it off. Light? Oh my alarm, it’s morning. I had slept. REAL hard. All night long. Wait, Jessica Kenny & Jesse prayed for me that I would sleep. And? For no headache when I woke up. Wait does my head hurt?
Oh yeah, I’m a cryer. Head in my hands, tears trickling through. Last night I SLEPT, and I have no headache.
This has gone on for weeks. Each morning waking to a heart that is full of rest, joy flowing through my being as I realize another day has begun, and I am not in pain. They have prayed for me a number of times since, asking the Lord to seal it, and thanking Him for freedom. The fun thing is that I never told them about my dad and hating sleep. They just care about me and wanted me to rest.
It’s strange living in a season of outpouring. Walking through our days with a strange awareness of our souls and the presence of the Lord near to our souls, showing us the broken places, and bringing to us His love. Each day is different, sometimes in painful ways but it is all bringing us to wholeness, and I’m FIGHTING with so much inside to take every single bit that would be given to me. And each morning, I awake with joy. And no pain. And thank my Father for never leaving me, and for His love that never ends.