When I first got here to The Father’s House one thing that stood out to me was how everyone loved each other so well. I had grown up in churches and was used to seeing people connected on Sundays, but what I saw at Father’s House, were people who lived life together and who were all a part of the church; that was a foreign concept to me. In my head when church was done, you wouldn’t talk to those people again until next Sunday or maybe sporadically throughout the week, but never on a daily basis.
This concept of doing life with people who genuinely loved Jesus and wanted to grow more intimately with him while following the Scriptures was definitely something i thought didn’t exist until I came here.
For me I am an extrovert and I was very good at being loud and the center of attention while I would mask myself and what was really going on inside of me so others could presume I was amazing, all the while on the inside I was feeling really lonely and sad at what my life looked like. I didn’t mind keeping people at a distance and letting them think things were okay, because for me that kept me safe. I had learned how to self-protect. Due to my past I had been hurt terribly by friends and men who had not only verbally abused me but also physically abused me, so having people at a distance in my eyes was the best and only option.
All this changed for me when I decided to do accountability with a leader within The Father’s House Church. I looked at my life and saw others walking with such joy and freedom and I wanted that. However, I knew that if that was what I wanted, I would need to change. So that's when I approached Danielle Devine and asked her for her help. As a 33 year old (then), I was raised and grew up to be independent and to figure things out on my own, so to ask someone for help when it came to my own life was far outside of my comfort zone. I knew I needed to do the exact opposite to what I had always done in order to see a change. I needed to be vulnerable and connect with someone and allow trust to come in.
I would have things like self-hate and thoughts of worthlessness come up and my first instinct would be to "run away" and “hide”. I would want to separate myself and not let anyone see the struggles I was having. Instead, I confided in Danielle and let her into my struggles and allowed her to speak truth into me. I chose connection!
I’d look at the Bible and saw that there were examples of connection everywhere. For instance, God created Adam and then Eve purposefully, so that Adam would not be alone but connected with another human (Gen. 2). I saw another example in the life of Jesus, how He had twelve disciples with Him along the journey of His life to fulfill His father's plan. Jesus could have chosen to do that journey on His own, but instead He decided to bring people along with Him. In Romans 12, Paul talks about being the body of Christ and what that looks like and in John 15, John talks about being a part of the vine as we are the branches. Throughout the whole Bible people are connected to one another, so it is clear that we are meant to be together, not separate.
Growing up in the world we have to fight our natural human instinct to disconnect with one another. I fight this on a daily basis, and it’s not the easiest battle, but I find myself rising to the challenge and each day it gets easier to do so. How does it get easier you ask, because I’m becoming more like Jesus! I’m trusting Him more on a daily basis when it comes to the path He has put in front of me and the people with whom He has surrounded me with. Those very people are going to keep their eyes focused on Him and push me in the right direction, so that my eyes can stay focused on Him.