By Rae Lynn DeAngelis
I remember before I ever started this ministry, while I was still trying to work up the courage to step into the unknown territory of helping women find freedom, I was invited to a secular based eating disorder support group to share my story of recovery. (I thought this would be good practice if I did decide to take the leap of faith and start a group of my own.)
The woman who led the group was Christian, but most of the participants were not. Of course, I cannot share my story of recovery without talking about God since it was Jesus who set me free through the truth of His Word.
As I poured my heart out to these women with fear and trepidation, I was met with blank stares. My heart sank. I walked away from that experience feeling defeated. How was I supposed to start a support/healing group ministry if I couldn’t even have an impact on an already established group?
The woman who led the group must have sensed my discouragement because she called me the following day. I will never forget what she told me. She said, “Rae Lynn, all you can do is hold up the light. It’s God’s job to make them see it.”
I took her words to heart and have uttered similar encouragement to leaders who now help carry the torch to the women coming through Eyes Wide Open. Whenever a leader becomes discouraged because she isn’t seeing the growth she’d hoped to see in her group, I gently remind her that women are a lot like flowers. They bloom at different rates. Our job as leaders is to plant seeds and water them; it’s God’s job to make them grow.
Some flowers pop up through the ground quickly and even begin bearing fruit shortly after. Others need more time so they can develop deep roots so that when they do begin grow above ground, they can draw water from the nutrient rich soil during times of drought. I tell them that if they are not seeing growth, it could be that growth is taking place beneath the surface where they cannot see. Because this ministry is built upon biblical truth, we can be confident in God promises. His Word will never go void.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:9-11).
For those who are carrying the torch, leading groups, loving on women, praying for their healing, encouraging them with truth, know that this ministry is eternally grateful for all you do.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-6).
Today’s post is dedicated to the many beautiful women who have experienced freedom themselves and have now decided to step up, pay it forward, and shine the light of Jesus so others can find freedom too. Thank you for all you do, Freedom Fighters; you are a vital part of this ministry!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on [you],
because the Lord has anointed [you]
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent [you] to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:1-3). [Emphasis mine]