an introduction to the immanuel process

A friend of mine once told me that she was envious of my ability to “self-heal”.  

But what she didn’t realize at the time was that I don’t heal myself… I only allow the Lord to come and do the work in me.

When I say things like that to people, sometimes I get a polite nod and an “isn’t that nice” type of response. Other times I am met with a totally blank stare. 

I realize that this concept of “allowing the Lord to heal me” is very vague and mysterious for someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves.

Sure, there are some circles (SOZO & other inner healing ministries) who know what I’m talking about… but to be honest, most of my “friends” aren’t in those circles! 

So, today I want to give you an example. A peek into one of those times that I let the Lord do some work in me. After reading this next section (which will come straight out of my prayer journal), I will then explain a little bit about what was going on and give you some links for learning more! And in case you're wondering- yes, this post will be a bit longer than normal!

*First some background on what was going on in my life at the time: I had just discovered that my uncle, (I’m giving him a fake name of Peter in this blog entry) who had abused me as a child, was on Facebook because his picture showed up in one of those “friends recommended for you” based on common friends notifications. I was thrown into a fit of disgust, despair and panic and found myself on the bathroom floor sick over the thought of him possibly seeing my daughter’s picture on Facebook somehow. The next morning I went to the Lord with my pain.

“Be with me Jesus, I am ready to go wherever you want to take me. Remind me of your love Lord-
I’m remembering when I was driving home from Bradenton watching the sunset- singing praises as loud as I could. Feeling so close to you God- feeling alive- my entire body lifted up and so aware of your presence in the car with me. I felt your love and your joy and your pride and overwhelming acceptance. All of this was felt at my core- I could feel you smiling- I was warmed and touched by the sunset- watching pink spread across the sky like a blanket- each breath I took seemed to extend the reaches of color even further across the sky. As I sang- you painted- and we created joy together.

In my mind, remembering this time, I need to ask you…. “Jesus, where are you now as I am faced with seeing Peter again?
Distractions… frustration… nothing!!!
(Decided to call my Dad to help me connect with Jesus again- I told him briefly about how I was stuck and not able to hear from Jesus about his situation)
I go back to the image in my mind of the car and thinking about the sunset and singing and joy together with Jesus.
I ask Jesus… “What’s up with this panicky feeling?”
Everything feels really dizzy….. the room is spinning ….
My Dad reminds me to stay focused on Jesus.
Everything is spinning but me and Jesus. Like in the mad tea cups at Disney world… in my head everything is crazy… but there’s Jesus. Standing still, in the middle of it all with me.
Now, instead of feeling panicky and afraid, I still see Jesus and I have peace.
Now it’s like a ride at the fair- part scary- part fun- exciting.
What does Jesus want to show me about all this spinning?
He takes my hands and spins me around like a child. We laugh together.
All the spinning in my head comes to a complete stop.
What now Jesus?
He still has my hand in his- and now we are in a very dark hallway.
But I’m not afraid. (Normally I would panic at this point, afraid of where he’s taking me)
But I’m not afraid. We’re just in a dark hallway… and suddenly I have a rush of overwhelming compassion for Peter come over me.
It’s like I’m here- at peace with my Jesus- but I know Peter is alone in the dark somewhere.
I ask Jesus, “Why aren’t I scared?”
And I notice that I know the door is right behind me. Behind the door is light- its outside- its fresh air and bright sunshine.
I ask, “Jesus, what do you want me to know about this door?
I have a choice. I can stay in the dark and let fear creep back over me OR I can go through the door and shut Peter alone inside OR I can go through and leave it cracked open so he can find the light OR I can go through and burst it open- letting the light flood in over him.
There’s no right or wrong here. It’s my choice.
I choose to leave it cracked open for him. It feels like me to do that. Part of me wonders if it would be more holy to leave it wide open though.
Jesus reminds me that when you’re in the dark- a large quantity of light thrown at you hurts… it’s gentler to do the “cracked door of light”.
Jesus is okay with my choice.
So Lord- what does this mean literally?
Peter has seen me- but I am not a victim- I have Jesus’ light in me- and it’s okay to let him see that.
The disgust I was feeling is gone- I don’t have to go charging at him- I can trust that God has a plan and take comfort in focusing on Jesus- not Peter.
I am safe."

What you just read is an example of what is called the “Immanuel Process”. This is a healing prayer format that is led by the spirit… not by man. It begins from a place of appreciation … in a “memory” of a good connection with the Lord. This is different from other inner healing methods because it begins in a place of safety instead of jumping headfirst into a trauma memory.
Sharing a time of peace and joy with “God with us” (Immanuel) essentially warms up our brain so that it is more open and receptive to hearing from God or dealing with pain. 

Because I had done this before, I was comfortable doing it right in my living room with just me and Immanuel. But I hit a wall. The issue I was dealing with was a big one and I needed someone else to come along side me as well to help me increase my capacity. That’s why I called my Dad. My Dad didn’t do much talking at all… he was simply glad to be with me and his presence  and familiarity with the situation and with the Immanuel process I was in gave me the strength I needed to overcome my fears. 

As you see, after hitting the wall… I had to go back to the joyful memory before pressing on further into the painful place. This is another key element of the Immanuel process that makes it feel much safer. 

Then you’ll notice that I still had a wall of sorts to get through… in the Immanuel process, whenever you notice something…whether it’s a feeling or a picture or a word… you simply ask Jesus what he wants you to know about it. As you can see from this example, he is quite capable of using the walls we hit to move us beyond them without our even realizing it!

Over the course of an Immanuel Process, the key element is that God is with me. Even though God is technically always with me… discovering where He is and recognizing that He is there is when I am able to experience His peace and healing happens. 

Before I knew (experienced) God was with me, I felt disgusting and panicky and I wanted to run away and hide forever. But then Immanuel showed me that He was with me and that I had a choice about what to do with my pain. When I made my choice and started to question if my choice was the right one, he came alongside me again and encouraged me. Knowing that I had a choice and that my choice was pleasing to Him removed the panic and the disgust that I felt before.

If you’d like to know more about how to experience Immanuel Healing for yourself… check out this free brochure with instructions from Life Model Works.  Or purchase this booklet with even more information: Share Immanuel
You can also learn more at Karl Lehman’s website. (He’s the Christian psychiatrist who developed this process.)
If you’d like someone to be your helper in learning to experience this process, I can help you with that! I am currently in the process of becoming a certified Life and Recovery Coach and plan to offer help with Immanuel process prayer as one of my services. I’m currently looking for some “practice clients” so email me if you’re interested!


we dance...

Check out this incredible new song from Bethel Music.


mercy and justice leave the comfort zone

When I read the Word, sometimes I see 2 very different Gods. But because I am a Christian, I often gloss over the side of God that I don’t like. 

Yep, you heard me- I admitted it- “a part of God I don’t like”

If you’re honest with yourself, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. 

You’ve come across those verses in the Old Testament where God is harsh and cruel and unrelenting in his anger. You've skimmed over them, or speed read through them as quickly as possible. You might have even flipped your Bible to a safer New Testament spot just to make you feel better.

I mean, really, that CAN’T be the same God that is all loving and wants to be our friend. 
Logically we conclude, “Well, that was God, not Jesus!”  Jesus is my friend. :)

And we start singing kumbaya. ♪♫

In the meantime the God of the Old Testament remains in the back of our mind as the authoritarian Father figure that none of us really wants to have a relationship with, let alone to mimic.

As a proud Jesus follower I've found it much easier to stick within my comfort zone picture of God and just focus on His love and grace all the time, rather than take a long hard look at “that” side of God that made me squirm.

But as I approached Easter this year, a strange question began to rear up within me that made me really uncomfortable.

(and if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that change happens OUTSIDE of your comfort zone!)


So here it is… fully uncomfortable:

“What kind of God requires a blood sacrifice for sin anyway?”

Normally, us proper Christians look at this monumental moment in our faiths history as the ultimate example of love and sacrifice. We ache for the result of all our sins cast upon the innocent shoulders of a perfect son of God. We sing songs to thank Him for rescuing us, washing us clean, and making us white as snow. Deep inside we’re breathing a sigh of relief as our punishment takes the form of stripes on His back.

(whew… boy am I glad I didn’t have to pay for my own sins!)

But truth be told, God didn’t just send his son to die for us. God required blood as payment in the 1st place. 

Am I the only one to question this? 
Am I the only one willing to admit that sometimes- I don’t think He’s very nice. 

When I have thoughts like this, the best thing I know how to do, is take it straight to Him.

(Did you know, it’s not only possible, but actually a sign of maturity, to still be glad to be with someone that you’re upset with or in a disagreement with?!)

Asking God “why?” seems to be the trigger word for the Holy Spirit to show up quickly and show me where I might be wrong. This time was no different.  

When I sat down to ask Him why He needed such a sacrifice, the 1st thing I had to do was admit that I’m not fit to be the judge of Him. My “why” showed up in a judges robe, with a gavel ready to pound in judgment against God. 

Right after realizing that, and admitting it, He was quick to show me a new perspective. (by the way, that’s called repentance)

In a flash, He showed me centuries and centuries of victims crying out. Abused children, raped women, pillaged towns, murdered sons, atrocities piled on top of atrocities. It went on and on until I couldn’t bear to look anymore. 

And then I saw a Father- whose children were hurt and bleeding and crying out for justice.
I empathized with this Father deeply- if one of my children was hurt like these millions had been hurt- I’d be the 1st one to call for the death penalty. I wouldn’t even think twice about it. 

Maybe, just maybe, blood is the penalty- the justice- that all the victim children demand even from their graves.
This doesn’t make God a “mean, harsh and cruel God”.
This makes Him- perfectly understandable.

Easter- the cross- is just as much a story about justice as it is about love and mercy.

I think about those that hurt me when I was a child. And I see a Father up in heaven poised to get revenge for my sake. I feel a sense of relief- and finality in this moment that I’ve never fully realized in the past along my healing journey. 

This protective Father God satisfies a war cry deep within me that I wasn’t conscious of before exploring this God of the Old Testament that the prim and proper Christian girl didn’t really like much before.

And then Jesus is there- carrying that cross. Beaten, bloodied, bruised, and taking the brunt of all that revenge. A combination of nausea and relief almost knocks me down. 

This time I recognize my own sin putting Him on that cross. 

This time I’m not the victim demanding justice- now I’m the accused- guilty- and all my failures are exposed before God.
I am deserving of this “justice” that I cried out for in a different breath.

Then my Father is there. My loving Father who wants nothing more than to end all this suffering.  He comes up with a way to satisfy His love for his children- both the victims and the guilty- all in one fell swoop.

The cross (justice)

His son (mercy)

Mercy and Justice come together.

The entire story from start to finish is a God who loves. God and His son- are BOTH expressions of love that overwhelm me. 

I have a new understanding now of the One True God, not 2 distinctly different Gods- not a God who changed over time- but the one true God who loves- with a stronger love than I can ever comprehend.

A God I can love in return wholeheartedly- without ever needing to gloss over the parts I haven’t yet learned to understand.


its okay to be weak

I was invited to be a "guest author" over at I Woke Up Yesterday! Check out my latest post over there!

"His grace is my waterfall!
His grace puts on a marvelous display of beauty when it encounters my weaknesses.
He fills my gaps with His love in so many ways."



valued celebration

Late last year I wrote a blog post called “The Point”, and in that post I was coming to the realization that I needed a goal. Ever since then, I have been reaching towards a goal of healthier eating and physical activity. I’ve been the tortoise in this scenario, rather than the rabbit, but I am still moving forward towards that goal.
At the same time, I’ve been participating in a course that my friend Michelle Howe (howeawesome.com) is running that goes along with her book titled “It is Finished”. In this course, she challenges us to begin training for a race of some sort that has a “finish line” for us to cross. She asked us to assign a “word” to our race early on in the course and to keep it in mind as we train and prepare to cross that finish line.
It took me awhile to realize what my “word” was going to be, but the Lord kept showing me over and over that my finish line word was “Valued”. I am valued. I am worth A LOT to Him! As I train, and walk towards my goals of healthy living, He is cheering me on because I am finally beginning to recognize my own value! Taking the time to eat healthy and exercise not because I’m disgusted with myself but because I’m WORTH the effort is a major mind shift and it’s exciting for Him to see me here.  I am leaving behind my insecurity, and the nagging belief system that whispered in my head “you’re not good enough” for most of my life. And when I cross my “finish line” I will be able to CELEBRATE!!!
Celebration is also a “new” thing for me too. Understanding that I am valued gives me permission to celebrate my accomplishments!
In the past, I have felt good about things, but my external ability to actually celebrate them was always subdued and held back. I think part of that is because I was never giving myself permission to believe that I was worthy of celebration.  
One memory stands out to me as a good example of this. When I was 14 or so, I was living at a place called Dunklin Memorial Camp out in the middle of nowhere in Okeechobee, FL. My parents were in training to work with addicts there. While it wasn’t always the best place for a 14 year old girl to live, I actually loved it. For the first time in my life I could actually be around HORSES! I LOVED horses! Dunklin had horses and I would walk to the barn every day and just hang out with the horses. I would whistle and they would run to see me. I would take care of them, lay in the fields with them, and I learned to ride them too. The leader of Dunklin, Mickey Evans, recognized that I loved horses and went out of his way to get me my own horse! I was beyond excited and inside I was jumping and squealing in delight.  But when I got my horse… I stayed calm, and cool, and barely said thank-you.
This was one of those times when someone in my life valued me and gave me a gift that I couldn’t celebrate because I didn’t recognize my own value. I didn’t feel worthy of the gift, and therefore I couldn’t celebrate the gift when I received it.
I think I even approached Jesus that way over the years as well.
I received His gift. But for years I didn’t recognize my own value and didn’t feel worthy of the gift… and therefore I couldn’t celebrate the gift when I received it.
The same is true of things I accomplished over the years. When others would be proud of me, I would smile and be polite, but I didn’t celebrate.  Not recognizing my own value had prevented me from a lifetime of joyful celebrations!
You know what? I’m ready to celebrate!
I am ready to celebrate gifts that are given to me, and I’m ready to celebrate accomplishments I make. I am starting to realize that my accomplishments ARE gifts! They are gifts to myself!! My accomplishments are gifts to myself because I am WORTH IT!

So, who wants to celebrate with me?!
I am planning a big “Finish Line Hike” for Mother’s Day weekend. My friend Michelle and my friend Jessica have both agreed to join me on this momentous occasion to walk with me and share in the journey. This hike will traverse across almost 14 miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Tanawha Trail. We will climb 3487 feet and descend 2736 feet within those 14 miles. We will go through tranquil pastures, tunnel through thickets of laurel and rhododendron, dip down into remote hardwood coves, ascend across boulder fields, and hop across cascading streams.
My “Finish Line” will be at the top of Beacon Heights right before sunset where we will celebrate our journey with friends and family.
(This hike will take us at least 10 hours!!  Technically, we are doing the trail “backwards” by going from the lowest point to the high point, but I wanted my finish line to have the big view rather than end at the low point. Since most people hike it going “down” in 7 hours, I’m thinking it will take a little longer to hike it “up”.)
If you can come to hike a section with me…. Or even just cheer me on along the way at a few points where the trail comes close to the Blue Ridge Parkway…. Or to celebrate with me at the finish line I’d love it!
I will have an actual “schedule” posted on my Facebook as we get closer, but it will be on Saturday May 10th.
UPDATE: Here is a Tentative Schedule. We might need to start really early depending on the weather report! 

Finish Line Hike Tentative Schedule “A”

8am: Tanawha Trail Entrance @ Price Lake (park near Amphitheater)
11:40-12:00 Lunch – Boone Fork Parking Area mm 300- walk up about 600 feet to the Boone Fork River to meet us for lunch!
2:30 *Rough Ridge Parking Area on our way up to Rough Ridge (mm 302.8)
4:30-4:45 Linn Cove Visitor Center MM 304.4 (potty break!)
6:30 @ Beacon Heights FINISH LINE (mm 305.2) (Take trail from parking area… always fork “right”. Wait for us on the flat rocks! This section of the trail is only about .35 miles)

* means we will be on the trail near there. If you want to meet us or cheer us on, you may need to hike from the parking area to the Tanawha Trail connection. (less than 300 feet)

Optional Timing:

Finish Line Hike Tentative Schedule “B”
6:30 am: Tanawha Trail Entrance @ Price Lake (park near Amphitheater)
10:15-10:30 Boone Fork Parking Area mm 300- walk up about 600 feet to the Boone Fork River to meet us for a snack break!
1:00 *Rough Ridge Parking Area on our way up to Rough Ridge (mm 302.8) (Johnny will bring us lunch to bring to the top)
3:15-3:30 Linn Cove Visitor Center MM 304.4 (potty break!)
5:00 @ Beacon Heights FINISH LINE (mm 305.2) (Take trail from parking area… always fork “right”. Wait for us on the flat rocks! This section of the trail is only about .35 miles)

See you on the Tanawha!