Kitchen Table After Nap Time (Jesus Heals Mother Wounds)
One of my trauma memories was transformed into a gratitude/appreciation story during the Immanuel Approach Conference in January. Jesus not only changed me, but also gave me insight into my mother's flaws (which were at the root of us never being close), so that now I feel compassion for her instead of anger or disappointment.
The trauma was about being left out, and feeling insignificant and misunderstood. I’ve carried these feelings for years. My self-confidence has been low, and I am generally an under-achiever. Around my mother, I struggled to feel like an intelligent adult (until perhaps the last few months of her life, when she had to depend on me for her welfare).
In my Immanuel prayer session, I went to a memory of when I was about three or four-years-old. I had awakened from a nap in the late afternoon. It must have been winter because it was already dark. My room was adjacent to the kitchen, so when I opened the door, I saw my mom and sister (dad worked an afternoon/evening shift) at the table, already eating dinner. I felt deeply disappointed that they had started without me, and felt they didn’t care whether I was there or not.
After inviting Jesus to reveal his presence, I perceived him to be sitting in my chair at the table, and he beckoned me to sit on his lap. He gave me a hug, and I felt really special—no one else got to sit on his lap! When Mom wasn’t looking, he whispered in my ear, “You know your mom is a little hard-of-hearing.” I immediately understood it wasn’t a physical hearing problem. It was her empathy-ears. I also understood she couldn’t help it—she’s handicapped! That’s why she doesn’t understand who I am and what’s important to me.
I immediately “got it” and felt compassion for her. Before I could say, “But what about me… all the damage she’s done by not understanding my needs and not nourishing my gifts?,” he said, “But it’s OK, because I’ll make up for it.”
What difference does this make? I have been prone to sinking into hopeless despair, where I cannot believe in the personal love of God. I trust in his general love and (most of the time) believe Jesus will someday welcome me home. But even in heaven, I expect to be just one of the crowd, scrambling to get the best view, but always in the back, neither seen, nor heard. Other, more exciting, gifted people will be ahead of me, and they’ll get more done in the kingdom (both now and in the Age to come).
But now, when I savor this memory as an Appreciation Moment, I am convinced that Jesus loves me and calls me out of the crowd to be with him. I don’t know how he can love me so much—and love you that much, too—but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.
When he said, “I’ll make up for [what my mom couldn’t give me],” I got a huge dose of satisfaction and confidence. I think he “made up for it” in one fell swoop, but time will tell whether other areas of deficit pop up for healing. If they do, I expect he will give new insights, and more love will be poured out. He turned my trauma into a five-bar Appreciation Moment.
The Goal is Intimacy with Jesus (Sharing the Immanuel Approach with Others)
At a wedding reception the day after the conference, I shared Dr. Lehman's Immanuel stories and the Immanuel Approach basic steps with a stranger. He leaned forward to hear every word. He smiled as he drank in the good news. He gave me a hug when we left.
Another guest made an appointment with me to do the Immanuel Approach. In her words: "I have areas in my life that are keeping me from Jesus. I'm stuck in some areas of my soul and am asking God to deliver me. I sense conversations with you could be an opportunity for growth and so I'd love to learn more."
Later on, I flew overseas after the conference, 10 minutes after picking up my luggage, I met with two European young women and had the opportunity to minister to them. We had scheduled time before their departure back to their home country to pray together in the airport coffee shop. Both girls had an interactive conversation with Jesus and felt satisfied, even though the setting was bustling and time was short and their belief was small. Incredible!
As I write this, I am staying with two more young European women (24 and 30), and we set aside time after breakfast to do the Immanuel Approach, which was very satisfying for each of us. The longer we interacted with him, the more our perception of him grew stronger and the better we felt.
Later, after a birthday party dinner, I was asked to lead a 20-minute Immanuel Approach time for our group of 8 women (24-35 years old, four nationalities!) We shared in pairs, and everyone (including the one who is not a Christian) experienced a positive memory where they perceived Jesus, and all but one had interaction with him. We were all satisfied and felt closer to each other and Jesus.
Later in the evening, my two friends felt disgust about how they looked in the photos, noticed their relational circuits (RCs) were mostly off and suggested we ask Jesus about his thoughts. The disgust was so strong, they really didn't see how Jesus could actually change the situation, but I am thrilled they suggested to check it out with him! I read aloud the opening prayers from the The Immanuel Approach book appendix, and we went to the appreciation memory, and interacted with Jesus individually and shared our experiences.
One friend reported that she did have some new thoughts and her peace was increasing from 0 to 5 (on a scale of 10). I checked if they wanted to continue, then we asked Jesus about what else he wanted us to notice. He had more for us and we felt closer to each other when we shared.
Afterward, my friend wrote this story from her restored RCs to the birthday guests in the photo shoot:
The photos are ready. We liked the snowball fight and friendships...Warning: We noticed self-critical thoughts of ourselves in the pictures. In fact, we felt so bad, our relational circuits totally shut off and we decided to speak to Jesus about it. My learning was that nobody likes picture-perfect people, so what would that really give me to have no wrinkles or the perfect haircut? We also asked for a code word for next time we get stuck in self-criticism. I got "snowball fight" - that's not about looking perfect but about being alive. Thank you for being a part of this shoot!
All That I Need is Trust in Him (Jesus Heals Father Wounds)
During one of the practice ministry sessions at the conference, I asked Jesus about a recurring memory from when I was 5 or 6 years old. The memory was one of several examples of when my dad did not “show up” for what I considered a “special event.” In this case, it was a ballet recital. My mom had presented me with a small bouquet and said it was from my dad. I distinctly remember thinking that it really was not from him, and that my mom just wanted to make me feel better. I asked Jesus why I kept having that memory pop up over the years.Obviously, he wanted to use it to show me something and to heal the disappointment and under-the-radar anger I had felt. Consequently, Jesus had me sit in his lap and told me that he wanted me to enjoy the flowers, and to receive them from him. I felt his unconditional love saturate me as he held me while we watched the ballet performances together. Then when it was my turn to dance, he applauded, and I knew that he was so pleased. Afterwards, I ran back to him, and again took up my place on his lap. When I returned to the safety-net memory, which is sitting with Jesus on a bench by our pond, the flowers were also there. Now, as I draw on that ballet memory, it really doesn’t matter if my dad had really sent the flowers or not—that became irrelevant because the love and thoughtfulness they represented were from the heart of Jesus. I have no negative feelings related to my dad in that memory anymore, and I fully forgave my dad, asking Jesus to let my dad know that. The memory history is completely transformed, and I now have a new positive God memory in its place. I also noticed that in worship that Sunday at church, when we sang “All the deep, deep love of Jesus.. All that I need is trust in him,” it had new meaning for me. Now, that is a lot to praise God for!