By Emily Wells
Last month, one of the most loved (or most loathed) holidays of the calendar year was celebrated. For some people, Valentine’s Day is another regular day, while for others it is filled with romantic gestures and time spent with a significant other. I had intended on spending my Valentine’s evening with homework, Netflix, and chocolate, but as the evening played out, those plans changed. I received a message regarding a guest speaker who would be doing an evening devotion in Anderson Hall in conjunction with the Montreat College’s “Call to Action” week. Attendance was encouraged, so with a piqued interest, I abandoned my How to Get Away with Murder binge-a-thon and wandered down to the Anderson lobby.
The speaker was Brandi Lea, a missionary to Uganda and other countries around the globe. Humorous and outgoing, she immediately captured my attention. Ms. Lea began the conversation by sharing with us her experiences of working in Indian brothels in an effort to free young girls from sex slavery. She also told us about her ministry in Uganda, “Beauty for Ashes Uganda,” and explained what they do and the types of people they minister to. Being interested in missions myself, I listened intently, in awe of what was being accomplished in the name of Jesus on the other side of the world. Hearing about other people and their lives was great, but soon, I found myself feeling a bit out of my comfort zone as the conversation headed in a more personal direction.
Early in the conversation, Lea explained that in order to go out and share Christ’s healing with a hurting world, we must first make sure that we ourselves are healed. Although I have been involved in missions for a few years, this idea had never presented to me. And yet made so much sense. How can I be injured and expect to go help another injured person? That doesn’t help anyone. Lea shared that “hurt people hurt people, but loved people love people.” She then instructed us on healing prayer, which is crucial to “break the ropes” of past hurt that hold us back from loving others.
Healing prayer can be scary. It involves going back to painful memories and experiencing them again. However, you do not go back to these memories alone. Lea explained that when you go back to those memories, you go back to them with Jesus. In that memory, you look for the lies that hurt you and then look for ways that Jesus showed up there. You take out the lie and ask Jesus what is true. Lea shared that sometimes we like to hold on to those lies because we think that holding on to something painful is better than feeling totally empty. But Jesus doesn’t leave you empty. He always puts something in place of the lie he erased. Healing prayer involves going to a safe place with Jesus and finding the truth He replaced the lies with.
I really don’t know what I expected that Valentine’s night when I walked into a room of fifteen other women to listen to a speaker I had never heard of, but I walked out with a new vision of how I need to take care of myself as a Christian so I can go out and share the gospel with others. I was reminded that Christ cares about my hurts, even if I think they are insignificant. Brandi Lea was Christ’s reminder to me that I am loved by Him, and that I am worth loving.