Houston Fall 2015 Small Group (Alpha)

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“Through RECESS, the Lord has taken me into a whole new realm of His being that I didn’t know could exist. He has recently been stripping away from me the chains of bondage to “religious duties” that I had no idea I was even enslaved by. He has shown me that YES Scripture is a beautiful and necessary way to learn about Him, but it is not the only way to EXPERIENCE Him, that we have the POWER of the Holy Spirit in us through Christ and that Christ has given me the ability to actually be still and KNOW God. He has showed me I have been so busy trying to please Him with my good “acts” that I’d never stopped to fully receive the truth that He was/is/will be ABUNDANTLY IN LOVE AND PLEASED with me and all of His children through Christ dying on the cross. He is teaching me Him – not just things about Him. He’s alluring me to desire more – to desire that deep rooted peace and satisfaction of knowing Him and being known by Him. That resting in His presence brings FREEDOM, not obligation, and JOY, not frustration. He giving me a desire to fully know His voice, and goodness I’m excited!” – Dallas, 23

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“For 10+ years, I have idolized my career, my husband and my self-­sufficiency, which led me to a place of loneliness, frustration, anger, despair, striving and grasping. But I am waking up. As I’ve been seeking the Lord’s face through RECESS, He has been breaking my heart over the amount and depth of sin in my life, but not just that; He’s also been restoring me. I honestly don’t know how He can accomplish both brokenness and wholeness at the same time, but He has! And I can look back to even just 2 months ago and see the amazing restoration that has come into my life through NO effort of my own, but rather by His grace. This is proof of the Father’s patient and generous love for me, and that as He breaks me, He’s actually filling me up with a fullness, namely His fullness. And it’s also proof that my best efforts have never been and will never be sufficient to heal me.

With this, I want to encourage others: Let your sins break your heart so that you can be ever more aware of your need for your Savior. And then lay them down at the feet of the Healer. He will love and heal you fully, not by your efforts but by His grace.” – Lauren, 29

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“After I got married, I quit my job and joined the ranks of moms and wives who don’t work outside the home. I expected this life change to be restful, but I actually found it to be incredibly tough. I struggled to find value in my life. Whereas I used to have positive feedback from co­-workers, clients and my boss to validate my worth, I now didn’t, and the result was a loss of self confidence. Thus, every request that something get done and any less-than-glowing comment from my husband was taken as a confirmation of my complete failure in this new role.

However, through RECESS God has been changing all that! He first revealed to me that I had been wrongly placing my identity, value and purpose in taking care of my home and my husband, and that my true worth and confidence comes from knowing and being known by Him. Then, He miraculously shifted something inside me to CONFIDENTLY know and believe that my reason for being is to seek God, to find Him, and to be used by Him to minister to other women. And guys, this has been LIFE CHANGING!

The result of this revelation and miraculous internal shift has been RENEWAL. He’s released in me FREEDOM from perfection and striving, and this has resulted in me having JOY in performing my tasks as a wife since they no longer determine my worth! I now know that my worth is in Jesus, and that to him, I am worth everything!” – Jessica, 34

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“For several years, I have been in a deep, dark hole. I have known the Lord nearly my whole life, but I had grown so distant from Him and His love that I wasn’t sure I would ever escape the darkness and heaviness of that hole. I was full of shame and guilt from my inability to be perfect or to earn His love. I was trying so hard to do it all ‘right’ on my own strength… It was exhausting.

Through RECESS the Lord lifted that burden of perfection and self-reliance – I literally felt a weight being lifted off my chest! He gave me confidence of His love – love that I don’t have to earn or even try to. He convinced me that He truly loves me as His precious, beloved, valued daughter. He brought me out of that dark hole and into the peace and joy of His presence. Where I once was heavy, He made me light. I can run, I can jump, I can breathe – I am FREE!” – Alyssa, 27

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“Before RECESS, the enemy was winning with his hold on my life. I did not want live anymore. I had no reason to be depressed – all the external things in my life were great. But internally, darkness had a stronghold on my life, and it caused feelings of depression, anxiety and rejection. I would pray, but I felt ashamed of my cries and feelings and felt like God wasn’t listening.

During the process of RECESS, my internal life started a new chapter. God revealed Himself to me, and not through the traditional ways. I never even thought it was possible for me to know Him so intimately. I’d heard other people talk about their crazy experiences with Him, but ME?! It was amazing learning how to seek and find His presence, even a bit weird at times. But by His grace, He kept leading me closer and closer to Him. And next thing I knew, all of the negative feelings of depression, anxiety and rejection had vanished without me even realizing it! Even now, if I think the exact same thoughts I had before, they have no hold on me. They just pass through my mind without affecting me. Praise God! I’ve been set free!

Through RECESS, I’ve been able to feel Him – His kindness, His mercy, His love, His connection – so tangibly, and it’s changed me! I’ve heard people talk about having a personal relationship with God for years, but now I finally feel like I have one, and I never want to let go!” – Emily, 25

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“Before RECESS, I was in a dry and dark place. My continuous attempts (and total fails) at self sufficiently, and the self defeating habits that followed, allowed thoughts of self anger and self hatred to creep into my heart and build for quite some time. I grew to resent my own feelings, needs and wants because it seemed like all they did was bring me pain in the past. And all the while, I was associating God with this self made prison without ever really realizing it…until I came to RECESS!

At first, realizing my wounds and how much work it’d take to change my mindset after years and years of negative thinking and negative reinforcement threw me into a state of panic. I was like, 😱 how do I even work through all that (lol)! But that’s when I started writing in my journal one night at RECESS words I feel like the Lord had been trying to speak to me.

Before, I had been looking for a quick fix, like this revelation would happen and all of a sudden I’d be a new person. Now I’m learning and believing there’s a REASON for this process, and I know He wants to go through it with me…unpacking all the hurt and weight I’ve placed on my shoulders and replacing it with His love and goodness.

I haven’t quite reached the point where the gravity of His love can penetrate my heart, but I’m working on it. I’m being intentional rather giving up before I actually even try. I’m trusting that as I make the decision to keep following Him, He will open my eyes and heart to the reality of His love, something I shielded myself from for so long out of fear of disappointment.

All this time I felt like God was far away, but it’s actually my heart that has been tucked far away behind wall after wall. But He is so faithful and through this process, He’s been softening my heart of stone. And that is HUGE. It’s a slow surrender, but it’s happening. And I know He’ll finish what He’s started and work with me through it all.” – Alex, 23

 

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