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Aug 26, 2010

Fear Blog Resized

Welcome to a new section of our website where we will feature stories from Ransomed Heart's allies.  If you would like to share your story with us, please do so by going to the Contact Us page.  We would love to hear how God has used the ministry of Ransomed Heart in your life!  

The following story, Fear at Heart, comes from the blog elPeregrino, sharing what God taught him about living in fear through reading Wild at Heart.

FEAR AT HEART

The emergency services were on red alert. No vehicles were allowed to pass from the point at side of the main highway. They said to the group that if they really wanted to climb the volcano, they would have to take the 10K walk from that point and that they were going to be on their own up there.

The band of youngsters decided to conquer the Pacaya Volcano.

After long hours of walking up the road and passing silent little towns, they finally got to see the main peak of the volcano. They camp there. The night was really cold and the lava spitted from the top of the angry giant illuminated the night.

The sun came up and they did too. Packed everything and walk toward the worst place to be in that moment. The Pacaya was so sandy and so vertical that, sometimes, they had to crawl their way up. And they all felt how the constant earthquake that tried to discourage them from their goal.

But they made it.

The group reached the top of the volcano and stood there for a few minutes. The gases were uncomfortable to breath and there was little water left for all of them, so they started their way back down.

And then it happened. They got lost.

The emergency services said that a group of foreign tourist were already lost at the volcano but they thought it was a sad attempt to stop them from conquering the Pacaya. Well… now they were thinking that it might be true after all.

They prayed for an hour, more, less. And suddenly a dog appeared up there. Out of nowhere. Passed right in front of the group and kept walking.

The group followed.

And after they got to the nearest town to Pacaya, the dog disappeared.
I was like ten years old then and that was my first volcano adventure.

I’m thirty three now and I’m in fear.

John Eldredge doesn’t know this, but he opened my eyes. Well, God did it but John was ophthalmic instrument.

I live in fear now. Constant fear of being a failure. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of darkness. Fear of crime. Fear of violent people. Fear of being caught sinning. Fear of being defeated by sin. Fear of financial crisis. Fear of not becoming the pastor God wants me to be. Fear of not being the husband my wife deserves. Fear of being more ill that normal. Fear of not being ill. Fear of work. Fear of rest. Fear of my boss. Fear of my coworkers. Fear of the debts. Fear of not having debts. Fear of having kids. Fear of not having kids.

Fear of fear.

I remember reading something a lot of years ago about a guy who climbed Everest. He was asked why he did it and the response was simply this: ‘Because it was there.’ You know, man were not made for Everest… but Everest is there so it must be conquered. It must be climbed. It must be defeated.

Sometimes, I feel nausea just because I’m in fear. Sometimes I feel nausea because I feel fear of feeling nauseous. Sometimes I feel like I’m at the end of the rope and the rope is weak. Sometimes I see a crack and can’t help imagine myself falling down there and freezing to death all alone. Sometimes I feel like there’s no air at all.

Today is my 33rd birthday and finally, after two weeks of finishing my ‘Wild at Heart’ reading, the right questions rose from my heart: Why the fear doesn’t seem to go away? Why do I feel it all around me? Why do I feel like it’s always in front of me? Why do I feel it in my hands, my stomach, my eyes? Why do I keep fighting for air? Why do I feel so much cold sometimes? Why do I get dizzy? Why is this battle taking so long God? Why does it seem like adventure was exchanged by fear, God? What are we doing God?

Silence…

And then…

We’re climbing Fear, He said.

I wasn’t made for Fear… but Fear is there. Fear at Heart. And it must be climbed. It must be conquered. It must be defeated. I’m Wallace. I’m Maximus. I’m Leonidas.

If I can give you an advice today is this: Read Wild at Heart. You will be amazed of the man who God made you in the first place.

Original blog: http://chejooestrada.blogspot.com/2010/07/fear-at-heart.html

 

07 AM
Aug 25, 2010

I am showing the Captivating DVD Series to a group of 65 Year 9 girls. I have been able to find 'teenager friendly' DVD clips to support each lesson which has worked very well. Because of their age I have found that adapting some of the questions in the study and facilitator's guide has also been necessary and because of time constraints I only use a few questions from each guide for both written and discussion prompts which take place in smaller groups later in the week. My heart for the girls is that they address these issues , and are aware of the issues brought out in the series early in life. Last week after our small group discussion we went to our Middle School chapel where the speaker reinforced what we had just discussed.

Colleen

11 PM
Apr 09, 2010

I loved John's message in the March newsletter. I've been a Christian all my life and had Jesus horribly confused. I'm listening to the Gospels right now and finding him to be a completely different (and completely perplexing) figure. And I love him! So much goodness and freedom!

 

Bryan

05 AM
Mar 18, 2010

We have recently finished reading your book, Love and War.  In the past eight months, our 25 year marriage had been to the brink of disaster,and divorce was brought up on more than a few occasions during horrible fights we would rather not remember.  Unfortunately, our pastor and a Christian psychologist the pastor referred us to could not accept that the ROOT of our marital problems was spiritual, though we felt we had adequate proof.  We truly know that we were being tormented and oppressed by demons, and without going into all the gruesome details, we ended up dropping all counseling and simply prayed with great intensity while reading every Christian marriage book we could get our hands on, as well as Christian books regarding spiritual warfare. 

 

While each book we read had some very good information, it was your book that we felt was the absolute best marriage book from front to back!  There were more than a few pages where your words "leapt" from the page, and we found ourselves saying, "They are talking about us!"  Let me assure you that we know first and foremost that our marriage would not have survived without God's help, strength and love, but your book and ministry have been the most delicious "icing on the cake"!

 

We thank God for you and for the words you share in Love and War.  This past week-end we celebrated Valentine's Day, a day that for six months we thought we would probably never celebrate together again, and it was the most glorious week-end.  We invited the Lord to be a part of our celebration, which He did so beautifully with a generous snowfall turning our trip into a great adventure in a winter wonderland.  Normally, the idea of traveling in a snow storm would have had me in a panic and rethinking the whole trip, but I remembered your words about adventure and prayed for peace regarding my fears.  So we packed the jeep and headed to the resort, and I am SO thankful we did!  We were like newlyweds the entire week-end with nothing but positive and loving thoughts and actions.  And part of the trip down to the resort was finishing the last few pages of your book . . . what a way to start our Valentine's Day celebration! 

 

Again, we thank you and pray that your ministry and this book will reach the hands of the many couples who so desperately need this blessing in their marriages.

 

Janice
 

02 AM
Mar 05, 2010

I wrote to you guys a few weeks back about my sister Sarah and her husband Mohammed. They attended your 'Love and War' event in Austin. Just wanted to give you an update.....but first let me say THANK YOU for praying for them! The enemy tried hard to deter Mohammed from going, but the Lord won out! My sister told me it was awesome (of course!) and that although Mohammed didn't say much about it, she knows he was touched by the things you said. At one point she looked over at him and could see a tear rolling down his cheek. Praise God that His Spirit melts us, and praise God for your ministry! If you recall, Mohammed had asked Sarah for a divorce just a few days before your event. Since then, he has not mentioned it again and he has become more attentive to their children. The Lord has put it on my sister's heart to go back to the basics of friendship with her husband and has given her a renewed hope. I expect miraculous things to unfold!

You are each doing great things for the Kingdom and I just had to say thank you once again. May God's boundless love continue to flow through your ministry and into the hearts of the thirsty and broken. You need to know you are making a difference!

Blessings to each of you,

Megan

 

03 AM
Feb 26, 2010

For 4 days, a company of leaders and friends from Guadalajara and Mexico City escaped from the urban chaos, work, and responsibilities to encounter God together on the skirts of central Mexico's legendary volcanos.  We hiked, fished, laughed, ate, ran, and sat around the fire together.  As you know, we gathered together around Christ through the 9 Boot Camp conversations.   We talked about the continued discoveries of our place in the the giant story, God's epic and it's course in central Mexico. One dear friend and leader said, “I carry with me the vision of building strong bands of brothers throughout the kingdom who know what it is to search for God and life together.  I feel full of hope, and will give my life to something like this.” 

     
We shared prayer together concerning the adventure and risk taking associated directly with our deepest desires to make Mexico something new, vibrant, and more centered in Christ.   One friend left the experience saying, “I will take the next steps in my life by courageously taking steps of action.  I will do so by writing down 12 things that I will do in response to God’s leading.   I will check off each action when it is completed so that we will know that I am following up on this...if I am walking in the direction of my God given dreams or not.”  This same brother talked about building a micro-finance organization to help the poor; he also said it was time to propose to his girlfriend, and spoke about his hunger to be a better son and friend.

 

We reminded one another of the noble commission given to us as fathers and husbands and boyfriends (there were 4 young unmarried men who joined us).  We made commitments about the kind of servants and men we want to be for those closest to us.  One father said, “I am going home and will spend more time with my son.”  Another father said, “I will be a more authentically present husband and father to my wife and daughter.  I will become a listener and be deeply attentive to them.  I will ask them frequently, ¿Cómo estás?”  Another family man said, “I will now put great emphasis on my relationship with my wife and children.  We will discover God together...I will be a better listener.”  

 

We experienced walking with God and walking with God together.  We formed a stronger band of brothers for the struggles ahead.  As one friend concluded, “I feel internal strength now, and know that I will live to grow in my spiritual life.  My self-worth, identity, security, and sufficiency will be found in the hands of God from now on.” Another one said, “I can see with greater clarity that this group of men is truly on the front lines of the kingdom of Christ in Mexico.” 

 

-James

02 AM
Feb 16, 2010

We had our first school W@H camp at the end of last month where we took 15 of the problem students from [a high school] in Pretoria (age 17-18) on a three day bush experience… these are bad @ss guys… 4 of them have got charges of assault against them and are awaiting trial, one was involved in Satanism and most come from broken homes… They all gave their hearts to God on this camp. 13 of the 15 have volunteered to facilitate the next camp… they are giving witness in the school one at a time… they have started a band of brothers at school… they are standing up in class speaking up against disrespect towards female teachers! Their parents are approaching us for tools and guidance… they are requesting farther son camps to heal their wounds… the teachers have experienced the hand of God in their school and there is a renewed devotion to the lord among them…

The repercussions of this have been so immense that it is impossible to measure…
We stand in awe of what God is doing in our city… and country… -

11 PM
Feb 11, 2010

(A response to a Captivating Retreat held up in The Rockies)

What can I say? A Christian since I was 20 years old – serving, working, trudging, bearing up under the “Saintly” longsuffering of “a woman of God”, duty, obligation, tiredness, loss. If Christ came to fill us with joy, why was I so worn out and joyless? What was I missing in this? Was heaven my only hope in this life?

With that question to God ten months ago He began to lead me on a quest. A quest for the truth, I thought. But it has been a quest for so much more. The beautiful culmination (of at least this part of my story) has been that I have seen my God here in this place striding on the mountain tops, His song to me in the wind. A hidden meadow with the warmth of the sun, the rustling of the aspens, untrodden paths with an invitation from my Lover to walk off the easy path to encounter His beauty, His presence, His Whispers of longing to me. To be fearless where there has been fear… because I am not alone for My God is with me always…

It has been a long time since I felt warmth this deep in my heart. I have been breathed on by the one who gives me life. He is my All. He is my delight.

Thank you thank you than you.

02 AM
Feb 04, 2010

I wept as I read, .

"So, put down the book for just a moment, and let this sink in: Jesus can, and wants to, heal you heart."- Waking the Dead - page 136:

 

I put the book down and let it sink in.

 

I closed my eyes (the voice came)- "Jesus can, and wants to, heal my heart."

 

I keep repeating it - "Jesus can, and wants to, heal my heart.  Jesus can... Jesus can heal my heart... He wants to heal my heart..." I keep saying the words over and over... my heart cries "Abba" The laces are undone, the latches unlocked, shields down.

 

I weep.

 

The failures and shortcomings. The lust. The moment of sexual innocence lost and the endless cycle of pain and despair; the flood of haunting memories that curse my dreams. The well-placed arrows and piercing daggers; the years of masturbation and images of women that I had scourged over. The women I had used, but deeper still, the ones that had used me.  I weep... because scoop by scoop, piece by piece, hole by hole... He is removing the guilt and extracting the pain. I want to stop (I am weeping And  my neighbors will likely soon be at my door) but I can't - I can't let go. I’m not going to stop short of... ... silence. The tears stop. The voice returns.

It is good, it is good. It is very good” (His words only after creating Man in His image).

I made it through parts of Wild at Heart years ago, but the weight of sin and shame left me a casualty of war, lying wounded on the battlefield. I never believed my heart could still be good... not after years of my sinful hypocrisy and the forced outward smile. Now, here I am... God was always moving and still speaking, but now... "they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them." (Matthew 13:15)

I look forward to the rest of my journey with my Savior.. I am. a man fully

alive. - Peter

09 AM
Jun 09, 2009

After eight years of feeling like there was a veil between me and my Father in heaven, yesterday morning it was lifted, and it was incredible.  I have been reading “Walking with God” for three weeks now and started using the personal study guide.  For the first time, I prayed what the Lord revealed was opposing my walk with Him, what was making it hard for me to hear his voice.  False accusation, distraction, diminishment and spiritual blindness (Fog of War). I prayed it once, then, at His prompting, once more.  Then I paused.  I heard Him say "family" so I prayed for the binding of those things from my wife and daughter as well.  Waited.  I asked Him to show what I need to do to be a better father and husband.  Of my daughter He said, "Be with her.  Accept her.  Don't ignore her."  Of my wife: "Don't accuse, accept her. . ."  All these things mean something very specific to me personally.  Then out of what seemed like nowhere, Christ showed up.  I felt his spirit well up in me and immediately the enemy jumped in to diminish it.  "That's not Him."  But a voice interjected, "No, it's me."  "No, it’s the Holy Spirit," I agreed. I began to weep and laugh and feel his love.  From the center of my being to the tips of my fingers.  I have only felt that once, eight years ago at the beginning of my personal battle and always assumed it was a fluke.  Someone's blessing wrongly given to me.  How could I be chosen in that way?  Now, when I least expected it, (and God's timing is incredible) He reveals He was there all along.  The Evil One had just been blocking me.  It was no mistake so stop striving.  It's as if now all the things I felt prompted by God to begin in my life but didn't over fear of being wrong, had all along been right.  I have the green light, the go ahead, permission.  I have His assurance that no matter what happens, He is in control, as He always has been.  That I am truly His.  What clarity.  What Love.  WHAT FREEDOM!!

07 AM