April 15, 2015
This Week's Storyteller Is...
Alisha O'Daniel, Wesley at UCF (She is currently in New Zealand as a Christian counselor in a backpacking ministry)
I can’t even express how much God has been working in my life; it is immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine. God has been doing strong and courageous healing in my life. When I was about nine years old, I began attending a small church. The pastor was verbally abusive to me over the next few years. God had been telling me for a while to leave that church, but I stayed out of fear. I was afraid that if I left I would be without community, alone, isolated. But at age sixteen I had finally had enough.
I left that church, and, in doing so, I was launched into a state of limbo. I felt close to God, but I didn’t have a strong community or the courage to find one. One day after I’d left the church I remember feeling despondent. I wanted to rid myself of the excruciating pain that I was experiencing, so I contemplated killing myself. God clearly spoke to me telling me not to kill myself. But the pain was still there so I thought about cutting myself. As I held the knife I heard God tell me not to harm myself. He spoke to me more tangibly that day than He ever had and ever has since then. That day was so beautiful, and I am grateful that I was able to experience God is such a powerful way. From then on, I knew for sure that the Lord was real. But I was still in pain, and I was still lonely. Since then I have been attending a large church where I haven’t had to come near the pastor.
For the next five years I became very good at pushing people an arm’s length away because I was terrified of being hurt again. In a desperate attempt to find community, I would hide myself and try to mimic the thoughts and opinions of others in order to gain their acceptance, approval, and love. In doing so I did not allow myself to be connected to others because my life was a charade. Thankfully, God led me to CFL Wesley. By this time, I had gotten to a place where I felt so alone and I was so fed up with my fear that I was ready to reach out and let people in. The Lord has been destroying my fear and allowing me to trust others. Wesley has allowed me to meet and learn to trust Reverend Erwin restoring my faith in pastors. Through God’s strength I am healed. As I forgive, I am experiencing a joy that can only be attributed to Christ.
Up Next Week…
Shirley Jordan, Shores St. Augustine
She tells a story about being surprised by grief, angry at God, and returning to the love of the Lord.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011