I have no words but too many words at the same time. I am so overcome with emotion that it has left me speechless. There is no way to describe exactly what happened but all I know is Friday night, August 12th 2016, my life changed.
So rewind to a few weeks ago. I was listening to the Christian radio station and they were advertising some concert that I was only half paying attention to. A radio station advertising a concert, nothing special. But for some reason, God urged me to pay closer attention. The concert was for Bethel Music, a group I had recently become obsessed with, and was downtown. I immediately texted my sweet friend Megan and asked her if she wanted to go. She said yes, I ordered the tickets, and that was that.
So flash forward a few weeks. It’s Friday, the day of the concert, and I’m in a less than stellar mood. I’ll spare you the details but tears were definitely falling down as I was driving to the concert. Things got better once I met up with my friend (don’t ya just love people who automatically put you in a good mood?) and we went to the arena. I was expecting to have a good night full of Jesus and music but I was not, definitely was not expecting for my life to change.
I’ve been to a lot of Christian concerts but let me tell you, this was something different. Bethel is a group that is so raw, so authentic, and so refreshing. All of their singers perform with such ease, such gentleness, as if they merely breathe out these angelic melodies. But at the same time, they are powerful. They are strong. They declare the word of God with boldness and fire in their hearts. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
Oh and the people! I have to tell you about the people! To be in an arena full of Christ followers is a magical experience. Just looking around and knowing these people are your brothers and sisters in Christ is such a comforting feeling. Without knowing these people, I already felt connected to them. We shared the same God, we believed the same things, and we were there to worship our good good Father. And that’s what we did.
We worshiped. We sang. We cried. We danced. We shouted out praises to our Father. We fell to our knees in prayer. We sang our own melodies, our own hymns, our own cries to the Lord. But we were all connected in Spirit. Without anyone telling me their story, I understood them and they understood me. We were all there and we were all broken. We had different stories and backgrounds and things going on in our lives and yet, we were there together right then. Begging our Father to hear us, to heal us, to restore us. And that’s what He did.
Towards the end of the concert, a guy came on stage and starting talking about addictions. He invited anyone who had an addiction to be bold, be brave, and raise their hand. My hand went up. But listen up, it wasn’t me who raised my hand; it was God. Normally, I’m nervous and self-conscious and scared of what people think of me. But there I was, with my hand up, declaring that yes, I do have a problem. But more importantly, I have a Father who can solve it. A Father who is more than able to heal me. A Father who can set me free from this bondage. My hand was still up.
People I didn’t know laid their hands on me. Strangers were praying for me, praying that the power of this addiction would be broken. The guy onstage was asking God to heal everyone with their hands up, to break them from their bondage. He asked God to lift our addictions off of us and that’s exactly what happened. In that moment, I felt something physically lift off of my body. My fear, my obsessions, my addictions, my pain; they left me. I was free. Thank God, I was free.
Next thing I know, the lady next to me started whispering in my ear. She said that the Holy Spirit was speaking to her about me. She then began to tell me what God was telling her. As she spoke, I cried harder and harder. Everything she was saying was everything I was going through. I was confused how this stranger knew things that were going on in my life that I hadn’t told anyone and that’s when it hit me: it wasn’t that lady speaking, it was God.
Ya know, I’ve never had that happen before. I heard God’s voice through someone here on Earth. And I know it was God because this lady could not have possibly known the details she was revealing to me. It still blows my mind. She (or rather God) gave me hope, gave me reassurance of His plan, and comforted me that everything was going to be okay. That I just needed to wait. I don’t want to share the exact details of what this lady said because it was such a special moment that I just want to leave it between me and God. Some things are just so sacred and personal. But God knows, I know, and I’ll leave it at that.
The next song was the last song. Not by coincidence, it was called “No Longer Slaves”. It couldn’t have been a more perfect song to declare what had just happened. I was no longer a slave. I cried and sang and shouted. I had chills all over my body, yet a warm feeling inside of me. The Holy Spirit. He was there. He was in me and He was in that arena. I felt thankful and alive and restored and overjoyed. But mostly, I felt free. Finally free.