My Transformation Story
By Guest Author, Jaime Smith
I’ve been on this journey of transformation for almost 8 years. I first got introduced to the concept of transformation by Pastor Ken on a Sunday morning when he spoke on being transformed by God’s love. I had already been on a journey of inner healing for quite some time, and this idea of transformation was new to me. It was around this time that I was gleaning from the teachings of Joyce Meyer and learning similar things from her, things like God wanted intimacy with me, and I could open up to him about anything and come to know him as a loving Father.
There were times along my journey that I felt like giving up because of deep pain in my soul from wounds that still needed to be healed. I would remind myself how wonderful it would be to be transformed by God’s love and that would encourage me to keep going. When I heard about the women’s retreat speaker, I knew it would be a divine appointment.
When I heard Annie Erickson was going to speak about distorted images we may have of God and how to get in touch with our desires and deep longings, I had a feeling that this would be a special weekend. I even started believing in my complete transformation, as I have felt close to this for some time now. When we pulled up to the retreat center, the sign said something like, “Redwood Glen-Where God transforms people.” I couldn’t help but smile a little.
In our first session with Annie, she asked us what brought us to the retreat. She spoke about desires and deep longings and how sometimes people think they want one thing, but there is really a deeper longing they need to get in touch with. For me, I thought I only wanted to encounter God’s love, but then I realized had a deeper desire to be seen, known, and loved.
Annie’s stories were very powerful and she tied things together to show us how God moved through her stories to help her know him as a loving Father. She explained how her brain used to believe God was a loving Father, but her heart still believed he was a harsh judge, based on things she experienced in her childhood. I realized then that I still needed my understanding of God’s love to move from my head down into my heart.
One thing that happened to me at this retreat was that I was met by so many loving women, who were genuinely kind to me. I finally felt like I was a part of this church family. God showed me that even though I have wanted to be healed for so long from mental health issues, he had a deeper desire to include me in his family. I was so grateful to finally have this breakthrough.
Even though I was feeling this way during the day on Saturday, I struggled in the evening with believing some people didn’t like me. It brought me down, and this is part of what I struggle with sometimes. I know it’s probably the enemy lying to me, but it really does seem real, this part of people not liking me.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it is imperative to forgive people when they hurt me. I always forgive people when they reject me and ask the Lord to bind up my wounds. Sometimes it takes a while, and sometimes I have to keep forgiving over and over until I can let it go. I think I have to forgive in order to heal.
The next morning was our last day with Annie, whom I’d really grown to love. She spoke a bit, and I remembered it was still my desire to be transformed by God’s love. Then she read some scriptures over us about being seen by the Lord. The one that really got me was when Jesus saw Nathaniel under the fig tree. She asked us, “What is your fig tree?” I realized that my fig tree was when I was worshiping in singing. I love to worship and have wanted to help lead worship, but the opportunity has not opened up for me yet. It has been painful to wait, and I have felt shame because I think I might not be good enough to help lead. When I realized that worship was my fig tree, I started to cry. It hit me deep down inside.
When Annie was done ministering to us, Ari led us in a time of worship. It was while I was singing, “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed, I’m a child of God, yes I am” that I felt God’s love go from my head down to my toes, back up to my heart and out of my arms and hands. I felt like I had wings and could hug everyone there. I think I knew I had been transformed because I felt free to love everyone.
Before this moment, it was like I had some chips on my shoulder, wondering who would hurt me next. After this happened, it didn’t matter anymore. I was going to do my part in loving others. I’ve pondered the verses by Jesus, in which he says to remain in his love, and I felt like I was finally able to do this.
I realized that sometimes God will take my deepest pain and use that very thing to heal me. I marvel at how God works through his servants, the ministers of the Gospel, to help do a kind of heart surgery on those who need to be healed. I’m so glad I went to this retreat, and even though some of my relationships with women have been tricky over the years, I recognize how very valuable they are in my life. I feel so blessed to be on this journey of transformation with so many beautiful, wonderful people.