It is hard to put into words how my time with Equipping Lydia has truly impacted my life. I know the impact will continue for years to come as I have not fully unpacked every facet yet.
I should start with my first encounter with this ministry. I came in to meet with Joycelyn. We began talking about my life and future ministry. Some areas surfaced that I had been blinded to in my own life. You know the passage about having the plank in your own eye, well that was me. I had struggled with certain aspects in my life specifically grace and rejection. The two seemed at odds with one another. As we talked more, it was as if a light had been shined on a deep and dark area in my life. It was obvious to me that it was the work of the enemy to keep me in the dark, lonely, and volatile place as long as possible. Throughout my time with Equipping Lydia and meeting with Joycelyn, I learned the true nature of God. I had had it all wrong for so long. Because I had rejected myself and so many others had rejected me, I assumed that God must have done so as well.
It was around this time I had my first experience with healing prayer. I was still struggling through a breakup and was in a season of depression during my time in seminary. I felt so alone and wanted so badly to leave. As much as it hurt I knew God had a plan for my life and wanted me to be at Asbury, even when it didn’t fully make sense. In one of my classes I met a woman who offered to pray with me. I was so open to anyone helping that I didn’t even have to question it like I normally would. She lead me through a prayer that delved deep into my past. We went to the deep dark places that we often try to hide. And it was in those places that healing came. I couldn’t even explain what happened. It was a transformation and it was also a time where truth penetrated my heart. This initial healing was the springboard for the healing that would occur through Equipping Lydia. For three years of seminary I had learned a great deal intellectually. I had taken my challenging classes and struggled with many of them. But it was spiritual formation that was an area I had not had the pleasure to learn about. I had the opportunity to lead a spiritual formation group which I learned more from my shortcomings than any forms of so-called success. I learned about what it looks like when no one comes and how to not equate that with being a failure. I learned that creating a space for people to be heard and to hear from the Holy Spirit is a gift. I also learned that you never know when it was intended for no one to come so that I could have time alone with the Lord. Learning to listen is one of the areas I never really paid attention to. I am a talker through and through. But I needed to learn how to quiet myself and listen to others and listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd. And when you start listening, you start hearing. God wants to speak to you and lavishes his love on every facet of your life. And once you begin to hear that voice you crave it and yearn for it. When you don’t hear it, you miss it. It is as if a piece of yourself is missing.
Another aspect I learned is trusting that I heard the voice of God. I grew in my understanding of discernment. However, this is an area where there is always room for growth. It is easy at times to get mad if you may have heard the voice wrong or things didn’t pan out the way you would like them to. This is an area I am still working on. But the times I cling to are the retreats that I attended. The voice of God was so tangible on those retreats. I had the privilege to experience color prayer and to serve as a prayer partner. I could not believe the intimacy that comes from praying for complete strangers who become Sisters in Faith. I will always cherish the time I had with Equipping Lydia. I don’t think I will ever view the color purple the same way. For me, royal purple immediately triggers a connection to Equipping Lydia. It is a royal and beautiful color. And it is one that will continue to hold great meaning in my life. And I know my life has forever been changed. This ministry is a gift and a blessing to my life and so many others. I am eternally grateful to Joycelyn and to Equipping Lydia for equipping me for ministry in ways I didn’t even know I needed.
Blessings to you along this journey,
Mentored Ministry Student