Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Walking Through the Fire: Immanuel - God with Us

When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
   Cush and Seba in your stead.
Isaiah 43:2-3 (NIV)

Have you ever been so overtaken by the Holy Spirit you felt completely swept away? Smack in the middle of a crowd of women, a long ways from my safe, little home, the Holy Spirit grabbed hold of me in a powerful way.

While at She Speaks 2015, I sat listening intently as Wendy Blight shared her message of the paralyzing fear that gripped her for years after being sexually assaulted. My mind swirled with memories of my own encounter that I had stuffed down for so long. Everything in me wanted to get up and run.

Run from the past.
Run from the shame.
Run from the pain.
Why would God put me here for this specific message? He knows the dark spaces within my heart. I know He loves me so why in the world would He bring me to such a hard place. I had the secret scars neatly tucked into the deep recesses of my heart. I just wanted to leave them there.

The Holy Spirit wasn’t willing to let me stay in that stagnant pool of shame anymore. He walked me through those hard places. There wasn’t anything pleasant about it in the moment. I physically shook as He dug deep to redeem what had been taken from me.

Yet the Lord reminds us in Isaiah, “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.”  The flames sure felt hot in that place but God walked through it with me and I wasn’t burned. The chains were being loosened and I was set free from the captivity of trying to hide my shame.

Free from the past.
Free from the shame.
Free from the pain.
Being present in the hard places leads to redemption.

All the stuffing down, covering up and pretending it never happened can ever come close to the freedom found in Christ’s redeeming power.

Only through Him can we put down our heavy burdens.

God wants to remove the chains we desperately try to loosen on our own. Some try to get rid of them in their own strength while others try to pretend they aren’t really there anymore. Some of us try both in a futile attempt at freedom.

Chains can ONLY be removed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Honestly, looking back I see how God had been orchestrating my life for just a moment as this. I am redeemed and I want to share the good news that God can set you free too!

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those He redeemed from the hand of the foe. Psalm 107:2 (NIV)

Do you have some hard places in your heart you try to hide from the world, as well as from yourself? Call out to the One who redeems. His unfailing love will help you rise up and walk through those hard places to the redemption waiting for YOU.

If you want to know God, I invite you to check out Wendy Blight's new bible study I Know His Name.

I Know His Name is a Bible study for any woman who wants to move beyond simply knowing about God to really knowing God in a very personal way.

In this five-chapter Bible study book, Wendy implements her practical and approachable style to equip readers to study the Word of God and then apply it to their own lives in practical ways.

I’m so blessed to be a part of the launch team for I Know His Name! For More information please visit Wendy’s page:


  1. What a beautiful post. Will pray for this book launch. Thank you for sharing, Laura. Happy to be neighboring you at Kelly's place this morning. :)

    1. Thank you Brenda. I appreciate the kind words and the prayers for Wendy's book launch. Blessings to you.

  2. Laura, I just love this story! God does not want to leave us in the hard places. Satan does! God wants to redeem and restore, and He will move mountains and move us to do so, but we have to listen, respond and obey. I'm so very proud of you for saying yes to God and taking a step off your mat to walk toward healing and wholeness!! So thankful He allowed me a small part in speaking into your heart.

    Thank you for sharing my new book "I Know His Name" with your friends and for joining me on this journey as we launch it.



    1. Wendy, I'm so glad you like it. It was one of the moments I will never forget. Thank you for being obedient to the call God has put on your life. God is using it in a powerful way. It's exciting to share your new book "I Know His Name" with others! Blessings to you as well.

  3. powerful post Laura! What an amazing God who leads us out of captivity, brings people into our lives with messages we need to hear, setting us free! This is so true..Chains can ONLY be removed by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know this well..8 years ago I had a powerful experience that brought me to Christ. Blessings today!

    1. Thank you Kathy. I couldn't agree more, God is so amazing! I love that His very nature is to set the captives free. Thanking Him for the powerful experience you had as well. Blessings to you!

  4. Beautifully told. I agree: "Chains can ONLY be removed by the power of the Holy Spirit"--and clearly He orchestrated this. What a wonderful Redeemer we have! (And I love the white stone in your header picture.) Blessings on your future of freedom!

    1. Thank you Syliva. I appreciate it. The story of the stone in my header is so neat. I got it right after the experience in this post. We were told to write a word on that God was leading us towards. Redeemed is what He kept telling me I am.

  5. What a beautiful testimony! Aren't you so glad that God pursues us even when we try to convince ourselves that He's close enough! He always wants to be closer! Love this!

    1. Thank you Karrilee. I'm so glad that God continually pursues us. I'm so grateful that the wall I had hope has been torn down. Blessings to you!

  6. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. Thank you for sharing your experience of this so VIVIDLY!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement Michele. Blessings to you!

  7. Beautiful, Laura! I am so grateful the Lord brought you freedom (and I am certain He continues to work in this area daily) from your past. I just purchased my plane ticket for She Speaks 2016 and I can't wait to go and be changed.

    1. Thanks Sarah, I appreciate that! I'm so excited for you to go to She Speaks. I loved it!! Trying to figure out if I can go again this year but it would overlap one day with our big family reunion. Going back to where my dad grew up and none of us have ever been there so extra special. I will be praying for your trip!