This week, my team and I have the opportunity to host women’s retreats with Beauty for Ashes. Since we’re in India, we have the beautiful opportunity to serve the women involved in the ministry that we are partnered with this month, and we have the privilege to host not one, but FOUR retreats!
Yesterday, we had our first retreat with some of the ayas (caretakers) who look after the children we are serving. And boy, their stories would break your hearts.
A lot of the women come from broken homes and families. They carry around a lot of pain and brokenness, and the thing these women want more than anything is for someone to just talk to. To hear them. To love them. To let them know that they aren’t alone, and that their stories matter.
The women got to share their stories and talk about the hardships yesterday, and you could just FEEL the Holy Spirit at work in the room. Women’s voices and sorrows were being heard. Women were being HEALED— miracles taking place then BAM. I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me.
I fell on my knees right where I was standing— I had just finished washing a woman’s feet when tears sprang to my eyes. And I felt it. I FELT the weight and heaviness of a secret battle a woman in the room was fighting…
The weight of those words; I knew it so well. I have felt its evil clutches on my mind knowing how lonely and isolating it can be. My heart broke in that moment as I bowed my head and lifted my arms up in surrender as I felt the tears running down my face. My chest was aching knowing that I had to meet this woman and pray over her.
I looked at our facilitator and said, “the Spirit told me that a woman in this room is battling suicidal thoughts, and I need to pray over her.”
I watched as our interpreter walked around the room asking if any of them had been battling with these thoughts. At the time, I started to doubt myself and what I heard. Did I hear correctly? Did the Holy Spirit really just speak to me?
My mind was racing. I was beginning to second guess myself until I saw the interpreter talking to a woman whose head hung down in despair. In that moment I knew— this was the woman the Holy Spirit was talking to me about, and I couldn’t believe it.
Prior to this experience, I knew I heard the Lord’s voice. As crazy as it sounds, the Lord and I talk to each other multiple times throughout the day. But sometimes I still doubt if I hear him. But when this woman came up to me and told me her story, I was brought to tears because the Holy Spirit revealed himself to both of us. He spoke for the two of us, and despite the language barrier, we were able to communicate.
This woman told me how her husband had left her. She had a son who had gotten married, but eventually ended up separating and getting remarried to someone else. This aya (caretaker) had carried around so much pain that she told me how sometimes she thought that life was so unbearable for her. She thought the only way to end the suffering was to end her life.
I ended up talking to her for awhile and told her my story. That I once had been in a place where I felt the same way she was feeling. The Lord told me that he wanted me to pray over her and to cast our the unclean spirits that were making her feel this way.
As I began to pray, I could feel the Holy Spirit was over her. There was a peace like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, but I saw and witnessed with my own eyes the power of God. That was when I knew, I KNEW, that what I heard was the Lord’s voice and that he is capable of anything because he is indeed a big and GOOD God.