In 2015, I was Vicar of a church in the south of England, leading together with my husband, Alan. We loved the church and ministry, but I did not realize how burdened and driven I was becoming as we entered our fourth year there. That September, I hit burnout, physically, mentally and emotionally.
After a few months, I recovered enough to consider returning part-time, when some terrible family news knocked me right back down again, even further. We realized it was going to take me a long time to recover and both heard the Lord say it was time to lay down the ministry. I reluctantly took early retirement and the Lord opened the way back to our home town and our home church. In my broken, bewildered, often angry, and grieving state, the Good Shepherd set about gently, slowly, lovingly restoring me, partly through the kindness and care of others, but chiefly through his Word. His Word is Life. I soaked in it. One day early on, He said very clearly, “Be still, take heart, and wait for the Lord.” I was to hang on this many times. As for my husband, he was the hands, feet, and eyes of Jesus all through that time to me.
Over two years passed and I was getting slowly better, but still quite restricted. One day, our Vicar announced that a visiting speaker named Jo Moody and her team were coming from the U.S. to do a church weekend. I wasn’t at all sure I would attend. I felt I just couldn’t cope with a lot of excitement. But as the time drew near, I found the Lord really changing my heart. By the time we got to the week before their arrival, I had such an expectancy in my heart that I just knew the Lord was going to do something. So I went forward for prayer at every opportunity. Jo prayed a powerful prayer for healing of the effects of burnout. The next day another member of her team, Kathi, led me through a time of deep inner healing. At the end of 24 hours, I could feel the whole condition lifting off me. I went forward to testify, which resulted in Jo praying a powerful prophetic prayer over me and my husband.
I encountered such power from the Lord that weekend that it was still with me for weeks afterwards. I was asked to give testimony in church some time later and here is some of what I said:
“It’s been hard to find the words, but it’s like the Lord took the top off my head and poured in his life...He’s still pouring in his life. The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus has come that we may have life, and life in abundance (John 10:10). So he’s been pouring in his life, and I’ve discovered as the days have gone on that he’s just simply rewired me….
Mentally I can now think clearly and process again. My speech is much better, I struggled with a stammer and then with what I would call a ‘drag’ on my words for quite some time. My body chemistry is more balanced again. Emotionally, I am stronger now. I have struggled with anxiety, bad panic attacks, and being in certain situations. This has all melted down, melted away; the peace of the Lord has returned. Joy has come - I don’t think I’ve known joy like this before. I’ve found my voice again, I wasn’t able to sing and really worship. My voice has returned, I’m loving singing. I find a prophetic voice is returning as well. I have a greater physical stamina. I am aware that I still need to build up, but I am so much stronger than I was, and I give all the glory, praise and thanks to our beloved Jesus.”
Well, I gave this testimony ten months ago. The Lord steadily continues to restore me, giving me time to adjust to being "normal" again. Jo and her team returned to England last March and the Lord met powerfully with me again at that conference. This time, it was more like a commissioning. Through Jo’s prophetic prayer and scripture, as well as directly from the Lord himself, I heard the same message: "the time is now." And "Freely you have received, now freely give" (Matt. 10:8).
Since then, Jo and the board of Agape Freedom Fighters have kindly accepted Alan & me to be part of the prayer ministry team. Five months ago, our Vicar asked Alan and me to join his staff team as honorary Staff Pastors. I am overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness, kindness and faithfulness.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20