The River Healed my Heart

Smith Wigglesworth once said, “A River of water is always an emblem of the Word of God, the Water of life, and so when the Holy Spirit comes, He clothes and anoints the Christ who is already indwelling the believer. So when you are filled with the person of the Holy Spirit, then the breath, the power, the unction, the fire of the Spirit takes hold of the Word of Life, which is Christ. God wants to fill you with that divine power so that out of you will flow living waters.”

Although I had read this, I never dreamed, imagined, thought or asked for the healing and blessings that the Lord has so graciously brought into my life the last two years.

It was in July of 2000 that I began to really understand that God loved me simply because I was his child and that He wanted me to experience an overflow of His Fatherly love, healing and deliverance so that I could pass it on to others.

In 2000, my husband, Crawford, and I had been invited to come to TACF for four weeks to minister to some of the pastoral couples on staff. Since we both had had a desire to visit Toronto, we were quite excited about the opportunity and planned our visit so that we would be attending the Bride of Christ Conference in July and then be there for four more weeks to minister. Being in the conference was like being in another dimension of God’s love, grace, intimacy and power like I had never experienced before.

I quickly found out why it was called “being in the River.” I tried to let go and yield to what was happening because I knew that there was healing and transformation going on in my body, soul and spirit, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was specifically. Three images now come to mind. It was like walking in fresh rain that continually cleansed me. And it was also like drinking clear, purified water that quenched my thirst. There were also times I felt as though I were floating weightlessly in a stream of untainted water that carried me with its flow.

I didn’t want it to be over now that I had had a fresh drink from the River. The River had shown me how dry I was, and I didn’t want to go back. I realized later that “it” was not over but that I was being filled with an impartation of the Father’s love that went with me. In 1980 I had been “born again” and filled with the Spirit, but somehow the flames of fire that had been ignited in me at that time had begun to burn down to a flicker. After the Bride of Christ Conference in Toronto, I had received a new touch from the Holy Spirit. I knew that the fire was being rekindled and with that rekindling my soul and spirit were being healed.

The River Revived Our Ministry

As we began to counsel the pastor couples at TACF in the weeks to come, I noticed that I now had new boldness and compassion. I saw them now like they were my own spiritual children and with the Holy Spirit’s directions, I was confronting their sins, making adjustments, releasing forgiveness and pouring into them a mothering heart of love that I had not realized was their before. Crawford had such a revelation of the Father’s love that he started passing out adoption papers to all of the couples we ministered to, and we found fulfillment in a new role as spiritual parents. Before leaving Toronto, we were invited to come back to minister to more of the staff in January of 2001. Of course, we accepted and looked forward to coming back.

On returning home, we found that our schedule was beginning to fill up with pastors who needed help spiritually, emotionally and physically. We were busier than ever, watching the Father pour in love and healing.

Back For More

When January 2001 arrived, we scheduled our visit to TACF around the Pastor’s Conference. On our way there, I determined in my heart to really dive into the River and allow the Holy Spirit to continue to refresh me once again and receive all that He had for me. I had become so thirsty for more of the Lord and so ready for change.

I felt the Father was opening the door for a deeper healing for me and I wanted all that I could get.

Little did I know what God had in store. In Biblical typology, eight is the number of new beginnings, and it was January in 2001 that TACF was celebrating her eighth year of revival. That seemed very significant to me, but I didn’t realize how significant it was until Pastor John Arnott began to teach a message called “Hindrances to Receiving More From the Holy Spirit” on the first night of the Pastor’s Conference.

My ears perked up immediately. I was there to receive, and I didn’t want any hindrances, so I began to ask the Lord to show me what my hindrances were. One of the hindrances that John spoke about was ungodly control, a bitter enemy of the Holy Spirit. Then he reminded us how pride and fear block humility that is so important in receiving. Fear is another enemy of faith that will short circuit our blessings and block the things of God.

There were many other hindrances on John’s list that night, but by the time I heard about control, pride and fear the Holy Spirit was already taking me back to childhood issues, showing me why it was hard for me to receive. As John brought his message to a close, he asked for all those who felt they had hindrances to receiving more from the Holy Spirit to come down front for prayer. My right foot was already out in the aisle before he finished his sentence, and I was among the first few to arrive at the altar. As soon as John laid hands on me and began to pray, I lost control and the Holy Spirit took over.

I remember falling to the floor and at one point in a foetal position as the Holy Spirit began to do surgery on the heart of the little girl inside of me. That little girl longed to feel free to play and have fun, but as the oldest of five siblings felt she always had to be serious and in control to make sure everyone was safe. Each time Carol Arnott said “more Lord” in my ear, I could feel my body yielding more and God spoke healing to my heart. As the Holy Spirit continued to work, John would walk by me and touch his toe to my foot. My leg would go straight up in the air. I felt completely out of control and so undignified. I couldn’t help but think of my reputation.

In spite of that, I noticed two fears leaving me: the fear of making a fool of myself in front of people and the fear of being humiliated. I lost all awareness of where I was and just began to have fun with the Holy Spirit. The fun lasted until after 11:00 P.M. I came back into some measure of reality to discover that I had been on the floor for several hours and that almost everyone had gone home but friends who were waiting for me and a few others who were still caught up in what the Holy Spirit was doing. The Holy Spirit’s presence brought healing to me that night that was very real and is continuing to show fruit in me personally and in our ministry to others to this day.

The Healing Affects My Life

My children, who have known me as a serious super mom, are telling me now that as they see me interacting with my grandchildren, they love my inner child that has finally come out to play. I’m freer to laugh at myself when I mess up. As a little girl I was humiliated and laughed at in the sixth grade for mispronouncing a word. Now I have been healed of the fear of man and am able to speak in public.

In 1980, I had gone to a prophetic counselor for healing regarding inner pain over some issues with my dad. Before I left her office she said to me “just as Jesus called his twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness, He has given you that same authority and is calling you to heal the sick and cast out demons.” Since casting out demons was not a common topic in the Methodist church that I was attending at the time, I began to seek the Lord as to how He was going to cause this word to come to pass. I didn’t know much about what He was calling me to do and surely didn’t know how to do it myself. Over the years, I’ve received many prophetic words about healing and deliverance and the Lord has put me in the right places at the right time to be taught, trained and activated to minister to the body of Christ. In 1994, I joined Chester and Betsy Kylstra in their counseling ministry called Restoring the Foundations.

I traveled alone for many years counseling and training counselors in churches before the Lord sent me my husband, Crawford. He is my companion, lover, friend and ministry partner. I was thinking that I didn’t need a man, but the Lord knew better, and I have found that He was right as usual. Crawford had been a pastor and in ministry for 50 years when we met. His vision and heart’s desire was to help set pastors free so that they could minister more effectively to the body of Christ. I had trained many pastors through Restoring the Foundation Ministries and in ministering to them saw the many hurts and wounds they had not only from their families of origin but from the body of Christ. My heart went out to them.

Seeing that we had similar visions, the week after Crawford and I returned from our honeymoon we began to counsel couples. Everywhere we went, we would receive a word from the Lord about going to the nations and being vessels of healing and deliverance. We could never figure out how that was going to happen, so we stopped trying. Now the Lord has fulfilled his word. Not only are we going to nations, but the nations are coming to us. Our schedule stays filled six to seven months ahead, and we’re referring people to other counselors that we have trained and who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

Crawford and I are now scheduling healing weeks with pastors from all over the world who are becoming part of our extended family. We get calls every week astounded at how they found us on the other side of the world. When they come and stay in our home, we never cease to be amazed at how freedom and wholeness come to the body, soul and spirit through the Father’s love and the Holy Spirit’s fire. Each time we see the Holy Spirit work in those to whom we minister, we also receive another measure of healing ourselves.

Never have we felt so fulfilled and so blessed in ministry.

It’s not because we’re striving to earn it but because we’re learning to surrender more and more to the Holy Spirit. We give glory to God for the ever flowing River and to Jesus who came to destroy the works of the enemy, heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds.