Testimony | A Story in Freedom
“Oh leave her. That’s just Katie. Let her do her thing and she’ll be fine in a minute.”
And then they’d leave. And she would realise that her anger meant that the people who were supposed to love her, supposed to teach her how to handle her emotions, supposed to represent the Father’s unconditional acceptance, would disappear the moment her anger bubbled out of their comfort zone.
As a child, this was the lesson her heart learned. As an adult, this resulted in a calm, composed exterior who couldn’t dare show a temper in the fear of being left alone. But the anger didn’t just go away. It stayed, festering under the surface of her constant pretence of peace and quiet. And every time a situation would poke her heart, the anger would whisper that convinced lie; “Shhh, don’t let me out. They can’t take it, they’ll leave you.”
At the School of Ministry, we have a session we like to call ‘Anger Day’. Dun dun dun! It is a day where we take the opporunity to embrace the emotions God gave us in a positive way and learn to include Him in them. A healthy response being: anger leading to forgiveness; forgiveness, leading to freedom.
Katie squeezed her eyes shut as Gordon was encouraging the students of School of Ministry to embrace their anger. God showed Katie a picture of a lion, stuck in a cage, running from one side to the other, ready, waiting to pounce, but unable to be free. Her heart knew instantly, that lion was her, and that cage was her anger. She had a destiny, a release of identity ready to break out of that cage. All it took was her saying yes…
“How am I supposed to get angry if I don’t know how?”
She tried to shout. Nope too awkward. Maybe try screaming? No way, people are watching me. I could just… not do anything? Sounds like a plan. So that's what she did.
But God didn’t just let up that easy. Whilst soaking in the tranquil House of Prayer, Katie couldn’t get that lion out of her head. “God I’m not angry! I don’t need to let anything out”.
“You used to be Katie, remember?” The gentle, clear voice of God kindly replied with a memory of 2 year old Katie. Screaming, shouting, banging her fists on the floor. Then everyone leaving. That quote going round and round in her mind. “Just leave her. That’s just Katie.” Over and over again.
Suddenly she realised what God was asking her to do. “I need to let the 2 year old me, let that anger out”.
It’s the next day. Katie is alone in her room. “Well this feels stupid” she thinks to herself as she stares at the soft landing of pillows and blankets she has carefully positioned at the other side of the room. It’s now or never. Her heart screaming yes to God, Katie throws herself at the floor, and suddenly, it’s as if she is two years old again. She thumps her fists against the carpet, kicking and shouting. In the midst of the noise, she releases her anger, and then forgiveness towards the people who left her. The people who couldn’t handle her two year old tantrums. Her shouts turn into sobs as she remembers the loneliness, the abandonment. She realises that she thinks if her parents couldn’t handle her anger, then neither can God.
Everything stops. There’s silence. She is vulnerable. Exhausted. Alone.
Then it came. Those three words that changed everything in that moment.
“I’m still here”.
She was loved through her tantrums. Accepted through her shouting. God held her and supported her through those fits of anger when Katie thought she was all alone. He had never left. He had never been scared off.
The lion was still pacing up and down the cage, this time more furious than ever. “How much do you want this lion out of this cage Katie? How much do you want your freedom? Do you really want this?”
“I want it!” The screaming wasn’t forced anymore. The lion started blazing fire and it jumped straight into the walls of the cage, consequently breaking them all down.
Katie’s lion was free.
God told her, her emotions were okay. That she was okay. He is never afraid of our anger, our emotions, our breakdowns. We can’t scare Him. We can’t offend Him with our processing. He loves us just as we are. He understands. He knows. He gets it.
No longer did Katie identify herself as ‘intense’, ‘overbearing’ or ‘over dramatic’. God has affirmed her, perfectly as who she is. She now walks in the freedom of her emotions, unashamed and confidently able to express how she feels. No more shame. No more fear. Just fearless acceptance of who she was made to be.