God Works For My Good by Megan McAllister
It has been a little over a month since I arrived in Duluth Minnesota for HLI and God has already been moving so powerfully. I have been experiencing growth, healing, and freedom. It has without a doubt, been the most difficult time in my life, but I am getting to see God work in my life and make me more like Him in amazing ways.
I remember when I first arrived in Duluth. My family had driven me up and my hopes were high. I was feeling confident, maybe a little too confident in my expectations of what the next nine months would be like. I envisioned my time at HLI to be somewhat easy, a time where I would grow closer to Jesus, most moments full of rainbows and sunshine. I thought I would instantly adapt to life in Duluth. I knew there would be hard times but I had been through hard times before and I felt that I was totally prepared. Well, things went differently than I imagined.
I still remember saying goodbye to my family. I remember crying and hugging them, not wanting to let them go. Not wanting them to go back home without me. A sense of dread overwhelmed me and my heart broke in a way I had never felt before. As soon as they left, I sobbed. I felt like I had made a huge mistake in coming to HLI.
I am really close with my family. I love them beyond words. My family has helped me experience more of Jesus. They have taught me, cared for me, and loved me so well. And Satan recognized this and began to attack me in that area of my life.
A couple weeks into HLI, I had a panic attack. I felt like I needed to go home immediately and be with my family in order to feel safe and to stop the fear from returning. This caused a lot of shame. I felt like it was wrong for me to miss my family so much. Shortly after my panic attack, Brenda Gatlin came to talk to us about the Kingdom of God. She spoke about heaven, and how our relationship with God and people will be perfected. I felt myself tearing up as she talked about heaven. We will live with God and our families forever. After class, I asked for prayer and shared that I was struggling with bad anxiety. I remember Brenda saying that it was normal to have the feelings I was experiencing. That I needed to give myself grace because I am very close with my family and I just moved away from them for the first time.
As we prayed, God shone a spotlight on lies that Satan had been telling me. The enemy was telling me the lie that I was no longer a part of my family. That my family is somehow a bad thing. He was twisting around scripture, where God calls His disciples to leave their family to follow Him. I felt like in order to have a true relationship with Jesus and to get closer to Him, that I needed to totally forget my family and not rely on them for anything. That it would be wrong to talk to them or miss them as much as I did.
Through this experience God began to show me that my family is a blessing and that He put them in my life for a reason. God has been saying that even though I am far away, He is going to bring my family and I closer. He is going to teach me how to love my family even more. God is also showing me that He is so proud of me and even though there are times that I desperately struggle, He sees me as His beloved daughter in whom He is well pleased.