The Power of the Living Word of God

A sketch in response to the Velvet Ashes’ Retreat Transforming Trust that asked us to draw our current life as a house. In each part of the house you can see me praying and worshipping God. I realized how God has brought and still is bringing
me such freedom in my own home to love and serve Him wholeheartedly, since leaving my church. My heart is becoming undivided. God is freeing me to sing worship songs openly, pray aloud and witness freely from my new heart and faith in my God, not just outside my home with complete strangers, but now also with my (hungry and thirsty for His Word, His intercession and His love and grace) family and friends.

Today, I have been sitting with the One Words God gave me to guide each year of my life since 2015, the year after He picked me up out of the thorn bush of my accuser to carry this Prodigal (means: lavishly loved 😊) child of His home. And it struck me yet again how powerful the Living Word of our God truly is. There’s so much more I could add to each year, but this will do for now. So here you go: a tiny peek into that power of our God to transform each one of us, from glory to glory. May we all continue to taste and see the goodness of our God in the sure and steadfast anchor of our Jesus: the Living Word of God

My One Words each year

2015: Choose
2016: Behold
2017: Joy
2018: Delight
2019: Chazaq: strengthen/bind to the LORD
2020: Go
2021: Celebrate
2022: Prepare & Wake Up

2015: I CHOOSE Jesus (life/His sacrifice for me/His Word to me)
The year I hosted the Community Bible Study in my home through the 40 days of Lent in which we read through the New Testament together via the little English-speaking Anglican church, I attended weekly. Also the year I read through the whole Bible myself, wrestling with God through parts that scared me and parts I felt condemned, as not belonging to Him. Also the year my English-speaking Anglican church’s vicar’s wife visited me with her kids almost weekly, encouraging me in the Word and praying with me through so much.

The year Complex-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder hit me, as God uncovered the trauma of my mother’s final days in the writing of Laments in prayer. In the throes of horrific flashbacks of my mother’s suffering and deteriorating body (that I had bathed daily) I wanted to die, but Jesus arose in power in me to deliver me from my sin, fear and death, compelling me to choose Him – LIFE. As I turned my anger toward Him, He opened my heart to His Word to me, bathing me in His sure and steadfast Promises.

The year I also went through EMDR therapy and saw Jesus fulfill the very Promises I layed before Him in anger, in beautiful visions I will never ever forget. He took my memories of death, trauma and disease and exchanged them for fresh visions of eternal life, healing and wholeness.

The year I moved churches, obeying God’s sweet promptings to trust in His Presence walking with me, before me and behind me. Now, our girls could often go with me, as the services were in the morning and not in the evening. Often I also served in Sunday school, being privileged to read the Word of God to my daughters and the other little kids, to see and love those others couldn’t and to be so encouraged in hearing a father’s testimony of coming to the LORD, through watching his (future) wife’s faith, and in response diving into the Bible to meet the light and love of Jesus there.

2016: I BEHOLD (look for/pay attention to/seek) Jesus
The year I began to step out in trust, like Peter, upon the waves to walk toward my Jesus, when He called out to me, only to find myself drowning as I looked at the storm and to my own lack. But there Jesus caught me by His grace – reminding me my sufficiency is in HIM alone.

Also the year I was invited to serve in my church’s Moms’ group – at coffee mornings for kids and mothers, in taking turns leading the praise and worship mornings for Moms and preschool kids with a woman who became such a precious friend to me (as unlike many others at my church she chose to openly share about her past and her growing love for Jesus and her awakening to the Holy Spirit’s touch), and in writing a regular Mama column for the church magazine and seeing my older mentor in faith be so encouraged by my Prodigal testimony to God’s love and faithfulness and the power of God’s Word and Promises to us as parents.

The year I began praying Scripture over myself and my family and watching God answer in powerful ways. This prayer began to be my go to prayer: “Teach me to walk in the light of Your truth and give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your Name above all else.” and these: search me and know my heart, humble me, oh LORD.

Also the year God had me share my Prodigal journey home in a book and on my blog (where I also invited others to share their stories and testimonies and books telling of the compassion, mercy and miraculous power of our God).

I also obeyed God’s call to attend a discipleship course at my church (where a guest teacher took me aside to tell me I had a prophetic gifting and to seek to grow in it). I also attended Mary DeMuth’s one week writer intensive at the YWAM base in Switzerland, where I am bathed in prophetic encouragement and the deep compassion and love of Jesus that I was sorely missing at my own church at the time. One of these prophecies speaks of me publishing a book of poetry. I laugh as I haven’t written a poem since I was 20.

I also step out in my giftings of intercession and words of knowledge/prophecy to share Jesus with strangers in a train, in my local forest and with fellow church members I didn’t yet know, to be baptized and to share my testimony openly at my church – watching so many be visibly touched, transformed and healed by the Spirit of God at work in and through me.

2017: I take JOY (acknowledge and praise God for His grace to me) in Jesus
The year I arose in the finished work of the Cross:
– by interceding for my pastor (and going through more healing by God in the process, from childhood trauma and abuse, as I took my laments to Him through repeated rejection and wounding)
  – by pouring out my heart in poem upon poem of Lament through which God spoke the truth of His love, compassion and grace over me and His whole Body
– by leaving my church that denied the finished work of the Cross through its freedom course that bound the most vulnerable in legalism and condemnation.

This was the year I came face to face with my own weakness and inability. Once again I found myself bowing before my idols, as I did as a kid: choosing to sit amongst and partake in evil. But God delivered me: firmly rebuking me by calling me to leave my church, repent of my bowing down to my idols of self, of church, church ministry and of church leadership, and to arise in His love and forgiveness for me.

The night I let my church know I was leaving I put praise and worship music on and sung my heart out, praising God through tears. As I did so God brought an elderly neighbor to my heart and a hymn to sing to her. I rung her doorbell the next morning to sing that hymn as she burst into tears, telling me she was a believer also. We became friends, as we discovered we had such similar stories- of believers deeply wounding family members, of caring for loved ones through cancer, of experiencing flashbacks of horror from that caregiving, of caring for our siblings in our mothers’ inability to do so. God gave me genuine local church family outside the four walls of a church, redefining who His Body is for me, also as online friendships begin to grow and flourish in the Spirit of God with fellow bloggers, who have become as family to me in the last few years.

2018: I DELIGHT (have my wounded and weary feet exposed and bathed and tended to) in Jesus
The year I invited others to join me in sharing their own testimonies of their Prodigal wandering and their children’s Prodigal wandering, and God’s power to save, forgive and heal us all, at belovedprodigal.com (a blog I later deleted). These were testimonies that also blessed, healed and set me free of more sin and pain.

It was also the year I visited a Rend Collective concert and wept and wept as Jesus bathed me in His compassion through the song: “Weep With Me”, as I felt Jesus weep with me, as my heart broke for all my loved ones, who have been wounded in our churches, as they have sought the love, grace and compassion of Jesus.

It was also the year I prayed Isaiah 58 (MSG) over myself and my family. I was especially convicted and cleansed of these sins: not “being available to [my] own famil[y]”, “quit blaming victims” and “quit gossipping about other people’s sins”.

It was also the year trauma triggers had a field day with me and I went back into therapy, where God exposed so much sin and hiding, especially toward my immediate family members. God began to restore and redeem so much, as I came into the light, with my therapist’s encouragement to apologize to my husband for pushing him away and hiding my deep pain, grief and the horrific spiritual abuse I had walked through in churches from him.

I began to see and admit how in choosing to stand in my own strength and pride, I had hurt those I loved most, the most deeply.  I saw how, after leaving my little Anglican church, where I was fully loved and accepted as a sister-in-Christ by my vicar and his wife, I had repeatedly sought love and acceptance in Pentecostal churches (the denomination of my childhood). But the members (in leadership positions) of these churches could not see or receive Jesus and His Word in me because of my Prodigal past and weakness (PTSD). I falsely believed that without their love and acceptance, I didn’t belong to Jesus.

So deeply grieved by how I hurt others as I stood in my own strength and self-righteousness, I begin to pray for Jesus to keep me weak that He might be my only strength:

Keep me ever weak before You

That You might be my Strength

My Cup, My Portion.



Keep me needy on my knees

That I might know You ever more

Your life, Your grace, Your love for me.



Keep me humble

Casting here my burdens

Upon the One who saves.



Keep me thankful

Remembering all You've done

And all You've promised true.



Keep me breaking

Bread from heaven falling

Not hoarding, but in partaking gift.



Keep me pouring

My heart like water

Panting after nothing, but Living Water.



Keep me seeing

Your hand upon

Your sovereign rule and reign.



Keep me learning

My heart here open

To Your perfect leading.



Keep me safe

Within your boundaries

Not stepping there beyond.



Keep me leaning

All my weight

Upon my Lord and Savior

That I might live each day

Forever in Your holy Presence



Keep me: YOURS.

2019: I CHAZAQ (strengthen) myself in Jesus (the Living Word), binding myself to Him and allowing Him to purify me, so my trust in myself is fully stripped away, and my trust in Jesus alone can become visible to those around me.

This is the year I shared more of my testimony at a new online address – FlamingAbundance.com (now deleted)- I opened up. There, I also begin, in March of 2019, a podcast – Treasures in the Sands – with my friend Bettie, as we openly share of our childhood and adult wounding in churches and God’s (continued) healing of us.

Bettie opens this with: “Today begins a new step with God’s help. My dear friend, Anna Smit, and I have felt the nudging from the Lord to release the first episode of our podcast, “Treasures in the Sands.”  And while we both feel that we come stumbling into this process, we are rejoicing over the beauty that the Lord has allowed us to see in HIMSELF.”

This is also the year I join The Presence Project online led by Reverend Summer Joy Gross. Here, God’s compassion flows into my childhood years. Reverend Summer speaks on the different stages in childhood when trauma can cause particularly deep wounding in us, because of what is already going on in our bodies.

She grieved with me, as I shared of moving countries, losing friends, culture shock and experiencing spiritual and emotional abuse in my home and elsewhere, when I was in one of these most vulnerable childhood stages.

God also gave me the opportunity to share more snippets of my testimony and invite others to share their own testimonies with me and the group, as Summer gave me the honor and privilege, even in my broken, hurting state, to serve as a Table Host, until I felt God call me to lay down Facebook and all other social media outlets.

This is a year I spent hours and hours in prayer and in the Word, as I stepped away from social media. This is the year I found myself groaning in deep anguish and prayer for my former pastor and his family (who I had interceded for in my last months at my church) – to find out later that that this heart-wrenching prayer for mercy arose in me, when they were told to leave my former church that denied the Cross.

This is the year I surrendered the final friend from my former church into Christ’s hands, trusting in God’s power to save us both and to redeem us both. God compelled me to speak up and confront her withdrawal from me, as He covered me in Kaylene Yoder’s spiritual warfare prayers, reminding me that even if others reject me, He has not and will not.

I wrote this poem below, right before God asked me to let her go, as her honest sharing revealed her inability to see me and love me as God does, and our breaking then revealed my own inability to see her and love her as God does her also.

Be My Savior 

Show me, LORD

How to humble myself
To lay myself down
To allow my friends
To lower me down 
To meet Your healing 
And health for my bones.

Show me, LORD
How to forgive 
What I cannot forget 
To receive those 
Who have turned me away
Again and again.

Show me, LORD
How to love freely
And release my anger
My fear
And control.

Become my Savior 
And take over in me
Become forgiveness in me
Love growing in me
Lay me down.

Become my surrender 
My lowering down through a roof
My trust
My faith
My healing
And health to my bones.

Be not just my teacher 
But my Way
My Truth
My Life
My All.

Take over
And humble me
Beneath Your mighty hand
That I might cry with You 
In one accord:

“Take this cup from me
But if not
Then not my will
But Yours be done.”

This is also the year God took His forgiveness deeper in me, for both me and for those who had hurt me in the past, as in my separation from all triggers of trauma, His Word bathed me in the truth of my and each of my surrendered friends’/pastors’ belonging, acceptance and worth in Him.

2020: I GO, departing in His Name, from the old of my knowing, to bear fruit that abides in Christ’s knowing.

I step out in trust to offer free writer education to help children better express themselves and peform better academically at high schools. Despite much enthusiasm shown by my former Professor at the University of Amsterdam, who offered me advice, and by the high school I taught at for six years, through corona lock-downs and school struggles all doors are closed on me.

But then in December, my old school calls to offer me a part-time job doing what I used to do before PTSD hit: teaching International Baccalaureate English Language and Literature to one class of seniors five hours a week, to help cover a maternity leave of one of their staff. I say no, but the lady insists I take the weekend to think about it. So, I do and lay it before the LORD in prayer. He reminds me of my Promise to walk through any open door He provides for me, even if it doesn’t fit with my plan or expectations. So, I agree to the job and start in January the next year.

This is the year I join an online Bible study with a group of women, many of whom are adoptive Moms, like my own Mum was, and one of whom who was a missionary kid (MK) when she was little, like me. Their stories give me an even deeper love, grace and compassion for my own Mum, through her struggles and human failings to love my little brother through his trauma in the way he needed to be loved.

And the previous MK like me, showers me in compassion, as she tells her own stories from her youth and the healing she is still walking through, after being fed the Bible as a rule book as a kid, rather than as the Living Word of God. She also encourages me to open my mouth to share my own story and all God is laying on my heart to share with the group, whether those present can receive it or not.

2021: I CELEBRATE all Jesus has done in me and my life.

I open ShalomAleh.com, pouring out testimony upon testimony (my own and friends’) to God’s peace and healing. Bettie and I begin publishing the book we began writing together in 2017: Arise and Shine- Beloved You are Mine (published on this blog). I publish my Prodigal story, originally written to be published in book format, including my more recent healing. I publish a book of poetry and Scriptural blessings online also.

A few weeks into this year, and my teaching again, I end up in hospital, rushed there in an ambulance because of chest pain and my family doctor suspecting heart trouble based on my family history. Nothing is found and I am sent home, not really worried, putting the pain down to something else.

I continue teaching and the pain flares again, while I am running home from the forest. I go back to my family doctor who assures me it’s probably all fine, because the hospital found nothing but that I could call the hospital if I am worried. I do so immediately and face the same nonchalent response, but insist on more testing.

In the meantime, I choose to speak up with what God asks me to in the online Bible group. When one well-respected member cannot receive what I share, and I experience intense trauma triggers, God asks me to leave the group, which I do.

Additional heart testing is done but again nothing is found, but unlike previously, a young cardiologist takes notice of me and calls me, asking me how I am doing and telling me he suspects, based on my unusual symptoms (pain occurring in rest) I have a condition that can only be diagnosed with a catheritisation, but that he feels I am much too young to face such an invasive procedure, so he would prefer to treat me without a firm diagnosis, with pills they give people with this condition he suspects I have.

I agree to this, until after months, and additional testing showing nothing yet again, my condition worsens and he agrees to refer me to an academic study in Amsterdam that could help me get a definitive diagnosis: which it does in November (ten months after I was first admitted to hospital).

In the meantime, I finish my teaching job in June (as agreed: when the other teacher returned from her maternity leave), even with the heart trouble and added stress, being able to continue to the end and enjoy doing so. I particularly enjoy working one on one and in small groups online with several girls in the class, who are so motivated to learn and grow, as they prepare to write their essays. The class also expresses how helpful my written individual feedback (which took me a lot of time to give) was to them.

And I take great joy in being able to bless my two colleagues, who I worked closely together with through all the corona upheavals: being able to give them what I so often sorely missed as a teacher (someone who saw the work I put in and encouraged me in word and deed). Even through a colleague’s initial misunderstanding of my kind intentions toward her, I learnt afresh to stand in the truth, to boast in my weakness, to reject shame and to forgive her and my own weakness freely and wholly.

2022: I PREPARE myself in Jesus, in prayer and the Word, to WAKE UP, by His Spirit, unto His purposes for me.

My heart condition worsens. I begin to experience repeated triggers of trauma, in a friendship, that also directly impacts my heart. God calls me to break apart this friendship of 19 years, giving me such indescribable deep peace as I do so. My husband and the Scriptures God places before me, affirm the decision, as good and right, even as I begin to struggle (through horrific triggers of trauma that shame and condemn me as evil). I receive God’s call and grace to now surrender my friend’s (and my own) care fully and wholly into His hands.

In the meantime, shortly before this breaking apart, I begin my volunteer job, visiting an elderly woman, who suffers from a chronic neurological condition. God reveals her as His hand picked instrument to bless and heal me of so much. As she shares her childhood story of horrific spiritual abuse, He emboldens me to share my own story and newborn faith boldly with her and to invite her into praying with me for ourselves, our families and our friends. Each week I go, I see more and more of God’s love, compassion and grace not just for her, but for me too (in my past and present) – as I am watching Him heal us both (and our loved ones), physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

I visit my husband’s family in San Francisco, and my family and my childhood friend of 30+ years and her family in New Zealand in July and August. God’s kindness to me there, as I feel the unconditional love and warmth and encouragement of my family, leads me to so much repentance, as I begin to trust God’s intentions toward me again as being good and pure, even in my friendship breaking and my heart flaring.

I join a Velvet Ashes email Connect group, as I have in previous years. But this time I shine the light on my fears and insecurity – admitting I struggle to trust church goers and how I expect the worst but don’t want to. The sharing of another member on forgiveness, has me remember what Corrie ten Boom said: that we can forgive through the love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, when we feel like we can’t in and of ourselves. I realize expecting the worst of church goers means I haven’t fully forgiven what was done to me and that I am still holding onto bitterness, so I claim the Promise Corrie spoke of and ask God to become my love for and forgiveness of His Body.

I begin honoring my body as a Temple of the Holy Spirit, changing my diet, beginning intermittent fasting again and doing pilates daily. I find these decisions and new habits being installed and kept effortlessly as God’s grace empowers me to love myself as He loves me. Once again, I find God place strangers before me, who pour out their life stories to me and invite me to share my own, as I tell them about Jesus and His love and compassion and grace for me. I also find myself singing worship songs, praying, sharing testimonies to God’s goodness and His Word more freely in my home, as I watch Jesus unfold Himself and His love through us all.

When I face a trigger of past trauma, my husband gives me a book to read: David Goggins’ Can’t Hurt Me. As I read his story, I begin weeping because I recognize parts of my own story.

I feel Jesus seeing my heart and loving and healing that little girl who thought her God had abandoned her, through the horror of spiritual abuse. The hypervigilance holding my body captive dissolves as tears fall down my face and I tell my husband how deeply the book touched me, as he tells me: yes, when I read that bit about his childhood it made me think of what you went through also.

God opens email communication up with the friend I broke apart from, wherein He reveals the beauty and absolute necessity of my obedience to His will and the fruit it has brought to us both and still is today. For now, we are loving each other in Christ from afar, as we both begin to heal in an even deeper way from so much (childhood and adult) spiritual abuse, as we now re-learn to lay our weakness bare to each other and others, and to receive and give each other and others God’s compassion and grace in a deeper way.

Through His grace and compassion to me in this friendship breaking apart and now being put back together in Christ, God has helped me to fully release the condemnation I had been clinging to, for my own partaking of evil at my former church, as I applied the false teaching upon others, hurting them also. He compelled me to come into the light of His love and grace for me, as I finally confessed these sins I was most ashamed of, freely on my blog and to my husband also, to share not just half my testimony, but my full testimony to God’s love, compassion and grace for me, and for us all.

Yes, to believe and have faith is ALL Christ’s doing – His free and perfect gift to us:

[The Masai elder] pointed out that the word my Masai catechist, Paul, and I had used to convey faith was not a very satisfactory word in their language. It meant literally ‘to agree to.’ I, myself, knew the word had that shortcoming. He said ‘to believe’ like that was similar to a white hunter shooting an animal with his gun from a great distance. Only his eyes and his fingers took part in the act. We should find another word. He said for a man really to believe is like a lion going after its prey. His nose and eyes and ears pick up the prey. His legs give him the speed to catch it. All the power of his body is involved in the terrible death leap and single blow to the neck with the front paws, the blow that actually kills. And as the animal goes down the lion envelops it in his arms (Africans refer to the front legs of an animal as its arms) pulls it to himself, and makes it part of himself. This is the way a lion kills. This is the way a man believes. This is what faith is.

Vincent Donovon, Christianity Rediscovered, p.62-63
The final birthday card my Mama wrote for me with her shaky hand, less than two months before going home to Jesus.

2 Comments

  1. Dear Anna, it’s so powerful to see the way that God moved through those words He gave you! And I love that sketch He gave you of your home, His dwelling place. Praise God for the openness and joining love He has brought to you all! And praise God for the ways that He has woven our lives together, across all the miles, to show forth His transforming love in the midst of our weaknesses. Love you dear sister!

    Like

    1. Amen. God truly knows what our hearts need and desire most: Jesus and His undivided and whole heart of love and affection toward us and toward others. So thankful for His love to me through you all these years. One day we shall get to have that hug! 😊😍

      Liked by 1 person

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