**This is the sixth guest blog in a series of posts by the 2018 JuST Faith Summit speakers. Check back for new posts highlighting the critical topics that will be featured at this year’s Faith Summit. Join us, June 20-22 at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, for this exciting Summit. Visit this link to see the full agenda and lineup of speakers.
By Lexie LaVallee, Survivor Leader
“I am weary; exhausted with weeping. My throat is dry, my voice is gone, my eyes are swollen with sorrow and I’m waiting for you, God, to come through for me.” Psalm 69:3
That Psalm could have come from my own pre-teen heart as I was trafficked just across the street from my grandmother. I remember crying out to God in my heart for Him to save me as I looked out the window to the home where my family thought it was just another normal gathering. No one knew I was being raped by the teenager they had been trying to help, and that encounter would turn into a secret trafficking operation just doors down for the next 2-3 years.
I grew up in the Church, and didn’t understand why a God who parted seas, made food fall from the sky and healed people regularly wasn’t there for me. I prayed and cried out to my only hope, but what I wanted to happen (when I wanted it) did not. Have you ever had that happen? Prayed for a miracle, specific outcome, breakthrough, or rescue to only find your prayers fell on deaf ears? I am sure that many of you can relate to feeling that way, regardless of how different our stories, personalities, or beliefs may be.
As Christians, I feel like we face this all the time. Whether it’s our life or something happening around the globe we ask in agony “why?” That question can be a loaded gun to our faith and theology, but it’s driven by the deep wound of disappointment. I believe this is the most common wound the enemy uses to incapacitate us. Anger, unbelief, hurt, shame, guilt, confusion, distrust, and many other heavy emotions can all be wrapped up in disappointment. Feeling it is normal, but it’s what we do after that which will set the trajectory of our lives. It can taint your legacy, or be a launching pad.
For the vast majority of my life I lived in a state of disappointment. In myself, the people who were supposed to protect me, and although I would never admit such a thing, I was disappointed with God. My heart became hardened, and I became fully reliant on myself for provision and care. I 100% believed God was real, and I believed everything the Bible said was true. Just that it wasn’t for me. I felt that if I had been a blind man begging Him for healing, He would have passed me by. Not because I wasn’t worthy, but that I just didn’t matter as much as everyone else.
Here’s how I overcame the lies that bred disappointment: praise and worship.
My vibrant Church in Nashville (The Belonging Co.) really taught me how to do this. My pastors always said, “praise precedes miracles.” This was so contrary to my relationship with God. Just like I didn’t get praise until after I did something worthy of it, I thought it worked the same way for Him. Not that I wasn’t grateful or optimistic, but I never spoke life over the situations in my life that were bringing death to my spirit, mind, and body. I was just sitting around, waiting for Him to come through for me.
Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” And I began to wonder, what if I really meant the words I’m singing in Church. What would it look and feel like to believe it? To trust in His promises over my circumstances. Set aside my disappointment and walk in expectation. That’s what worship did for me. It shifted my heart from a place of unbelief to faith.
Here’s what that looked like in real life. There were a few songs that became anthems at different times. This is what they taught me.
- “Kind” by Amanda Cook taught me of the true character of God. I would listen to it to shift my perspective anytime I felt abandoned, hurt, angry, or punished. That’s not who He is and I knew it because there was so much scripture to back it up.
- “Good Good Father” by Kari Jobe shifted my belief that He wasn’t there for me. I have sung that over and over myself when things aren’t going well. “You are good. You are good. You are good.” Usually powerful prayer and praise flow from that place of trust and truth.
- “God of Miracles” by Jesus Culture grew my faith into really believing in and receiving healing. That it was just as much for me as it was for any of His other kids.
- “You’re Not Finished Yet” by Maggie Reed gave me hope. When situations were so beyond me and out of control. When I had to start taking medication daily for the STD I was left with after being trafficked, I sang the lyrics of this song as I took them every day. “Until I see your promise come. God with all I am, I’ll keep believing that you’re not finished yet. You’re not finished yet.”
- “God’s Great Dance Floor” by Chris Tomlin, “This is Living” by Hillsong Young & Free and “Zeal” by Henry Seely taught me about the fun, lightheartedness, and joy of God. I don’t think we experience that part of God enough. We come to the throne too serious sometimes. He created fun and He wants to have it with us. I found that stepping into that joy kicked depression and anxiety right in the pants and out of my life.
I am excited to teach more on this at Faith Summit and hope you’ll be there to worship beside me. I know there is a breakthrough and so much wisdom for you at this conference.