On LIFE TODAY this Tuesday, Polly Wright tells her story of childhood abuse that led to dancing in strip clubs as a young adult, and the freedom she later found in Christ. In her book Cherished, she relates the moment at a Christian camp when Jesus met her in an intimate and eye-opening encounter.
My friend Mary, head coach of the varsity team and one of the founders of the athletic association, has an incredible heart for ministry. Her ministry reaches into the depths of others’ hearts, guiding them to truly know and hear God. This camp was like no other camp I’d ever been to growing up. Yes, we had bonfires and lots of mountain climbing, but there was a Kingdom focus, a God focus, beyond anything I had ever been a part of before.
The family room at the Lodge is cozy; the walls are made of wood, the way a “mountain lodge” should be. We gathered there to worship – and to hear God. I’d never worshiped like this! These women sang with their hands raised in the air and even jumped around. They looked like crazy women to me. (I’ll have you know, I am one of those “crazy women” now!)
I would sit in the back of the room during worship, listening to several songs with my arms firmly at my sides. Sometimes I would clap and sing, but I was really watching the other women (and some of the girls) worship so freely. This was all new to me. We didn’t worship like this in our church.
We would then move into a lesson of some sort that was based on hearing and seeing God, and asking Him what He says about you and what is true is about you. I learned what strongholds are – and how to break them.
The Bible says that strongholds are “arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). In other words, God says one thing about you – “You are precious, lovable, valuable, and worthwhile” – and the stronghold says something else. These strongholds are the lies we have believed!
This is when a new life of seeing and hearing God in a different way began. For many years, God had been preparing me for this through wonderful Bible studies, precious friends, and sermons at our church. He’d also been preparing me every time I had read and heard what God said through His word.
And we talked about this little word that holds so much power: lie.
We sat around the living room with music playing softly in the background. Mary began to lead us in finding our “secret place” with the Lord. Secret place? Yes, a secret place is a meeting place for just you and Jesus. Let me tell you about the first time that Jesus and I met in our secret place.
Following her suggestions, I asked Jesus where He would like to meet with me. Immediately, I was under a big huge oak tree in the middle of a beautiful field. And there, right there under the oak tree, was Jesus. And there I was, right there with Him, actually laying against His chest. It wasn’t in a romantic way, but rather in a Daddy way; He was holding me the way a father would hold his little girl.
I looked up at Him; and for the first time ever, I saw His eyes – beautiful, radiant eyes. They smiled at me. His eyes actually smiled at me! Oh, my word!
His eyes. I saw all of Jesus for the first time – and He saw me. I had never felt anything like that in my life! The love, acceptance, and forgiveness in His eyes were almost overwhelming.
Led by Mary, I asked, “Jesus, what do You love about me?”
He held my face in His hands and spoke words to me.
“You are My joy, Polly.”
“Polly Anna…” He held my face tenderly as I gazed into His eyes. “You are worth more to me than rubies and gold. I delight in you, and I love you.”
I knew it was true because He told me so! For the first time, I was able to hear the truth about myself. It was different than anything I’d ever heard. This truth was more real than any voice that had ever spoken to me, whether in my head or not.
This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
This is an excerpt from Cherished: Shattered Innocence. Restored Hope by Polly Wright. Copyright ©2013 by Polly Wright. Published by Authority Press.