Nancy Lawshae – A Life Redeemed
I grew up with bedtime prayers and saying a standard prayer at table meals, but not in front of the TV. I have sweet memories of Mom gathering us kids together to say prayers which consisted of “Now I lay me down to sleep” with a heartfelt roll call. God bless Dad, God bless Maw and Dan and Tippy Dog and on and on until we couldn’t think of any more names. Sundays mornings meant getting dressed up in uncomfortable clothing and fixing hair and going to a church where the preacher slammed the podium and yelled his sermons that I tuned out. The church was beautiful but I was not connected in my heart. I did like going out to eat after church, though.
Mom took us to a Baptist Vacation Bible School to help us learn more about Jesus. One day all the kids gathered in the Sanctuary and the preacher asked us to hold up our hands if we wanted to ask Jesus into our hearts. I raised my hand in childlike faith. The preacher later had a one on one meeting with all who raised their hands in his office. The preacher said he saw me raise my hand and asked me why I accepted Jesus. “I don’t know.” my little 6 year old self said. Praise God I didn’t have to know why for the Lord to continue to woo me to Him.
At sixteen, I visited an Episcopal Church to impress a percussionist friend of mine and fell in love with the Episcopalian’s rich music and holy respect of the presence of Christ in the Sanctuary and the celebrations of a high church tradition. Christmas and Easter services were filled with “smells and bells”, i.e., the burning of incense and Sanctus bells ringing to draw our attention to Holy Communion prayers and Scriptures. All the crossing and genuflecting were all part of the beauty and pageantry that drew me into the mystery of this interactive spiritual drama being unfolded every Sunday. Some say using a prayer book is rote and becomes automatic, but I have come to realize the prayer book was my first in-depth experience of praying the scriptures out loud. I was baptized in the Episcopal church and a couple of years later, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at that same church when the Holy Spirit came sweeping through our nation during the early 1970’s. The youth group had been invited to participate in the last service of a special weeklong adult seminar studying the Holy Spirit. To all of our total awe-amazement, this service was anointed and God-led in a way we had never before experienced. Everyone who attended that service received the baptism of the Holy Spirit as we stood arm in arm around the altar, swaying and singing sweet songs to the Lord in pure worship, wrapped up in the Holy Holy Holy Presence of our Almighty Living God and Savior. My heart was captured and I found the amazing grace that would not only save my spirit, but ended up saving my physical life and mind as I struggled with chronic depression for many years.
I first began to have suicidal thoughts in college and developed a deep self-hatred that began to manifest itself with cutting and thoughts of suicide. My life was splitting in two as I hid my crazy thinking from those around me. In college I was active with a group of Holy Spirit filled and exuberant college friends. During this time the Lord gave me songs that expressed my spiritual walk with Him and I sang and witnessed at the local coffeehouse. My friends could see I was a moody kind of person as I would be sad or mad somewhat irrationally, but they did not know the depth of my desperation. As this veil of depression grew stronger over the years, I became aware of hearing several voices in my mind that created a dull roar in the background of my thinking. It was like having ringing in your ears that you can’t get away from, but you learn how not to pay attention to the constant sound in your ears. The Lord later showed me that I opened the door to depression and suicide when I had dabbled with “harmless” séances that were so popular years ago. Even as a spirit filled Christian, I was ignorant to the harm I was exposing myself to by exploring what I now call witchcraft play. Praise Jesus for His forgiving heart as He corrected me and led me to repent of this activity and He cleansed me of this sin. It was about twenty five years later before the Lord led me to a class where I learned about spiritual warfare and how to spiritually stand against the devil and his schemes. Through fighting with the tools of spiritual warfare, I became totally free of the root of suicidal depression that I suffered under for over 25 years. After casting out the root of witchcraft and depression in Jesus’ Mighty Name, I learned how to retrain my thinking by taking my thoughts captive to obedience to Christ. By the grace of God, I am now free of all extraneous inner voices and suicidal tendencies. I am his free daughter and the joy I have now is His joy and peace. The life I now live is His life living through me. Depression and ugly thoughts still come poking around from time to time, and sometimes the warfare against me is fierce because my victory is profound, but they have no hold on me. When I submit to God and pray with friends, those pesky principalities are required to flee in Jesus’ Name.
It is by God’s grace that I have been given the opportunity to minister with the Refreshing Winds Ministries. And it is through this ministry that the Lord began to heal my broken heart and show me the road that lead to my total healing from depression and suicide. And it is through Refreshing Winds that The Beacons came into being to lead worship for retreats and so much more.
These days Mom and I share a home and I am a member of Encourager Church. I love Bible studies and I have facilitated a Bible Study in my home for many years which has drawn me deeply into His Word. The Lord has blessed me with some writing ability and I have been inspired to write God Ponderings which are my personal life application meditations. I have a new passion for prophetic worship experiences where the focus of the song is the journey to God’s heart and taking others with me on the trip. Seeing the Lord move through The Beacon’s worship has always been one of my most pleasurable experiences and my heart delights in seeing people become free to express their love to God in music and movements. I pray the Lord will continue use our musical offerings to set captives free and heal hearts and minds and bring peace to the troubled. It is my prayer that the Lord will always be manifested in His glory and be honored and exalted in our worship. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!