Free Indeed

Abiding silently in the presence of God, have you ever just been in sheer awe of Him? Have you ever just
thought about His greatness, how mighty He is, yet still so loving and merciful? Do you think about all
the sinful things you have done that seem unforgiveable and how we do not deserve His goodness and

I absolutely have, and still do. I think about the goodness, kindness and faithfulness of God and sit in
utter awe of Him regularly. The fact that He saved me and continues to use every bit of my story for my
good and His glory is beyond my human understanding. I live in a continuous state of thanksgiving and
pray that I never take His enduring love and kindness for granted.

Last year, I was afforded the wonderful opportunity to travel to Arkansas for the first time and minister
to women recovering from addiction at John 3:17 Ministry. I did not know what I was walking into, yet I
knew with everything in me that I was supposed to go. I am so thankful for International Women’s
Ministries (IWM) for sending us, a team of seven women to minister to the residents and staff there. I
was able to share my story of alcohol addiction with the leaders there and encourage them to persevere
through the difficulties that life brings. Ashley encouraged them with a teaching from the Book of James
on perseverance that leads to wisdom. We went to minister and encourage them. Yet, I was greatly
blessed in return.

Because of the tender place in my heart for individuals struggling in addiction and those in recovery
from addiction, I feel called to minister to them whenever the opportunity arises. God has put this
strong desire in my heart that compels me to act! Because of my own story, I know the power of God’s
healing and deliverance from the strongholds of addiction. I know that our God wants all of us to be free
from addiction and all of the guilt and shame that accompanies it. He wants us fully free and walking in
the victory Christ won for us at Calvary 2000 years ago. I am compelled to encourage others to seek the
Lord, surrender their lives to Him and find the freedom only Christ can give.

This year, IWM sent a team of four to minister at John 3:17 Ministry. Our theme this year was
Restoration. This resonated with me in so many ways. We serve a God of restoration! He specializes in
taking all of our brokenness and making us brand new in Christ Jesus, better than we ever were before,
better than we could even possibly imagine. Women recovering from addiction need to be encouraged
in this. They need to fully embrace the power of the Living God to transform their hearts and minds to
be fully set free and walking in victory over addiction, fear, depression, anxiety, despair and
hopelessness. Whatever trauma they have experienced or burdens they may carry, the Lord calls us to
cast our burdens to Him and rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and
learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.    For my yoke is
easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

The Lord’s presence was felt so strongly that weekend. He met each one right where they were and
used us to bring messages of hope and encouragement to His daughters.

On Friday night, Ashley Nelson taught the leaders what it means to have resolve. As followers of Christ,
we must resolve to stand firm in our faith. We must resolve not to quit. On Saturday, one of the leaders
testified of how that message was just what she needed. She was very encouraged and thankful. There
were many testimonies of breakthroughs and a sense of God’s all-surpassing peace. God was moving
and it was palpable. We serve a faithful God, who knows every need and provides in a way that only He

Terry, Erin and I shared messages on Saturday with the residents and some of the leaders. It was a full
day of the Word, fellowship, prayer and worship. Our desire was for each woman to feel seen, heard
and loved. I believe this mission was accomplished. We want to support the efforts of this amazing
ministry that points women to Jesus and saves lives! Most importantly our prayer is the salvation of
their souls. Jesus came to set the captives free!

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
    because the LORD has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
  to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the LORD
    for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:1-3

Please join us in praying for this essential ministry and for each resident and staff member. May God
continue to grow the seeds that have been planted and watered and multiply them. May the
strongholds of addiction be broken, completely destroyed never to form again. May these women be
completely set free and all generations to come walk in the freedom of Christ!

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.    Now a slave has no permanent
place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:34-36

Father God, we give you praise today! We exalt your name on high! You are holy, loving and kind. You
are so worthy to be praised! Thank You Lord, for continued blessings over the work of IWM and the
missionaries and ministries we support. Thank You, Lord for allowing us to be a part of what you aredoing in the earth. Father, we lift up the staff and residents of John 3:17 Ministry and ask that you reveal
yourself in great and mighty ways. Lord, we pray that you renew the strength of the staff so that they
soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint. Father, draw the women near
to you, give them your peace. Show them your everlasting love and bring them to repentance through
your kindness that they may be saved. Set them fully free! Through Your Son, they may be free indeed!
In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen and Amen!

By Lanette Black, IWM Board Member and Secretary of the Board

Lanette Black

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