My Immanuel Approach Story Part 3

I shared previously how I had a wonderful Immanuel Approach session with Vivian.  We ended up not having enough time for me to have a session. She had said that she did not want to just be the recipient and take from me, but she also wanted to give.  So we arranged a time for me to get together with her so that she could facilitate.

I handed the one page summary of how to facilitate the Immanuel Approach to Vivian and I prayed.  She simply followed the sheet and things flowed wonderfully.  First I shared a memory of feeling connected to Jesus.  I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to work on, but a stream of memories came where I invited Jesus to be present.  In spite of the fact that someone in the other room was talking on the phone really loud and in some ways my attention was split, I was able to enter into these memories and feel Jesus presence very strongly. Vivian’s natural ability to express unconditional love and acceptance helped me to feel safe as well.  It was as if we were both feeling the presence of Jesus with me sharing my experiences and her hearing about them.  The atmosphere was charged with love and warmth and timelessness.  I was astonished at how real Jesus was in each memory and the kinds of things he said and did in my hurting times.

After I shared, Vivian gave her insights as to what had happened. I now can not remember what she shared briefly, but I felt nurtured, heard and validated.  She enjoyed being there for me in this loving way as much as I enjoyed being the receiver.

Vivian was going to be out of town for five weeks but she said, “When I come back I want to do this every week until I go back home.”  I was over joyed to hear that she wanted to connect with Jesus and me in this way.  She has not returned yet but I look forward to more healing time.

I have since done a bit more research about Immanuel Approach and have connected with the teacher, Jessica Handy who I hope to visit when I visit Reba Place Fellowship.  I plan on introducing this my friends who I fellowship with.  I have heard marvelous things about the Immanuel Approach, and have now experienced it for myself.




My Immanuel Approach story: Part 2

Vivian and I first took a leisurely walk with her son and we connected once again and felt very comfortable with each other.  I was able to really encourage her son who was having some problems with learning disabilities, and so that bonded Vivian and I even more.  We then found a secluded place outside under a tree.  We sat facing each other.  I started with a prayer. Then I asked Vivian to recall a positive memory of perceiving the Lord’s presence.

I was delighted and surprised to hear her tell me about how just last Easter a neighbor had come and shared the story of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection.  Vivian had felt a warm, tingling sensation and a feeling of being wrapped in a blanket of safe, unconditional love.

Then I asked Vivian to share with  me the burden she had in her heart.  She proceeded to tell me a very difficult situation that she had with a family member where she outwardly dealt with the problem as the loving person that she normally is, but inwardly she was hating the person. When the family member died,  Vivian felt terribly guilty and regretful that she could not deal with the situation better. She saw that if she did not deal with this guilt and shame that she might start doing the same thing in similar situations and she was very afraid. I gazed at her with unconditional love and acceptance, and this experience in itself was very comforting to her and helped me to connect with my “Godsight”–how much God loved her in spite of her shortcomings.

I asked Vivian to close her eyes and remember the memory of Jesus that she shared with me.   This is not the exact way that the sheet said to do it, but it was the way it flowed.

Vivian immediately had a vision of Jesus and a picture of how he was comforting her.  I can not remember the exact vision she had, but it was very beautiful and real to her and to me. The presence of Jesus felt very strong to both of us.  I was both amazed and touched by how powerful the vision was for her as she described it to me.  She felt a profound sense of safety and protection.

After the experience she had with Jesus, Vivian told me that she felt the weight had been lifted off of her.  She felt completely clean and refreshed. I was so happy for her.

We went on a walk and talked more about her heart and her dreams and concerns. I felt so connected to her–more than ever before.  We had always been good friends, but as I told her when she told me she wanted to confess her burden to me, “I always felt like I was at the bottom of the barrel in your list of friends,”  and her answer was, “You are now at the top of the barrel.”  Well, I don’t have a need to be her best friend, but I am so glad that I can share Jesus with her because not only does this help her emotionally and spiritually, but it gives us something very  wonderful and special to have in common.

If you want to hear about my experience with Vivian facilitating me with the Immanuel Approach, you can go here.

My Immanuel Approach Story Part 1

I learned about the Immanuel Approach when I was reading the Intentional Christian Communities Handbook.  I was inspired to read that at Reba Place Fellowship, which is one of the first communities I contacted to visit when I decided to visit Christian communities,  this model of emotional and spiritual healing was used very effectively.   I believe that most of the problems caused in relationships and thus communities are caused by deep roots of hidden trauma that need to be resolved in some way.

I knew I was going to be learning about the Immanuel Approach at some point, and when I found a morning free in a very busy, often non-stop schedule of family, Christian fellowship,  and work, I settled into a seat at Einstein’s Coffee Shop where one of the employees graciously allowed me to move a table so I could plug in my computer. Good thing–because I was there for the next four hours. My batteries would not have lasted:)

I was happy to find out that the Immanuel Approach website had an abundance of free material that was inspiring and fascinating.  Because I have done work with a similar secular process called Co-counseling or Re-evaluation counseling, I knew the power of having a person being present to help facilitate the healing of memories. Only I learned later that the memories are not being healed, as I thought was true in Re-evaluation counseling.  What happens is that the memories are processed in such a way so that a person can realize that Jesus was there loving him or her during the painful traumatic incident.  By realizing this, a person’s relationship with Jesus is strengthened and becomes more real.

Jessica Handy, who teaches the Immanuel Approach, says this: “Immanuel (approach) helps people learn to hear God for themselves and become more aware of His presence in the daily moments of life,” she says.  “It generates deep and lasting healing in the context of prayer, community, and the overarching focus of maturity in Christ.”

Jessica Handy and Leren Chamberlain were the very inspiring teachers in a series of free on line videos which I was glued to most of the time I was in the coffee shops–with ear buds of course.  I felt like I had been looking for this approach for my whole Christian walk.  If I had discovered it before I surrendered my life to Christ along with the beautiful people who are teaching and promoting it, I most likely would have been able to have given my life to Christ at that time.

I really wanted to try out the Immanuel Approach. I watched the videos at home whenever I was washing dishes or doing chores.  I didn’t quite see all of them, but I was eager to experience this model.  My previous experience with both co-counseling and Non-violent Communication gave me confidence that I could be a safe, loving facilitator for another person. Little did I know that my chance was coming sooner than I thought.

When a dear friend who I had not connected with four over four years was in my area, we got together to visit. I was actually a bit reluctant to spend my precious time with her because every minute I had extra I wanted to spend with my family or to do some writing which I rarely got to do.  I was the main supporter of my family at that time and also did my share of the many chores including gardening.

I thought we no longer had much in common because she was more into spiritual teachings like Course in MIracles and Eckhardt Tolle’s book, “A New Earth”   I respected and loved her. We had about fourteen years of history together.   But I thought, “What do we really have to talk about?”  I really like deep conversations.  And if my life was not so intense and hectic, I would have been more willing to visit.  Since she very much wanted to visit, and have my daughter spend time with her kids–so reluctantly I made time for her.

I actually enjoyed our conversation very much.  We talked just a little about spiritual things, and she told me that she loves Jesus and has a close relationship with him.  When we were saying our goodbyes, she said to me very vulnerably, “I want to confess something to you that is a burden on my heart.”  I was surprised that she would use the words “confess” since she was not a Christian in the orthodox sort of way.  But now I realize that she is following Jesus–and has been hurt or misguided by Christians so she is not so much into the whole Bible.

Even though I was super busy, I knew I needed to make time for my friend who I will call Vivian.  When I called her to schedule a time to get together, she said, “I want to do the Immanuel Approach with you.”  I was surprised. We had just talked about it briefly. I told her how inspired I was by the process.   She also was reading the book, “Joy Starts Here” by Jim Wilder and friends which I had lent her and she liked it. I hesitated briefly and then said, “Ok. Let’s do it.”  We set up a time. I was a bit nervous about making this commitment, but I had faith that it would work out.  I prayed about it as well.

A few days before we were to meet I googled, “fast, easy, super simple ways to do the Immanuel Approach.”  I was overjoyed to discover a document that was only two months old entitled, “Immanuel Approach:  Super Extremely Simple Basic Exercise (One page summary) by Karl Lehman.  A friend printed it out for me and I had it just in time to take to our meeting.

I had glanced at the “cheat sheet” and it did seem super simple.  I am going to describe what happened in part two of this story here.

Exercises for Groups and Beginners for Immanuel Approach

I find it very exciting and encouraging that the developers of the Immanuel Approach figured out that it is safe to facilitate large groups using this method. This is an excellent overview of how to help groups from three to three hundred.