I walked into my eleventh grade English class and took my assigned seat. Mr. Perrault sat silently at his desk. The whole school was aware of what had happened to his family. Today was his first day back since the tragedy. Amazingly, fifteen seventeen year olds sat quietly waiting for him to begin a discussion about The Great Gatsby. Instead, he began to cry and tell us the story of the traumatic events of a fire that had claimed the life of his brother and his brother’s three small children. No one moved. He finished talking, put his head in his hands, and began to weep uncontrollably. He asked questions people often ask when someone they love is tragically taken from this life. My heart ached for him. Everything within me wanted to stand up and walk to his desk, put my arms around him, and tell him that it was going to be ok. Something deep within me whispered, “I have created you to heal the broken hearted.” It was a voice I didn’t recognize, so I dismissed it. I felt myself shrinking back in my chair, words of comfort stirred in the deep places of my heart, yet I pushed them down and didn’t allow them to surface. Instead, I believed I had nothing to offer this broken man. How could I, a mere teenager, comfort a grown-up? What words would help a man who was living a hellish nightmare? I didn’t have an answer for why God allows horrible things to happen to good people. If I had the answer to that question, perhaps I would have been able to answer a few of the questions I had about my own life. So I sat there and did nothing. After a while, the bell rang, class ended, and I walked to my locker feeling like a complete failure. I never forgot Mr. Perrault’s tragedy, and I never understood the feelings it stirred within me. When I was thirty years old, I began to deal with the painful events in my past. A few years into my journey to wholeness, I was introduced to a man named Bob Hamp. In his teaching, Bob tells a story called The Parable of the Acrobat. The story recounts the life of an acrobat and the road he travels to discover the dreams planted deep within his heart and the destiny planned for him before he was born. As I listened to this intriguing tale for the first time, I began to see myself as the acrobat. Like him, I had been born for greatness. I had been created by a loving Father, who planned an amazing life for me as He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He had planted dreams and destiny within my heart. But things had happened to me as a little girl. Bad things I had never told anyone. They caused deep emotional wounds within my soul. The brokenness they created led me to become someone other than whom God designed me to be. Which lead me further and further away from my destiny and the dreams that the Father had planted in me. Then one day, I was confronted with a choice. Did I want to continue living the life I had created for myself, or did I want to live the life God had created me to live? If I chose to recapture the life God had designed me to live, I would have to go back to those painful events in my life and confront the wounds that I had buried deep in my soul. It would be a painful road of self-discovery and God discovery. For many years, I had allowed the circumstances of my life to control me. I had believed that God had caused the tragedies in my life. The One who could heal me was the One whom I blamed for what happened to me. But over time, I read the Story of God with new eyes. I saw how loving the Father was towards His children. I began to understand and believe that He had always been concerned about me. I started thinking differently about my heavenly Father and His work in my life. I had spent most of my life filled with resentment and hatred towards my heavenly Father. But when I stopped blaming Him for the painful events in my past, He began to heal me. As I was healed, the Father and I began to dialogue, and a loving relationship developed. Slowly my soul began to rest in the truth of my identity as His precious little girl. And once again, I heard Him say, “I have created you to heal the brokenhearted.” This time I didn’t dismiss it or shrink back from it because I knew it was the truth of who I was and what I was created to do. Dreams were awakened inside me, and the deep longings of my heart came to life. He had created me to be a proclaimer of Isaiah 61:1 which says, 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. Mr. Perrault’s agony stirred up a longing for me to become the person God created me to be. At the time, I didn’t recognize the voice of God. In my brokenness, I couldn’t understand that God was using the events in my teacher’s life to call me back to His original design for me. But God, who is the Tireless Pursuer, never gave up on me. Finally, after many years, I recognized His voice when He said, “Come with Me and let Me show you your destiny.” I put my hand in His and He began to show me the plans He had for me. One of the dreams that He placed within me was to help others discover the path to healing and wholeness. I invite you to begin your journey right now. Grab a cup of hot cocoa, curl up with a warm blanket, and listen to the acrobat’s story. His story will help you recapture the dreams in your heart, your God-given destiny, and the life you were created to live. Here’s how you find it: 1) Go to the Freedom Classes page of the Gateway Church website. 2) Under “Foundational Classes,” choose the first file, “A Kingdom Parable.” 3) Although there’s an audio option, I recommend the video. 4) Allow yourself to get pulled into the story. Afterwards, begin to dialogue with God by asking these questions: What dreams have I buried that you want to uncover? What was I created to do? What lies have I believed about You? As you begin a two-way conversation with your heavenly Father, He will begin to heal the wounds in your heart and lead you down the road of discovering the identity and destiny that He planted within you long ago.