Post Simply Free
Gena is beautiful. She is articulate. She is poised and has a natural stage presence. She also finished a ten-year prison sentence for vehicular homicide about a year ago. While she will always live with the guilt and regret of that drunken night, God has removed the shame and has given her life purpose and meaning, not, in spite of her past, but because of it. She is Simply Free.
Jacob and Allison are fun and funny. They had a fairytale wedding and a fairytale honeymoon. They are living the dream. She is a bright, compassionate MICU nurse at Vanderbilt, on her way to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. He is a musician and pilot, on his way to flying for a major airline. But their story is not all roses and happy ever after. They have already, in their young lives, known deep, deep lose, and great grief. But God has taught them how to hold grief and joy together. And God has taught them that He is ALWAYS good. They are Simply Free.
Pastor Eddie is dynamic. He is as good a preacher and communicator as I have ever known. He is a successful pastor with the ability to grow great, mega-churches and then to pastor them well. He also battled depression and anxiety to the point that he could not leave his house, was fearful all of the time, and thought he would end up institutionalized. God delivered him, not in an instant but over a period of time, in a process. Today Pastor Eddie is an incredible voice for the ability of God to heal our minds. He is Simply Free.
I could tell you about Mike who shot a man in a drug deal gone bad and is now the kindest heart and most consistent witness I know. Or about Vicki who saw her whole world crumble around her when her husband walked out but has found the joy of the Lord in a way that exudes from her very being. Both of these people are Simply Free.
I could tell you about the dozens, maybe hundreds of others that came through Simply Free this weekend and found a special touch from God, a healing for a hurt, new hope for a hopeless situation. I could tell you about songs that set us on fire and filled us with delight, about sessions that were as full of information as they were inspiration. I could tell you about conversations over lunch when people who had never met found a common spirit and went away fast friends. I could tell you about lives changed, hearts mended, minds made right. All of that was Simply Free.
What I will tell you is that God was and is ALWAYS faithful. Doris and I dropped in bed on Saturday night, exhausted but exuberant over the way God came through and showed Himself loving and powerful for so many. Simply Free 2017 is in the books. We are already looking forward to the next one, and to the Simply Free’s that God is going to raise up in many other churches and communities.
Thank you Pastor Eddie and Family Worship Center. Thank you Branches and every counselor and staff member. Thank you every break-out leader, usher, musician, prayer warrior, every person who made this happen. And thank you God for setting us free, and for saying to us that when You set us free, “we are free indeed.”
What a blessing God is pouring through you! Thank you for your work and for really caring for people and loving them in a way that I believe Jesus cares for and loves us. You and your sister have different approaches, but God is using both of you to lift people out of the difficulties of life and find the strength to go on and live in the fullness of Christ.
My only regret is that I did not go to the previous Simply Free events. It was awesome. Someday (when you have more time than an email will provide) I will share my testimony with you and Doris. Not nearly as jaw dropping as some you have heard, but it is the “other side of the coin” to what you have already heard.
I am already anticipating next years event.
Praise God for Doris’ vision.
Doris and Mike, this weekend was more than I imagined it would be. Inspirational is such an inadequate word to describe how our Lord showed up. The testimonies of God’s great deliverance and blessing was awesome!!! Thank you for letting me get the blessing. Prayers continue for Simply Free, in JESUS name.
Wow; what an awesome God to bring about this weekend each year at branches and set so money people free from the bondage of their own sins! Praising God; and you and Doris for showing up!!
I had an amazing time at Simply Free!! I knew it would be amazing, but it turned out to be a divine appointment for me and, what I feel, will be a life changing event. You see, I have been on this mental health journey for many years and have overcome many things, yet I know there is still work to be done. Honestly, I have been stagnant and unable to get motivated to be able to progress. This weekend, I heard and was touched by each testimony. I could relate, in some way, to each of the speakers. I sat and wept and wept because it felt like they were speaking directly to my soul. You may have noticed the blubbering idiot on the second row. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being the instrument that God has used to open my eyes, give me a direction, an inspiration and a motivation and has literally changed my life for the second time. This weekend, something shifted. I no longer feel that I am broken, but that something is breaking in me. Breaking free perhaps. Thank you to all of your caring staff that participated in my IOP time there, and thank you to Ms Doris for following through with her vision. I had never before heard of Simply Free until this year and I plan to make the trip next year and bring as many people as I can tell about it.