Before Katrina Woodworth started practicing spiritual disciplines she was suffering from post-partum depression. She had four young children at home, including newborn twin boys, and a long family history of anxiety and depression.
“Then my brother-in-law died at a young age,” remembers Woodworth, which was just about more than she could handle. Then a friend invited her to practice Christian yoga with her.
“Through the spiritual practice of yoga I learned how to be with myself, the Lord, and others, “she said. “I began to feel like I was no longer the squirrely little child, because of the arms of God wrapped around me.”
Woodworth told her story of healing on Monday (January 19) during the first day of the Evangelism Disciple-Making conference as one of the presenters, along with husband and pastor, B.J. Woodworth.
Based on the scripture passage in Matthew 7:24-25 where Jesus encouraged his disciples to build their lives on his words, leaders at the four day conference will guide participants into the spiritual practices of solitude, silence, and prayer.
“These practices shape our habits, and habits shape our hearts,” said Woodworth, pastor of a nine-year-old missional church, The Open Door in Pittsburgh. “And ultimately it’s about the desires in our hearts.”
Woodworth pointed out that Katrina’s transformative change didn’t happen because “she read a book.”
Instead Woodworth said she “created space” to practice a spiritual discipline that worked for her, and then the Holy Spirit came.
“The Lord knew my wife was sad, he said. “For 30-minutes a day God did what she was incapable of doing—while she was practicing her spiritual discipline. Thomas Keating calls that divine therapy.”
Woodworth told conference participants that God was “waiting for them” to come away with Jesus and rest for a while.
“By spending time alone with The Alone, by practicing the truth of Jesus’ teaching it begins to change us, “ he said.
“What is your deepest desire of your heart?”
“What do you want Jesus to do for you?”
“It may be scary but I can tell you the Lord is generous, loving, and compassionate.”
The Living the Way: Foundations of Discipleship conference continues through Thursday January 22.