A Season of Wrestling: Barbara Gookin




Barbara Gookin

Barbara Gookin

About The Author :

I am passionately in love with Jesus!! My hope is that everyone will fall in love with Him and receive His love, peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. I have been married for 24 years to my “perfect” husband, Shaw …he’s perfect for me!! We are best friends and enjoy traveling together. We have been blessed with two precious granddaughters, Tori and Noa. We share our home with two very spoiled cats!! I serve as Business and Finance Director at For Life Ministries, as well being active at Willowbrook Baptist Church.

“I waited patiently for the Lord;

   He turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Psalm 40:1-3 NIV

Jesus has made me new. Literally. I can hardly recognize the person that I was before He rescued me from the darkness that I lived in for so long and changed and molded me into His beautiful daughter. I spent years in a dark depression of fear and shame that almost incapacitated me. On the outside, I wore a very convincing mask…no one knew.

The process of my transformation began about 9 years ago. Even though I had accepted Jesus at the age of 11, I had not been discipled or taught about a relationship with Him. God had been calling me back to Him and I was finally desperate enough to pursue that relationship. I had tried “fixing” myself for years. I submitted to Him and begged Him to show me what I needed to do to overcome my desperation and fear. I was terrified of life in general and of interacting with other people. I constantly felt unworthy of any attention and horrified of being “found out”. It seemed that the older I got, the more my sense of needing to run away became overwhelming, and keeping it all inside was about to eat me alive. I was in a constant state of panic on the inside…

I began waking up around 2:00 or 3:00am on a consistent basis, frustrated at losing sleep when I had to work the next day. And you know the harder you try to go back to sleep, the more it eludes you. Then I heard a speaker ask his audience how many of them woke up around those same times and almost everyone raised their hand. He made this comment – “Have you ever thought that the Holy Spirit is waking you up because He wants to talk to you?” That was the most life altering thing that I have ever heard! I resolved right then that if, indeed the Holy Spirit wanted to talk to me, I wanted to know what He had to say! So the next night when I awoke sometime around 2:00am, I got out of bed and took my Bible to the couch and waited. I can’t recall exactly how that night went; it was probably disappointing. But I do know that I began a process of reading my Bible and talking to God and gradually became aware that I was open to hearing what God wanted to reveal to me – and He was explaining things to me in a way that I started to understand. That began what I now consider a season of “wrestling with God”. It became my habit to get out of bed during those wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I would read and talk to God for an hour or two and go back to bed; other times I would stay up the entire rest of the night and then go to work the next day. But even if I didn’t go back to sleep, the strength that I was receiving from my time with Him would sustain me all during the day and I truly wasn’t sleepy or even tired at work. I actually felt energized and looked forward to my REALLY QUIET time with Him! I began to hunger for Him and His Word in a way that I had never experienced. I talked to God, I read the Bible, I read Christian books, I listened to CD’s of Bible studies—I couldn’t get enough!!

So now it is 9 years later and it has really been a long road to healing. There was so much to uncover and work through. But He has been so faithful. He has put people in my life to reveal truth to me and to help me with the necessary work of owning that truth. I can look back now and identify the various seasons of wrestling and how God has brought me through each one. Even though I had physically moved on from painful circumstances in my life and I was a “good” person, I didn’t realize how those things had shaped me and how the ugliness that had resulted in my spirit from things that I had experienced was tainting my perspective and, therefore, my attitudes and actions. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t truly love others until I was able to accept His love for me. He has required me to step way out of my comfort in order to get me through some very challenging situations that I thought I couldn’t do or felt I may not survive. He has led me to confront and deal with issues from my past that were keeping me in bondage in my spirit. The same healing is available to YOU if you are willing to come to Him and lay all your baggage, anger, fear and desperation on Him and let Him replace it with His love, peace, joy and compassion. Has it been easy? No. But has it been worth the pain and the work? Absolutely!

I remember reading about Jacob’s struggle with God and how he would not let go until God blessed him. I always thought that was presumptuous of him, but now I realize that it is through those struggles and our perseverance that God does offer His blessing to us. He wants us to hold on and have the commitment to see it through to a better place—a place where we have heard His voice and are willing to let go of our pride and our agenda and surrender to His leading. A place where we have come to the end of ourselves and reach out for Him, because it is only through Him that we can find our true identity and purpose. A place where we have finally given Him our fears and our anxieties so that we can have clear vision and experience His love. I have learned that God does not want to leave us with our trials and our fears in life, but He does require us to fight them out, with Him leading and protecting us. And then, it is up to us to finally let go of all the junk and accept His blessing on us.

Am I totally healed? Yes, I feel that I am because I don’t want to doubt His ability to completely heal. But do I still struggle? Yes. I don’t know that my struggle will completely stop until I see Him face to face. I have my “limp” from wrestling through my struggles. I still revert back to my old way of thinking and reacting when things happen that trigger feelings from my past. But the victory I’ve found now prompts me to turn to Jesus to put those old fears and shame back on Him so that I don’t allow them to weigh me down and so that I won’t identify with them for longer than a few minutes. I’ve learned through my season of wrestling with God that He offers me the gift of true freedom if I will surrender to Him, which also brings with it the gifts of endurance, faith, and courage. He has truly transformed me into someone who has full assurance of being in a loving and fulfilling relationship with Jesus…and that’s literally the BEST thing that I could have ever asked for.




  1. Charissa Ballard August 21, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Wow!! What an amazing story of God’s love and healing!! I am blessed to call you my friend!! Love you!

  2. Angeline P August 21, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    This is a wonderful testimony Barbara! So blessed to have the chance to get to know you through our Life Group and Willowbrook! I actually had this happen to me recently when I couldn’t sleep and I just thought, “Well looks like a very early quiet time with the Lord.” You are completely correct in that it gives you so much more strength for the rest of the day!

  3. Lynn Hartselle August 21, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Barbara, I love your authenticity and the way your have shared your life journey! I loved getting to see your heart during our time together in Thailand! I have missed you and thank-you so much for sharing how God has worked through you! Thank-you for being so encouraging to everyone!

  4. Renee'. Gunnink August 30, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for all your encouragement you have given me over the last two years. May God continue to bless you as you touch others!


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