Wanted: Women After God's Own Heart

by Linda Strickland
Jun/Jul 2008

In a poem written by Maya Angelou, she says, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him first to find her.”

Living in a world where Hollywood seems to have most of the power in telling us how we should look, what we should wear and what we should think, where can a woman with this kind of heart be found?

If you watch much TV, particularly the popular reality shows, you might think that this woman no longer exists. That she disappeared along with moms that always stayed at home and family-centered dinners that were on the table at six o’clock sharp.

When I was younger, I struggled with my role as a Christian woman in this world. What, exactly, does she look like? Is she weak or is she strong? Is she quiet or does she have a voice? Does she cut her hair or must she let it grow long? Can she wear makeup and earrings? Can she be a leader or does she always need to follow? Can she have both a family and a career?

I now know that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but I have been led into a closer walk with my Lord just by pondering them. Here is what I have learned: the fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.

It has taken me a while, but I have finally accepted God’s idea of me – that what I am is an offering back to Him. An imperfect, beautiful offering. An offering that He felt was worth dying for.

Recently, Judith was invited to speak at a women’s conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was encouraged as I watched 400 beautiful women all yearning for a closer relationship with Jesus. I am happy to report that I personally witnessed many of them finding it. Now here is the really encouraging news: most of them were less than 40 years old! I think we are coming into a very special time where God is calling out to our young men and women – and they are listening.

Here are just a few of the many testimonies we received from this very special conference:


It was the BEST retreat in so many ways that I have ever been on. To feel the POWERFUL sweet presence of the Holy Spirit was, once again, life changing. I am grateful for the opportunity to just RECEIVE all the gifts that God had for me that weekend. I guess I took two things away from my weekend: 1) from Judith’s teachings and from the prayer ministry’s prophetic words, I was able to be set free from the limits that I set on myself as a woman in ministry and 2) I received several new worship songs in my heart and wrote them out that weekend. I was honored that God would give me such an overflow of the Spirit in worship phrases and songs! When I came home, I was excited to put them to music to remember the weekend. I will never be the same.


I have been absent from church for almost 10 years! When I first returned, I felt a bit like the prodigal “son,” but now I know I am Lazarus called forth from the tomb. Since coming home, God has unwrapped so many layers of grave clothes. Between this conference and a Bible study I am a part of - I am just about standing naked (not a pretty sight) before a Holy God. I could not wait for this past Sunday to go to church! I had managed to procrastinate every other Sunday. I lost my joy a long time ago and now I am so full that I feel like the man whose child was healed and Jesus said, “Go and tell no one,” but the man, unable to contain his joy, told the whole village. I, too, want to shout it to the village: GOD IS SO AWESOME! For better or worse, I am back among the living.


The weekend was revealing! As I began to pray Friday night and then during the soaking prayer time on Saturday, I heard and sensed, almost immediately, an answer I’ve been seeking from the Lord. As I was interceding and praying, I released tears of joy. God had spoken into my heart with peace and direction and gave me the confirmation that the stirring I’d been feeling was indeed a pull of the Holy Spirit to enter in and leave behind that which was holding me back. I realized I had a choice to make—to choose to say, “Yes, Lord!” Each step of the way through the retreat, I continued to say, “Yes,” until I found myself reflecting on my past experiences in ministry and wondering why I was no longer able to be involved in ministry full-time. I asked the Lord, “How does one have the anointing again to allow Your power to move through them like Judith and her team?” I felt the Lord say clearly, “Enter in. Everyone can have the anointing if they will empty themselves and be purified by my Spirit. Enter in.” As I emptied myself and prepared to have the Holy Spirit fill me, I felt a wind moving across my face as if someone was in front of me. Then I felt rumbling and noise so loudly that I thought the building was shaking. I opened my eyes, only to see that no one was near me or in front of me. I realized that the Holy Spirit had moved across me and walked in front of me, speaking and touching me. As soon as Judith neared me to pray for me, down I went onto the floor, resting in the Spirit. As I was lying there, I felt like I was drifting and walking with the Lord. He gave me clear and specific direction regarding some life decisions. I have a peace that I cannot describe.


While at the retreat, I stood for prayer for a weight problem. While Judith prayed for me for that, my friend, who was sitting near me, placed both her hands on my left knee. She did not know why the Holy Spirit had told her to do that—she did not know that I was scheduled to receive knee surgery in a couple of weeks! I told her about the surgery and, by the end of the prayer, she felt sure that the Lord had healed my knee completely. In my own prayer time, I felt strongly that the Lord confirmed what my friend had said. I continued to pray, seek prayer from others at the retreat and after, and asked for advice from some respected prayer warriors. Although I felt strongly that I was healed, especially since all the physical problems I had before were gone, I decided to go ahead and have the knee surgery to confirm that God had healed my torn medial meniscus. After the surgery, my doctor said, “I did not see any sign of a torn medial meniscus. There was a ragged area that I scraped and I saw some arthritis, but there was no torn meniscus!” In addition, I healed amazingly quickly after the surgery: I walked with one crutch and took one pain pill the first day, but the following days, I was walking with full weight on the knee and no pain whatsoever—only some stiffness. This experience still has me reeling and I am totally humbled by it!


Judith MacNutt spent the entire weekend teaching us how to look deep inside of ourselves to find the “true” self in each of us. We are “hole-y,” in the sense that we all have been damaged and, as a result, we all have holes in us. Most of us try to fill up these holes with things like alcohol, drugs, and sex to make us feel better. However, these addictions prevent us from being who we really are—that is, who God intended for us to be. I certainly have a hole. At least one. I tried filling it, but with all the wrong things—especially exercise. I never really thought that exercise was a problem, but, in hearing the teachings, I realized that I have made running my god and I idolize my god because my god keeps me trim and healthy…and yet mentally sick in a way. When I received prayer on the second night of the retreat, it was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I felt like I was going to pass out, but I didn’t feel nauseous. I was hot, like I was having a hot flash. My legs felt weak and I wanted to sit down. I was crying, yet nothing dramatic had happened. The Holy Spirit just entered the room…and I felt it. I felt His love fill my empty spaces. It was just like I had been told: I felt a fire burning within me—the fire of the Holy Spirit! The love of Christ was poured out for all of us so that we may be forgiven for our sins. On that night, I felt that love and forgiveness and suddenly I was free.

In a world where the heart of a woman is not cherished nearly as much as her physical attributes are, it is refreshing to see what God is doing. I could not agree more with Maya Angelou as she sums it all up in the last sentence of her poem: ”Pretty is as pretty does…..but beautiful is just plain beautiful!”

Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is on staff at CHM as the Associate Director of Ministry and Personal Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Jun/Jul 2008 Issue