By Rhea Zakich
Jesus is Lord of my life!
God supplies my needs and is my guide and strength in all that I do. I am more convinced than ever that Jesus is the healer of all our diseases and that in seeking HIM we will find the fulfillment and wholeness we all desire.
I haven’t always believed that, however.
Having reached every goal I had set for myself by age 30, I found life hollow and unfulfilling. I began a painful re-examination of my goals, commitments, relationships, church and community involvement, and my relationship with God. In the tangible world, I had everything I wanted, but in my inner self I felt a void, an ache. I had feelinqs that had no words, and a longing that began to occupy my every thought. As I prayed for God to reveal His plan for my life, I made a commitment to live totally for Him and be obedient to the Holy Spirit regardless of where that would take me. “Here am I Lord, send me”, became my prayer.
My husband and sons were not aware of my turmoil or my decision to make myself totally available to God.
My quest for meaning and purpose led me to the streets of a ghetto in Los Angeles following the Watts riots. With God as my constant companion, I helped people learn to read and write and taught childcare classes for young mothers. I risked entering into many new and strange situations, some of which were dangerous. My family would occasionally accompany me as I became more and more involved. We eventually rented a ghetto apartment so I could be with my new friends when they needed help.
For the next 5 years, God led me into unbelievable situations. My experiences became the topic of conversations throughout my community and my church, where my work was both lauded and questioned. I began to be invited to speak to other churches, PTA groups, and organizations. My life seemed full and rewarding as I spent my days managing my home, working in the inner city, serving in my church and speaking to groups about my concern for the poor and rejected. My popularity spread and I began to feel “on top of the world.”
Life came to a screeching halt when I developed a mysterious throat ailment that was to require 2 operations and months of silence. During the period of enforced muteness, I began to question whether I had been following God’s guidance. Unable to communicate with my family, friends or anyone, and having to cancel my inner city projects and the many speaking engagements on my calendar, I became angry with God. “How could you do this to ME? I was working for YOU!” I would shout in my mind. I felt abandoned and forsaken. When my doctor announced that I might NEVER get my voice back, I went into deep despair. My beautiful world came tumbling down. I closed the door on God.
I spent my days alone with many unanswered questions.
By God’s grace, I began to work through the despair and self-pity and I found myself wondering how God could ever use me without a voice. As a mute, I became painfully aware of some of the complexities of interpersonal communication. My prayer became, “0 God, how can I communicate with those around me? How can I tell people about You without a voice? How can I serve You?”
I began to listen to God and what was revealed in the days ahead has now touched millions around the world. What I heard is embodied in something called, the Ungame, a tool that invites the open, honest sharing of feelings and experiences in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. As my family gathered around the game board, we found it easy and natural to share what was on our hearts and to listen to one another without judgment. The result was restored relationships, increased understanding, released emotions and HEALING.
God had given me a new way to communicate and I now felt ready for a new assignment. “How do you want me to serve You, Lord?” In my heart, I sensed that God wanted me to create opportunities, safe places, for people of all ages to share their deep feelings and needs, to listen to their hearts, to pray for them, and tell them about Jesus.
Step by step, God’s plan began to unfold before me. Doors began to open. People were brought into my life. I experienced the total healing of my throat condition and became committed to helping others learn to communicate with one another.
Since that time, nearly 40 years ago, I have led workshops, seminars and retreats to more than a thousand groups on such subjects as Prayer, How to Listen to God, Family Communication, Discovering Your Purpose, The Holy Spirit, and Inner Healing.