If you’ve ever had the opportunity to talk to Kerrie Oles, author of Revived From the Me I Used to Be, you’ve instantly found yourself a fast friend. In one short phone call, I felt refreshed and built up in my faith because she shared the heart of God with me. I believe in reading this interview—no matter where you are in your journey—you’ll be encouraged and reminded of your position as a son or daughter of Father God.
Holly Hrywnak: At the age of 30, you got saved, and you mentioned that you knew you were going to Heaven, but you felt like there was “no way God could love you.” What types of things did you think you needed to do to earn God’s love?
Kerrie Oles: I think most of us struggle receiving the love of God, and I was no different. With my sordid past, though, I struggled quite a lot. I knew I was going to get to live in eternity with Jesus; that’s what the Bible says, John 3:16. Where I hit a roadblock was understanding that He loved me as much as He loved someone else who had attended church their whole life, or maybe kept their purity, or even had less sins than I did. I definitely had a work-to-earn mentality. I was involved serving everywhere, thinking if I kept working that Jesus would grow to love me more and more. That’s a lie that the enemy places in our minds, and we get into that religious works mindset. Healing came when I would tune in to God, hear and receive what He said about me as truth. I went from an orphan mentality to a daughter. A victim to a victor, and lifeless to full of life, when I started believing what God said about me instead of the lies my past whispered to me.
HH: You struggled with feeling unlovable for six years after being saved, until you had a very real encounter with God. What happened? What did He say, and how did you know it was God?
KO: In 2005, I was watching Dr. Phil to solve all my problems, and I started to lose my vision. Rushed to the hospital and endured a barrage of tests for three days. Living in darkness was the scariest thing I had experienced. In the MRI tube, I realized a lot of nice people from church called to pray for me, but I had not prayed myself. I had no prayer life except when the pastor prayed on Sundays. That wasn’t wrong; it was just an indication of where my walk with the Lord was. I silently prayed the 23rd Psalm, and when I got to the line, “For thou art with me,” everything changed. Truth was revealed that the belief in my heart was not that God was with me. If He was with me, why was I blind in an MRI tube? You know, those moments of “Where are you, God?” And better than that, I hadn’t believed He had been there my whole life. As I cried, the Lord spoke to me and said, “My child, you are healed.” The soothing voice of the Father. You would think, being blind, that the greatest thing He said was, I was healed, but it wasn’t. It was that He called me His child. From then on, I had a whole new way of seeing everything, and that included how He loved me.
HH: When you minister to people, one of your prayers are that they’d “put on God’s glass.” What does that mean to you, and why is that so important?
KO: Jesus often prayed for those who have eyes to see, let them see, and for those who have ears to hear, let them hear. Which tells me He wasn’t talking about the eyes and ears on our head. So what was He talking about? I believe the majority of my life, I only saw things with my natural eyes. That means I saw through my lens of pain, too. When we journey through life, we experience trials that write on the canvas of who we are, and we tend to view the world through that lens. But when I say we need to see with spiritual eyes—or God’s glasses—that means with the eyes of our heart, the lens the Father gives us. When we start seeing who we are through His lens, and what the Word of God says, everything begins to change. The enemy’s plans are thwarted because we begin to understand who we are to our Holy God, not who we are according to our pasts.
HH: Before you were a Christian, people had called you a variety of names, which caused you to believe certain lies about yourself. Your past had you believing lies about yourself. Yet it was one encounter with God that changed all of that. How does someone encounter God?
KO: Jesus began most messages with “The kingdom of heaven is like …” The best description of having an encounter with God I can use, is one that was taught to me. The kingdom of Heaven is like a radio station. What I mean: The station is somewhere else, but it resides in my house, but it’s also in the very place you are reading this article. Do you hear it? No … why? Because I and/or you don’t know if anywhere in the room there’s a receiver, and if there is, you have to physically turn it on. Also, you would have to tune in to the same station and then turn the volume up. We are like the receiver—we either aren’t plugged in (born again), tuned in (recognize the presence), or on the right station (listening and letting it broadcast through us). We tune into many things of this world, but to really encounter God, we have to plug into Him. Be with Him in whatever avenue: worship, quiet time, sitting alone, etc. When we do this, THE source—God—comes to us, inhabits us and works through us, like a radio. We have to be the receiver. But first, we have to plug into Him. He is always there to listen and respond.
HH: Your most recent book, titled Revived From the Me I Used to Be, helps people find freedom so they can be who God created them to be. What are different areas in which people need freedom, and what’s the biggest hindrance they face in getting there?
KO: The biggest obstacle is usually ourselves. I know that’s painful, but those beliefs and lies I talked about that block our view of who God says we are stay in our minds, isolating us from intimacy with the Lord. They are called strongholds because they are like fortresses in our minds that keep us focused on our failures, separating us from real relationship with the Father.
Revived is my testimony, and how we can have the Lord breathe new life into those places in us that have believed lies that have now become beliefs in our hearts. Those places need a newness that only Jesus can provide to walk in freedom. When we give those places to Him, He can start replacing the lies with His truth about who He says we are, and what He has for us.
HH: Many of us have been standing on promises from God, whether concerning the search for a spouse, or the salvation of a family member, or physical healing, etc., but haven’t seen them come to pass. What encouragement can you give us in regard to this?
KO: This question is never simple, because faith is an area that we have to push ourselves to have. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe and yet, do not see.” He’s telling us to keep believing even though we don’t see an end to this situation or health issue or relationship pursuit. Believe. We get weary—of course we do—but that saying, “Go big or go home” makes me think of standing on a promise. In this time in our world, we need big faith—more than we’ve had. That’s not a works mentality or a check mark on our list; it’s an encouragement to KEEP believing. Don’t stop. What He said is true. In the pages of His word, He heals, He sends blessings in many forms, He saves and He restores. KEEP standing. KEEP believing, no matter how long it takes. The reward is there. He is it.
Learn more about Kerrie or purchase her book at www.kerrieoles.com.