Being raised a Catholic I knew that God had three parts to him. There was God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit. I understood who The Father was and I knew Jesus as the Son of God. The Holy Spirit however was a complete mystery to me and a part of God that wasn’t explained at least in the churches I attended.
I remember seeing the flames above the saints in paintings at some catholic churches and knew that represented the Holy Spirit. I didn’t understand the meaning of the flames only that this was a holy moment in the church’s timeline. It wasn’t until I started attending a southern baptist church that I heard a bit more about The Holy Spirit and some of his ways. Although it wasn’t fully explained I was certain that getting baptized again would ensure my getting The Holy Spirit.
I was 15 when I started attending Faith Fellowship and began to realize the importance of truly giving myself to Jesus. It was at the age of 16 that I finally made my decision to jump into the pool of salvation. I remember the day of my baptism when I put my swimsuit on and knew in my heart that this was going to change everything. I threw on a tee-shirt and shorts, grabbed my towel, and headed to my Pastor’s pool. The people of the church were gathered there along with my family to witness this spiritual event. My youth group cheered me on as I put the white baptismal gown on top and was ushered into the pool.
I took the hand of my youth pastor as he smiled and led me to the head pastor of the church. Big smiles were on all the faces as I looked around me. My heart was beating a million miles a minute as I was being asked the questions about my desire to become a follower of Jesus. I answered a quick I do, grabbed my nose, and under the water, I went! I came up in a flash of cheers, clapping, and Hallelujahs. I wiped the water from my nose and headed to the stairs to get out of the pool. I was given a towel to dry off as people came forward for hugs and blessings.
The celebration kicked in as food and cake began to be served. I felt good, but I didn’t feel different. There was no big revelation or angelic songs like they showed in many movies. I figured maybe with all excitement I was just too distracted to notice and I might feel differently in a few days. The days passed and still I didn’t feel any big changes.
It wasn’t long after my baptism that my mother decided I wasn’t going to be a part of that church any longer and forbid me to attend. She decided that I was going to return to my catholic roots and insisted that I follow all the rules of the church. One of those rules included making the sacrament of confirmation. I believed that after my water baptism I was pretty much sealed by God, but my mother insisted this had to be done to seal my alliance with the catholic church.
Once again I would be making a commitment to God declaring I was his and believing the Holy Spirit would lead me all the days of my life. Somehow my mother was able to get me confirmed without attending any classes or go through the normal protocol the other children had to do. She spoke to the priest and got clearance that allowed me to join in the Confirmation celebration. The church chose a sponsor for me and a quick discussion with the priest was all I needed to be welcomed back into the Catholic faith.
Once again I was dressed in a robe and I was brought before the head priest to receive the Holy Spirit. I did all the religious protocol required and was told I now had the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, I still felt nothing. I was obedient to the request of my mother and began to live out my life as a Catholic. I didn’t read the Bible anymore except for what I heard on Sunday masses. The stories of the miracles of Jesus were just for Jesus and his holy apostles written in the Bible.
I understood the importance of prayer and continued praying to God each night before bedtime. I knew God and believed he heard my prayers. It wasn’t until the age of 21 that I began hearing little messages from heaven of where to go or what to do. I also began to have premonitions that I didn’t quite understand. The thoughts were not mine, yet I didn’t quite dismiss them as craziness. I believed it might be my Guardian angel or possibly God himself guiding my steps through life.
It was the nudges of where to work, where to live, who to marry, the names of my children, and answers to my requests that kept me seeking the Lord in my life. In 2002 I would walk with God, Jesus, and the comforter during the worst 3 months of my life. My father-in-law, his mother, and my grandmother would pass within 3 weeks of each other, and my mother was in a horrific house fire where she suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns on over 50% of her body. My mom was airlifted to a burn unit where she would be in a medically induced coma.
I began hearing God in ways I never had before. That still small voice became my constant companion for those difficult months. The presence of God surrounded me with wisdom and peace as I endured the six weeks of my mother being in a coma and having six skin grafting surgeries. The deaths of those loved ones were met with the compassion of a tender Father who held me close in strength and comfort as I grieved the losses.
I prayed like I never prayed before believing that I would see the miraculous in the healing of my mother. I never felt closer to God than I did at that moment in time. It wouldn’t be until after the passing of my father-in-law that I would see my prayers answered. I took a break from visiting my mother during the funeral and only called the hospital checking on her. The day after we buried my Father in law I was ready to go and visit my mom.
I walked into the burn unit donning the necessary hospital attire for visiting a burn victim. There was a different vibe as I prepared myself to enter my mom’s room there was almost a quiet excitement as I passed the nurse’s station. Turning the corner I entered her room and much to my surprise she was awake! I rushed to her side not wanting to hurt her I began asking the nurse who was by her side what had happened? She told me that her breathing had returned to a level that she could be taken off the respirator. They removed her trach tube and with the assistance of the nurse my mom spoke her first words to me in six weeks “I Love You’ she said in a hoarse scratchy voice. Tears filled my eyes as I responded with, “I love you too mommy”. I spent time with her filling her in on the last month and a half before leaving her to get some more rest.
I left the hospital room in happy tears as I pushed the elevator button down knowing my time at the hospital was coming to an end. I walked to my car holding back the emotional waves of joy and victory. As I shut the door the flood of emotions released into praises of thankfulness and gratefulness. I saw his faithfulness in all he promised me the day my mom was airlifted to the burn center. God walked with me giving me strength, endurance, wisdom, and faith. He assured me that she would get through this and she did!
As soon as my life returned to normal my relationship with God returned to the status quo of nighttime prayers. God however was wanting much more of a personal relationship with me. It was in 2009 that God began pursuing my attention. I read the book “The Shack” and after reading it was then I decided I wanted to search out the God who knew everything about me.
I began reading the Bible and searching the internet for lessons that would bring me closer to God. I cried out while cleaning my closet “God, I don’t want to live my life without you. Fill me up with your presence less of me and more of you!” I waited for something to happen a splitting open of heaven or a voice letting me know the great I AM was there. It was a deep sigh that released the disappointment and sadness that God was not going to appear to me that night.
It would be less than a week later when I would get the phone call that changed my life. A friend called to tell me I need to come to her church. She went on to say that it was what I was searching for and it was what God wanted for me. Something inside me leaped as I quickly responded with I’m coming. My Dad was visiting so he decided to come with me.
We arrived at the church and quickly found my friend. A tall slender woman was at the pulpit and began teaching all about the Holy Spirit. My attention was fastened to this speaker as she introduced me to this part of God I barely knew. I was completely engulfed by all the information being poured out of her. I felt like a sponge absorbing every droplet of living water that was being released from the pulpit. A peace and yet an excitement grew inside of me as each of these truth bombs exposed more of the knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
When the woman finally finished her teaching another woman took over the service who was also part of this ministry. She was shorter than the other woman and her countenance was very different she was serious. The entire atmosphere began to shift as she began speaking in tongues. I knew that this was a real gift from God because my father had been speaking in tongues for the past 3 years.
She started speaking in this unknown spiritual language and immediately began to interpret what was said in English. This was how we could understand what the Holy Spirit was saying. The funny thing is she sounded like a man or possibly even God himself. I listened intently to every word she interpreted hearing the heart of the Father speaking through this woman.
A word of knowledge came forth that called a young girl from her seat. The shorter woman preacher walked down the steps off the platform towards the girl. She spoke promises and future over this young lady telling her the secret desires of her heart. The young girl began to weep as the truths came at her piercing through any lies that may have told her differently. The shorter woman put her hand on the younger one and in an instant, the girl fell to the floor. Immediately someone ran over and draped a gold sheet over her as she laid perfectly still undone from this heavenly encounter.
It was a supernatural surge of energy that hit the room. Suddenly I saw people being touched by these two women and they were all dropping like flies. One after the other the women touched the people and down they went. The workers at the church were running around placing the golden sheets over the spiritual roadkill. Slowly people began waking up from their spiritual encounters and they gradually stood up.
The music shifted from a slow melodious rhythm into a quicker upbeat song that brought the church to it’s feet. The two women now began singing and shouting to the congregation that the devil was under our feet. Within seconds the church began running around the church. People who were running were now grabbing others who were just standing and encouraging them to run.
I was watching as this church was being transformed into a large congo line of believers dancing and running around the building. As I was taking it all in I heard God say, “Go up there”. I paused as the thought raced through my mind at the absurdity of this request. I responded to his command with “do you not see the people running?” A short pause brought a sigh of relief that maybe God didn’t see what was going on. The silence was brief as the music continued to play as the rest of the congregation slowly joined those who ran. Once again I heard the Lord say “Go up there.” This time I replied quicker as I reminded God that the people are still running! In an instant a stranger grabbed my father and shouted run with me and just like that my dad was off running. My mind reeled as I watched the joy in my.daddy’s face as he became part of this move of God. A smile crossed my face as saw the freedom in just saying yes. Again that familiar voice rose up as I heard God say “Go Up There”. This time I had no excuse so I tried to figure which way I should go to join in the celebration. I turned from the front of the church to the back of the church when suddenly I heard a familiar voice grab my hand and say “run with me’!
As my head whipped around I saw the tall woman preacher who captivated my attention earlier asking me to run with her. I took her hand and off we went. The instant she grabbed me she began speaking into my life. She told almost verbatim what I said to my dad as we drove in the car. This woman who I never met told me the deepest desires of not only my heart, but the desires that God had for me. Each word spoken over me released a flood of tears that confirmed God was listening.
We ran until I was brought to the front of the altar where the other woman was standing almost like she was waiting for me. Through the tears, I saw her face as she spoke to my soul. Ever so gently she lifted my hands and whispered to me the love of God is in your hands, in your arms, in your body, in your feet, and with that, I fell backward into the arms of someone. My mind was swirling as my limp body was being carried off to the ground. I felt a gentle warmth wrapped around me as the peace and love of God consumed my being.
I slowly became aware of my surroundings as the spirit of God began lifting. My mind came back to recognizing where I was. Although my eyes were unable to open I could sense the people running were now leaping over my body as I became spiritual roadkill for all to see! My thoughts swirled as my initial response said Get Up Now unfortunately, my body was unable to respond to any physical command. I giggled to myself as I spoke inwardly to the demand of my mind with a flippent “or just lay where you are”!
I never felt afraid as the washing of God’s love poured over me filling each and every hole in my heart. I could slowly feel the lifting of the. weighty presence that had me pinned to the floor rising off. Within a few minutes, I could move my fingers. My arms began to move down to my floor as now my body was preparing to get off the floor. A nearby church member saw my body stirring and went over to help me up. The gentleman grabbed my hand and pulled me back up to my feet.
I walked back to my seat feeling entirely different. I saw the smile of my Daddy as I approached my seat. He grabbed me and hugged me tightly as he witnessed the heavenly transformation taking place inside his daughter. He whispered to me “Are you ok?’ I smiled and shook my head yes.
The night was coming to a close as church service was ending. The ministers gave their closing invitation for salvation, renewing your vows to Jesus, and asking if you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I checked each one off with I’m good. The last invitation to come to the alter caught me off guard as they asked if you don’t speak in tongues raise your hand.
I stood there in shock as that request rang through my mind. I heard that still small voice suddenly speak one word to me,”well” was all God said. It was a question but also an invitation to receive more of Him. It was my choice to make and God was asking me to choose Him! I sheepishly raised my hand and was invited to come to the front of the church.
I stood with four young teens and we held hands as the ministers came towards us. I was so nervous as one young lady told me I was squeezing her hand. I quickly apologized as i heard the words ok speak. I didn’t know what to say so I started to pray the Our Father. I could hear the teens babbling as if they were babies. I tried to mimic them as the minister approached me. She placed her hand on my cheek and began to move my head up and down as though I was saying yes. I felt a fire hit me and I again couldn’t feel my face.
I heard her saying yes that’s it as her smile broaden her face. Her joy was evident as she continued slowly moving my head. I felt nothing until she removed her hand and suddenly my mouth was moving in a flurry of words. This new language hit me as words poured from me as if a garden hose was turned on to full. I continued speaking as those fast-talking auctioneers do as trying raise the price. Once again I could feel a lifting as my words slowed down and finally stopped.
The service concluded and I went to thank these precious women who answered all my questions. I grabbed my dad and we headed to the car. We chatted all the way home sharing our experiences from the night. We.pulled in the driveway and quietly went to our bedrooms. I could feel something changed inside of me, but didn’t know what until I got into my bed.
It was pitch black in my room but I was able to sneak into my bed without waking my husband. I closed my eyes and to my surprise, it was bright as if I was looking into the sun. Startled I quickly opened my eyes back to the darkness of my room. I closed my eyes and to my amazement, there was bright light filling my entire being. Again I opened my eyes to the black night of my room. Confused I closed my eyes and once again entered into the brightness of light that was shining. My spirit had changed there was light inside and it was ignited to burn bright. I was resting in presence of the Son as the light consumed me pushing away the darkness.
I was forever changed and forever His. The light inside me would become a flame that would help to ignite others to the truth of who the Holy Spirit is. The words of living water would flow through me as they did through Jesus. The book of Acts would become a reality as I would walk out of this new life with my best friend Holy Spirit leading the way.