This is just a part of my testimony and my journey.
I was raised in a home where my Dad always said the same prayer every meal, “Kind Father, please accept our thanks for these and all other blessings. We ask in thy name, Amen.” Though it is a sweet memory to me now, I never had an example of hearing my parents truly pray. I’m sure they did pray privately, but never as an example to their children.
Like many, I was taken to church on token holidays, but mostly at Easter when I was able to wear a new dress.
I really wasn’t taught about the Lord. My older brother and sister were given the foundation of Sunday school and vacation bible school when they were young, but by the time I came along, everyone had stopped going to church.
I really don’t remember hearing about any Bible stories at all. My siblings must have had a large children’s Bible that was passed down to me. The pictures were colorful and interesting, but I never knew what they represented. It does make me wonder why my extended family — even my grandparents across they road — didn’t try to share the Truth with me.
As a very young child I had the understanding in my little heart that my spirit would never die. And I almost felt trapped that there would never be an end … no relief. After some inner healing I know why I felt that way, but that is another post. I also remember sitting in my friend’s backyard and looking out into the yard saying out loud, “Satan! You’ll never have me!” Amazing how we are born with this truth in our hearts.
Skipping a few years, when I was 11 years old, I began to attend a local denominational church with some friends. It was then that I gave my heart to the Lord (to the best of my understanding) and was baptized. My Dad would take me to church, drop me off, then pick me up at noon. I was very active there until I became a teenager. When I hit the teen years I suddenly didn’t want to attend church or hang out with my youth group. I had learned a few bad things with some of my peers at church and the sin grew into bigger steps away from holiness.
My life changed …
When I graduated high school I suddenly began to have panic attacks. Seriously, it was as if someone flipped a switch and turned on the torment. I had no idea what was happening and I thought I was losing my mind. I was so bound by fear that I couldn’t drive my car. It was the worst season of my life and it lasted YEARS. But during this time I stopped all of my rebellion and ran towards God for my life! I couldn’t get any lower. I was on the medication Xanax that still wouldn’t stop the attacks. It was a full assault on my mind. NOBODY could help me because I didn’t have any spiritual parents who understood spiritual warfare. (Basically, I was perishing for lack of knowledge.) It was just me and God. By this time, I had made Jesus the LORD of my life. I was delving into the Word of God with all I had in me!
At the tender age of 18, I noticed in the New Testament that people spoke in tongues. For some reason, that really intrigued me. I began to ask other Christians about these scriptures and I always got strange answers like, “That’s from satan” or “That isn’t for today.” God help all of the people they misinformed in their own ignorance of God’s Word.
Even through the false answers I heard, I couldn’t let it go!
As I ate God’s Word day and night, I learned about spiritual warfare. I learned that demons were very active in this world and were the agents behind the torment of my mind! I also learned that God is GREATER and He has given us authority over these tormenting spirits.
Since I was raised in a traditional southern church, I never knew much about the Holy Spirit. Mostly, I remember Him being referred to as an “it” and I never had an example of someone experiencing His presence. He almost seemed like a period at the end of a sentence, “Father, Son, and … shhhhh, the Holy Spirit.” There was never any focus on our Comforter. I am not trying to hurt any of my brothers and sisters. Many of these traditional denominational church folks love Jesus and do a LOT of good in the Kingdom and none of us have all of the answers. Trust me — there is NO perfect church because they are all filled with people.
Many years of studying the Word of God had passed and my search for MORE of GOD was full speed ahead. At this point I was working in a new office with some friends who were wanting more too. Another girl and I were determined to find the answers and we hungered for a greater walk with the Lord. We wanted everything God said we needed in His word.
Mark 16:17-18 declares, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Scriptures like this one made me wonder why I wasn’t seeing this in my church. Didn’t the bible say that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)? So why were the churches I attended stopping at these scriptures? Their argument that “this isn’t for today” doesn’t hold water because the scripture that many quote is 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Yes, perfection by the Name of Jesus came, but that isn’t what it is saying. If that was the case, tongues would have never been given (since they didn’t start UNTIL AFTER JESUS ASCENDED TO HEAVEN). We still see in part and prophesy in part. We still see a poor reflection … perfection is not here, YET. When we are with the Lord, face to face, we won’t need the gifts.
So, you may be wondering why I am focusing on tongues … aren’t all gifts used to build and encourage the body? YES. Each gift is beautiful and freely given. But since I was raised Baptist (not to pick on the Baptist because they do so many wonderful things and provide a wonderful foundation, mission work, etc …) and I had such a desire to understand this whole “tongues” thing, I wanted to share my experience. There are so many blog posts I could write about laying hands on the sick, etc… I am barely scratching the surface! As I read the Word of God, this scripture really stopped me in my tracks:
1 Corinthians 14:1-2 states, “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.”
WOW, that meant that IF I spoke in tongues, I would be speaking directly to God — and even satan couldn’t understand. So therefore, I would be praying God’s divine will without my flesh interfering! Most importantly, satan wouldn’t be able to hinder what was being prayed. Hallelujah! I had to have it! I had to have this wonderful gift. Didn’t verse 1 above say to EAGERLY DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS? I was on a mission and so were my friends! We began attending every Spirit-filled meeting we could find. I remember the first time someone touched me and I fell backwards. Yes, believe it or not, IT IS REAL. I had back issues at the time and there is NO WAY I would have fallen backwards and risked injury — trust me! I was at this meeting and the pastor called people up who wanted the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (that is what the world calls this greater surrender to the Holy Spirit – so don’t get hung on the term. My mentor calls it the MORE of the Lord). Of course I ran up and when the pastor got to me, he barely touched my stomach with the tip of his finger. Immediately I found myself heading backwards to the floor. I remember lying there, waiting for some beautiful holy language to come out of my mouth, but it didn’t happen. I was disappointed about that and after a few minutes I attempted to get up. I was so drunk/woozy feeling I couldn’t sit up. The pastor saw me trying to get up (being new at all of this, I didn’t realize I should just lie there in God’s presence and let Him do some work on my heart) and he said, “God isn’t finished with you” and he pointed in my direction. Immediately I was back on the floor again. Spiritually this happened. It was a gentle, precious moment — not scary and not forceful.
So at that point my candle was LIT and I was so hungry for God! One day I was sitting in my closet (literally) with the Bible and I was pointing at the scripture that states, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). I pointed at my Bible and said, “Jesus, You said if I asked I would receive. You said if I knocked You would open the door! I am seeking Lord!”
That night I attended a prayer meeting at a friend’s house. It was a bunch of women, hungering after God — each of us from different denominations, different races … it was awesome! When I entered the room, I found a spot to sit and I closed my eyes and very shyly and uncomfortably raised my hands (hilarious to those who know me now). I said, “Ok Lord. Teach me how to pray.” Immediately a sweet lady came over and said, “You don’t know me, but God asked me to lay hands on your head and on your stomach. May I?” Of course I agreed! THIS IS WHEN IT HAPPENED. She began to pray in a beautiful language and it felt like hot electric oil started at the top of my head and poured down to my neck. It was the most wonderful experience. At that point, I began to hear some syllables in my mind. As an act of obedience (using my own will), I began to speak them out in faith. That was back in the early 90’s.
In case you have the fear that God takes over your mouth and speaks for you — it doesn’t happen that way. Your will is involved. God gives you free will. Just as I am using my will to type these words, I used my will to speak the words the Holy Spirit placed in my mind.
Since then, God has allowed me to lay hands on many people and they have received a prayer language too (along with a greater infilling). I am amazed at how God does it differently for everyone. Some have visions and see their language written out. I remember one lady saw an arbor full of flowers with some of her words written within the flowers. God is so good to us!
If anyone wants to ask any questions, feel free to email me and I’ll be glad to discuss.
Please realize there is SO MUCH MORE to walking with the Lord. I just wanted to share this tiny part of my testimony. If I speak in the tongue of men and or angels, but have not LOVE, I am a loud and noisy gong or a clanging, banging cymbal. Faith, hope, and love, but the GREATEST of these is LOVE.
Photo 1: Taken of me as a child.