“you know Me.”
It’s that familiar Voice pulsing through every meaningful spiritual experience, every burst of clarity from Scripture…the breath on my cheek when profound truth appears in my mind…the inexplicable sweetness in even the most painful experiences…the knowledge through the searing pain that He is Truth, He is love, He is faithful, and that all that He does is good.
The doubt that arises from the pit of hell that questions “do I really know Him?” is empty, with no basis in truth.
What is true—what I KNOW—is that 20 years ago,
standing on a cement floor at a humid Illinois campground,
on a Wednesday night in July,
I met Him.
Physically, spiritually, mentally, with more joy and inexplicable wonder than I could ever convey in words. What I had hoped, prayed, yearned, wept for finally happened that night.
Summoned by the preacher, who asked “If you don’t have the Holy Ghost, come up to the front,” I walked to the altar wearing my gray drop-waist dress with the pink scarf, and lifted my hands. I remember an odd feeling in the pit of my stomach as I made my way past the rows of folding chairs…like my body knew something big was about to happen. Two pastors’ wives prayed with me.
It wasn’t immediate, and in fact, I distinctly remember getting a bit discouraged after a few minutes…there was a bit of a power struggle, I think, because I wasn’t getting what I wanted when I wanted it.
Then, just as I gave up, something came over me, and excitement and a lightness..weightlessness.. all over my body, and my tongue started to move. It was more than the stammering lips I had experienced before. My mouth was forming strange words I couldn’t understand, and they just kept coming. I didn’t even want to stop and take a breath. As soon as it began, I knew what was happening, and remember smiling as big as I could as God’s spirit flowed through me. I opened my eyes, and the two ladies were excited, praising God, smiling with me and shouting. I did not want it to stop. I felt–physically–like I could just jump and float away.
After a few minutes of pure joy and surrender, letting the presence of God wash over me in waves, I looked around in the crowd and saw my friend Allegia from my home church, who was also praying for the Holy Ghost. Trembling under the power of God, I staggered over to her, grabbed her arm, and started praying with my heart while my mouth still worshipped in another language. Within moments, she was filled with the Holy Ghost, too! It was awesome. Truly the best night of my life. I was eleven years old.
At Illinois Junior Camp, they had a tradition of writing the names of each kid who received the Holy Ghost on this big chalkboard on the platform. Each child got to go up to the platform and tell the preacher, then write his/her name on the board. I wrote my name up there, and was so overjoyed. The desire of my heart had finally been fulfilled.
My life has never been the same. God altered my course that night, and I love Him. More than anything, or anyone, anywhere. He is the lover of my soul, the very reason I live, the One whose face is reflected in the faces of my children, the source of companionship and intimacy and unequaled friendship and love that is embodied in my husband, the presence I feel when viewing creation, the calm answer to every uneasy question my mind brings up.
There simply is no other God. He has been the best friend, refuge, strong tower, comforter, teacher for the past 20 years (as of July 27), and it is His presence and the knowledge of Him that brings value to every experience I have in life.