It was the end of September 2015. My life at that point was spiraling out of control. This particular week was more hectic than usual to say the least. I was juggling a full time job, tending to my husband who had torn his ACL/MCL about a month prior, taking care of our two children and packing an entire home of four mostly by myself. My husband helped as much as he could from our bedroom by tapping each and every box but mostly rested before he was scheduled for surgery, which happened to fall in the day before we closed on our first home.
It was now October 1st. Closing day! Because the buyers bank had changed the closing date so many times over the past six weeks, we were given the entire day to move the final items out. We signed paperwork in that morning and our buyers would proceed us. When we finished, I headed straight to the house to finish packing while my husband and mother-in law went back to our new apartment. I scrambled to finish up last minute packing and final requests from the buyer while my father in law hauled the final items to storage. My sweet Mother in law who had been playing nurse all day, picked the kids up from school, helped them with their homework, cooked dinner and took care of my husband without hesitation. What a woman right! Before she headed home, she stopped by to check on me. She also brought over a frozen dinner and some plastic silverware. She insisted that I eat. I plopped up on the kitchen counter top and proceeded to eat for the first time all day. Man was that the best low fat, no salt, bland- freezer burnt meal Ive ever had. By this time, it was already after midnight. I assume she picked up on just how exhausted I really was because she kept insisting that I stay at their house which was just a couple of streets away. It wasn’t usually like her to be that persistent with me and at that point, I was too tired to argue. I locked up for the last time and headed to my in laws. We said out goodnights and headed to bed. I slowly walked upstairs and fell into bed, fully clothed. I reached over to turn the lamp off, closed my eyes and fell fast asleep…
When I share what happened next, I do so in sequence so that it is easier for you to understand but in actuality, it happened suddenly and all at once in terms of how we perceive time. In actuality, there is no sense of time when you’re in the presence of God. I also want to make it perfectly clear that finding the words to fully describe being in His presence is extremely difficult. It’s difficult because there are no “human” words powerful enough. They don’t exist. Period. Words such as beautiful, magnificent or amazing are wildly inadequate. But what I experienced was so real and so lucid and so intense, it made my previous experiences in life, seem hazy.
… So again, after getting to my in laws house, we said out goodnights and headed to bed. I slowly walked upstairs and fell into bed, fully clothed. I reached over to turn the lamp off, closed my eyes and fell fast asleep. I assume it was a short time later when I felt what I can only describe as “my spirit” being lifted from the bed. I was being drawn to what I described as a brightness. The beautiful brightness was near the master closet. As I drew closer to beautiful beaming white light, it began to fully illuminate the entire room. I could see every object in the room with perfect clarity. Every object including my physical body which stilI laid peacefully on top of the mattress. Suddenly and without warning, I was consumed with the overwhelming sense of Gods presence. His Love, His Peace and His Joy was literally all around me. Literally. I was able to feel His thoughts and intense adoration for me. His love for me was unimaginable. It was if I was the only person He ever loved and created. He consumed my thoughts of His absolute purity and perfection. I was full of a sort of peace and assurance that I had never experienced before in the flesh. It was a brightness that I didn’t just see. It was a brightness that I felt. And it felt familiar, like something I remembered or recognized. The best way to put it is this… I was home. I was whole. I understood what life was for. I held the the key to what it is that we’re here for. The key to pure and everlasting joy.
What I experienced next is the most difficult to describe. His mighty power also had a dimension of holy fear. Meaning, no rebellion against Him could remain in His presence without being judged. Up to this moment I had experienced Him as a gentle, loving father… but now I was experiencing the part of Him that was ferocious. Ferocious as a lion, a – warrior – conquering King … mightily to be feared. And I was. I was in fear of the Lord. I realized that I had been an unrepentant sinner and began to feel the weight of his judgement. I had rejected His gift of salvation (preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin or loss). His judgement also shined a big light on the person I had become. It was like He put a mirror in front of me which revealed my pridefulness, evilness and disobedience. Immediately I fell to my knees sobbing uncontrollably and begged for His forgiveness. A forgiveness that I knew I was completely unworthy of. Even though I had done such horrible things throughout the years and lived a life of a sinner, He showed mercy on me. His mercy on me withheld the eternal judgement I deserved and instead granted me the forgiveness that in no way, was earned. His compassion and forgiveness filled my soul with an overwhelming eagerness to please Him. And at that moment, I understood what I was created for. I understood my purpose. I understood why I would never feel complete without Him. I knew the answer to one of life’s most important question and I was given a second chance at life. I would now live to share this story. To share His message. To share His grace and His mercy.
Suddenly, my alarm clock started to sound. Normally I would hit the snooze button but this time it was different. I had a purpose. I was. I couldn’t wait to “start over”. That nagging dissatisfaction I had felt before had vanished. I believe God placed that “nagging dissatisfaction “ in every human being for an excellent reason. Anything we try to put in place of where God belongs is really just an idol. My pride, unbelief and idleness played a large part of my own self-destruction. It’s something that I continue to battle to this day although now I am able to recognize its existence, admitting that it cannot keep me satisfied. God is perfectly suited to displace every idol we possess. But it’s not easy. It takes lots of practice to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. God can certainly shrink his presence of the Holy Spirit, leaving virtually no signs of his present where sin is rampant. Obedience is key. Today when I hear God, I obey Him. Sometimes it takes longer than it should, but I obey. Sharing my experience is not always easy because I don’t always get the reaction I was expecting. In fact, more that not, the reaction I get is sometimes discouraging. It’s even made me doubt my entire experience until I hear his voice again. So that is what I do. I go out and tell my story, and I share the message God told me to share. And what is that message? It is many things, but here is one way I would put it:
God is real! We are here for one reason. Only He can bring true joy and everlasting happiness in ways that no human can. Fear God. We are all sinners, so please Repent! Last but certainly not least, forgive others. If not, you will NOT be forgiven.
That may sound simple, but for me it changed everything. It was the answer I had spent so much time trying to find. And now that I have it, I want it for everyone. I mean everyone. I want everyone to be there with me, in the bathing glow of God’s love—even my worst enemy and the biggest sinners. No one should have to live in that horrible darkness. Now help others like myself. Others who struggled with that all to familiar emptiness and nagging dissatisfaction. And in the same way God forgave my sins, I no longer harbor anger or resentment toward anyone who has hurt me in my life. I love my enemies. I’ve forgiven the unforgivable. I fear God. Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a great impact on the way we live our lives. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshipping Him in awe.
Before all this happened I questioned if God really existed, and now I know—with more certainty than I know anything—God is real.