I had two significant encounters that changed my relationship with Holy Spirit. Here is the first one.
When I became a solo parent, there was a wide and deep gamut of emotions to process. I would go into my closet and let it out. I could cry (even yell), and the kids would not be able to hear me. It was my safe place. My mentor gave me two books to read, and I would wake up early and go into my closet. Something began to yearn deep within me for more of Him. The former was great, but I was dying for more. It felt like survival. I had to have more of Him. I did not want the wacky, weird, even embarrassing Spirit that made my heart feel so unsafe and uncomfortable, but I was growing in my unquenchable hunger for Him, and at that point, my hunger was forcing my guard down. Hungry people do whatever it takes to be fed, even break down mental barriers that have been erected to keep them ‘safe.’ Within six months of losing my husband, my dad died, and two weeks later, my stepdad died. I was in full-blown grief over the significant men in my life and, at the same time, developed a headache that would not cease. It felt like a constant brain freeze from eating something cold too fast; nothing would reduce the pulsating pain. This went on for three months straight. People kept telling me it was just stress due to my profound grief, but deep down, I knew I had better coping skills than that. Despite the pain, I managed to drive the kids from CO to MN by myself for my dad’s funeral, and weeks later, I even took them to the mountain for our annual family getaway, but all I could do was lay on the bunk bed, unable to move. Finally, one night, I told the kids to lie down on Mommy’s floor and sleep. I could not help them get their PJs on or brush their teeth. I put my head on the pillow that night, fully confident I would die of my brain blowing up. The pain was unbearable. Hours later, I was rushed by a friend to the ER, where they discovered my carotid artery was torn. It was nothing short of a miracle that I held together for three long months walking around with a ripped artery. I was transferred to ICU and was told a simple sneeze could severely tear the artery completely. I was at high risk for a stroke or aneurysm. I spent a very scary few weeks maneuvering through healing for both my broken body and heart. I was still so sick and weak after being released from the hospital that my friends thought it best to keep the kids for a bit longer to give me time to heal. I was assigned a home health nurse because I kept fainting and passing out whenever I would stand up. One afternoon, I sat dazed on the couch, wanting to get up to make myself something to eat, but too weak to move. It was hours before my nurse arrived, yet I knew I risked passing out again if I got up. I was trapped in my body. While my heart was being stretched beyond its capacity with grief, my body was also being pushed to the limits. I was overwhelmed by my state and so desperately wanted to be healed. I missed my children (I had not been with them for over a month) and felt isolation so deep it was paralyzing. I was extremely sick and powerless to take care of my basic needs. It is hard to describe the weakness of my mind, body, and spirit at that moment. It felt like death.
Out of nowhere, I began to see events unfold. This was not just in my mind; it was as if it was really happening, and I was watching it like a movie. I saw a girl on a hospital bed and emergency workers rushing around her. They were running and racing the hospital gurney down the hall (again, I was watching this as if they were really doing it). There was seriousness and panic in the air. The girl on the hospital bed was me, and suddenly they stopped and placed a white sheet over her. I cannot fully explain what happened next, but I stood up and dropped to my knees. It was like my face could not get low enough to the ground, and words began to flow out of my mouth. It was as if I was speaking from the depth of my toes. I did not understand what I was saying, yet I knew I was saying something. It was forceful, and while I was aware I could stop it at any time and felt ‘in control,’ it was so powerful and moved without my effort or help that I did not want to interrupt it. It went on for a good five minutes, and then it was like it was over. I sat up stunned, with my face and hair completely soaked. I was a bit bewildered by what I had just experienced but realized I felt physically different. I felt like me again and felt strong for the first time in months. I had absolutely no grid for what just happened. I called my mentor, fully convinced I may have just lost my mind. She began to laugh and said with much joy, “Oh Lisa, you just had your first vision and spoke in a prayer language. Lisa, that was Holy Spirit!!!!” I believe the vision was Holy Spirit alerting me that a spirit of death was coming to me, and He gave me a language to pray against it. My mind did not understand it, but my spirit did. That encounter left me speechless for months. Was that the odd, wacky, and uncomfortable Spirit I saw touching others? Suddenly to have my own experience changed everything. I had to have more of Him. My hunger became almost excruciating to steward. My biggest prayer from that moment on was, “More, Lord, MORE.” Holy Spirit knew my journey and knew why I was so leery of Him, yet He also knew my deepest desire could only be filled and satisfied by Him. He knew I had a calling on my life that would be to introduce scores of people around the globe to Him, but I first had to experience Him, and He knew it had to happen in a way that came through my need, not my intellectual knowledge as that was shut down to Him.
P.S. I wept writing that. I cannot imagine my life without Holy Spirit. I think of the pages and pages and pages of testimonies of ways He has shown up, revealed truth, parented the kids, opened doors, brought me comfort, healing, and joy, and been there for me. What about you? Are you stuck in the place of being hungry for more of Him but leery of Holy Spirit? Do you need an encounter with Him that reveals who He really is? Cry out and tell Him. It’s okay to acknowledge your weariness, concern, and doubt. Confess your trust and faith in Him, even when you do not have it all figured out yet. More Lord, MORE!