How many of us would like an extra measure of comfort, wisdom, and help? God has given that very thing to us – through His Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us in John 16:17 that it is better for us that He leaves the earth so that the Helper can come. While Jesus was a single man, Holy Spirit is available 24/7. He never sleeps, slumbers, or misses a call. He is alive, active, and ever-so-present. Teaching isn’t what He does; it is who He is. To call on Holy Spirit for help means He will bring revelation, creative solutions, and deep insight not known to man.
I was raised in the Lutheran church but did not become a believer until I was 24. I loved God, Jesus, and His Word, but I wasn’t so sure about Holy Spirit. I disliked anything that reeked of being ‘charismatic’ and often made sharp remarks about it. It was not that I did not want the Spirit of God, but rather, I was afraid and unsure. I feared it might have been demonic in disguise. I had a mentor who embraced Holy Spirit, which made me uncomfortable. We would have conversations about it, but it usually ended with me telling her I was done. My mom went to a faith healer when she was diagnosed with reoccurring breast cancer and had an ‘encounter,’ as she said, but died two months later. That only increased my dislike and distaste for anything ‘charismatic.’
I am so thankful that God knows our hearts and understands our journey. I am even more grateful that He doesn’t keep us there. On occasion, I will get a message from a parent confessing their unbelief about things regarding Holy Spirit. They share their sincere heart and concerns with me. I listen, but I have learned over the years that they do not need, or really want, for ME to try and convince them one way or another. They need not another opinion but to hear directly from Him. My loving response to them is simply this – it is Holy Spirit’s job to lead you into all truth (not mine or any other pastor/leader/teacher). Mental knowledge is one thing, but the conviction of His truth is another. I encourage you to take what you are cautious and concerned about and bring it to Him directly. Ask Him to teach you and lead you to His truth. Teaching is not what He does; it is who He is (John 16:13).
Over the years, I have gone after making sure the kids know the following safety boundaries:
I share this often because I think it is VITAL. When my children sin/disobey/get out from under my instruction, 100% of the time Holy Spirit gives them a check or speaks to them. I want to teach them to obey HIM more than obeying me. When they were little and would hit, I would come to them and say, “How does your tummy feel?” and would help them to see that ‘bad’ feeling is Holy Spirit telling them that hitting their sibling is not good for them.
This generation NEEDS the leading of the Holy Spirit to maneuver through their world. Because we have already laid the foundation of these boundaries, when my children want to venture out into the world, I simply ask Jesus first and make sure I am feeling peace. We talk about the specific safeguards, and I send them out the door with confidence that Jesus has them, AND should anything come their way, they are prepared and empowered to handle it.
How many of you would like to sit across from Jesus and have coffee for an hour? Could you imagine how that encounter would change your life? I am not sure I would do much talking, but I would be ALL ears to whatever He had to say. But listen to what Jesus Himself says in John 16:4-7: “I didn’t tell you this earlier because I was with you every day. But now I am on my way to the One who sent me. Not one of you has asked, ‘Where are you going?’ Instead, the longer I’ve talked, the sadder you’ve become. So let me say it again, this truth: ‘It’s better for you that I leave. If I don’t leave, the Friend won’t come. But if I go, I’ll send him to you.'”
Jesus says someone is coming that is BETTER than your 1:1 coffee date with Him. Look what is stated in Matthew 13:16-17 (MSG): “But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.” They never had the chance because the Friend, the Helper, the Holy Spirit had not yet come. The Old Testament giants of faith envy what has been so freely given to YOU. Jesus’s life and death reveal yet another dimension of God’s goodness to us. Not only did He send Jesus to die so that we could have a relationship with Him, but He also provides us with ongoing 24/7 help. While God’s ways are immeasurable, some of the roles of Holy Spirit include giving you wisdom and helping you to know right from wrong. He knows us better than we know ourselves and leads us accordingly. He gives us insight and counsel in our time of need. He gives us courage in pain or adversity. He is all-knowing and leads us to the truth. He convicts us when we are in need of correction. He is our Comforter and ministers to us. He alerts us to danger and leads us to live a righteous and fruitful life.
I picture life like a dance floor. It is my job as a Daughter to dance freely, but it is Holy Spirit’s job to know when I am getting too close to the edge and guide me back. He can be trusted to guide, lead, and correct me. I do not have to live a life so cautious and alert but can instead trust Him to lead me. God has equipped you with a Helper. Simply put, if you are going to walk out life on earth as a Son or Daughter, you need Him. Camp out in these Scriptures and allow God to speak to you through them.
John 15:16 – “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.”
Isaiah 30:21-22 – “When you turn to the right or turn to the left, you will hear his voice behind you to guide you, saying, ‘This is the right path; follow it.'”
Titus 3:6 – “God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
If Holy Spirit is our God-given Helper to be fruitful and full of wisdom and comfort, why then are so many people leery of Him? There are three main reasons.
#1. We live in a fallen world where there is a spiritual battle. We have an enemy whose purpose is stealing, killing, and destroying anything that resembles the Kingdom of God on earth. Primarily, he is after your connection with God. In a natural war, it makes logical sense to attack the power source leaving the troops to fend for themselves. The same is true in the spiritual realm. This is the epitome of orphan living. God sent His Son so we could deeply connect with Him. What is the point of mentally knowing God but not being able to experience His love, power, and help in your time of need? The enemy wants us to be mental believers. God wants us to be interactive children who trust Him, know Him and experience Him. The sad part is that the enemy cannot take Holy Spirit from us, so he strives to blind us from seeing Him and plants lies to distort the truth about him, so YOU choose not to partner with Him. Friends, it is time to stop allowing the enemy to dictate your battle plan. God has given you all that you need to be full of joy, fruit, and peace. Do not deny the gift of Holy Spirit.
#2. One of the biggest reasons why people have a distaste for the things of Holy Spirit is not that they do not want the Spirit of God. They most likely had mothers who did not manage their emotions well and were afraid Holy Spirit would make them feel out of control and unsafe as they did with their mom growing up. Holy Spirit is not female, but God designed the family unit to model after God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, who all have unique roles in the godhead.
God/Father – is where we get our provision, protection, and identity.
Jesus/Siblings – is where we get our companionship/friendship/sense of belonging.
Holy Spirit/Mother – is where we get our comfort, nurturing, and teaching.
Moms, it is okay to be on a journey of becoming who you are as a Daughter. One of the greatest things you can say to your child when you make an emotional mess is, “I am sorry that Mom reacted/yelled/got impatient/didn’t listen to your heart. Do you know Holy Spirit would never ______?” Restore them to the TRUTH about who Holy Spirit is, despite your weakness, so they do not transfer their earthly experiences onto the godhead. The goal is not to become perfect parents but to bridge our children to the One who always will be perfect.
#3. I once did ministry with a mom who was hungry for deeper encounters with God yet seemed to have a wall up. Like she wanted more but didn’t. As we processed with Holy Spirit, she got really snippy and said, “Well, I don’t want to be like THAT,” and recalled a story of watching someone at church do weird stuff in the name of having an ‘encounter with Holy Spirit.’ We asked Jesus to show us about that encounter, and clear as a bell, she heard Jesus say, “That was not Me.” My friend had the discernment that what she was witnessing was not really the move of God, but all these years, she denied her discernment and then blamed herself for not being more hungry for Him. God wanted her to see that HE is safe, and not only can she trust encounters with Him, but she can trust Him to give her discernment when something is not pure.
Holy Spirit is your friend! Which example above describes your journey with Holy Spirit?
The kids wanted to go somewhere alone, and I had mixed feelings about it. As I processed my thoughts, I told them, “You can go, but only if you listen to your babysitter.” They looked at me like I had three heads. Surely they were too old for a babysitter. I told them Holy Spirit was their babysitter, and if they agreed to listen to whatever He instructed them to do, I was fine with them going. They agreed, and I was able to hand them over to their sitter just like I did when they were younger, leaving them for the first time. I love how I can actively give my children the freedom to grow up yet trust Him to guide and protect them.
I had two significant encounters that changed my relationship with Holy Spirit. Here is the second one.
I was so hungry for more of Him and heard about a conference called Awaken to Destiny with a man named Randy Clark. I went. The worship was deep, yet I felt a disconnect. I got back to my hotel room late and sobbed. I told the Lord, “Whatever this space is between us, I can’t take it anymore. I cannot possibly go through another worship hour, another great speaker, and know that there is MORE but not be able to experience it.” I literally felt like there was a part of me that would die if He didn’t close the gap. The following morning, I woke at 4, and in ways that only Holy Spirit can orchestrate. He brought me to this YouTube video. Watch it for yourself: Healing the Orphaned Spirit – Leif Hetland – YouTube.
I went back to the conference and felt like a totally different person. Later that day, Randy called for “impartation.” I had no idea what that word even meant. I knew that some people were going forward, but others were not. I found myself walking up front, honestly not knowing who was supposed to be there. But I didn’t care. I was so hungry it didn’t matter if I made a fool out of myself. I had this awareness that since I was three people deep from the stage, Randy would not be able to touch or pray for me, which I was okay with. I felt safer being three rows away from him (because I knew he was powerful and wasn’t sure what would happen, which scared me a bit). I found my arms stretched out and kept saying “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” repeatedly, but with such force; it felt embarrassing and freeing at the same time. Suddenly, this massive, giant-like hand clapped itself over my left shoulder, and I fell to the ground. I felt this physical wave of deep warmth I have never ever felt before. I honestly did not know at that point if this was God or not. I just knew that I felt so loved, and I liked it. I was aware that others were on the ground, too, but had no grid for what was happening.
When you sit on the sideline watching, it is NOTHING like being the one who is experiencing it for the first time. I opened my eyes just a crack to see this man step over me, the same one who put his hand on my shoulder. I knew it was that man named Bill Johnson who was speaking later that day, but I knew nothing about him except for the fact that his touch sent me into the most powerful experience with God’s love that this girl has ever known. I stood up from that encounter and have never been the same. His love touched something so deep in a way that I did not know was humanly possible this side of heaven. Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I want you to see that I spent a decade pursuing God, Jesus, and the Word with everything I had but was resisting Holy Spirit just as strong. My mind would not allow me to be entertained with the truth about Him. I had to EXPERIENCE Him to know Him because my mind had created boundaries preventing me from learning more about who He was. Saul was the same way. He was Jesus’ #1 enemy until he EXPERIENCED Him. These two encounters (experiences with Holy Spirit) forever changed my life and ushered me into my calling and purpose on earth.
This was such a fun podcast to do with my friends Steve and Lorraine Ewert Box.
I love Holy Spirit – like crazy, crazy love Him. But we didn’t start out that way. In fact, we have come a long way to get here. I was raised in the church and loved Jesus, but I was never introduced to Holy Spirit as a person. Years later, my mom was dying of cancer and went to a known faith healer. She came back glowing from her experience. She was so convinced of her experience that she stopped taking medication. I later woke up from being in a coma for three months to the news that she had died. A deep-seated judgment came over me against faith healers and the charismatic movement. I seethed in anger, blaming Him for taking my mom. I once found a worship tape from this man and ripped out the ribbon in disgust. I spent 15 years pursuing God passionately while rejecting Holy Spirit. It wasn’t really that I didn’t like the Spirit of God. It was that I adamantly did not like the people who fell into the charismatic camp and ‘went after’ the things of the Spirit. It bothered me. I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t understand it. And more so, I concluded it didn’t work because my mom still died. Underneath my resentment was a deep sadness that, despite her attempts to get healed, it didn’t work, and I was left motherless. God, in His mercy, brought me into a season of such deep hunger. I was consumed with the need for more of Him. It is impossible to embrace all the Father has for us without also embracing Holy Spirit. I had to forgive this man for my judgments against him, and suddenly the Lord started showing me how precious and sweet it was that my mom pioneered with Holy Spirit and had a massive encounter with Him before she passed. Judgments towards the things we don’t yet understand blind our ability to receive!
When the kids were younger and would violate one of our household rules, such as no hitting, I would say to them, “Check your belly,” which means how does your belly feel right now. Sin never feels good or brings peace. I was helping them see that it wasn’t just about their performance or obeying the law but that it does not profit them to sin. As the years have rolled on, we have zeroed in on this principle of “how does your belly feel?” as this is where we gauge our peace. If you don’t have peace, no matter the circumstance, chances are you probably shouldn’t be doing it. Peace is His presence, and we want to be in peace at all times.
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!