I was born in the fabulous funky summer of 1973 to a young woman of 17 who was married 2 weeks prior to my birth. I had the most amazing childhood!! I can remember everything from the time I was about 2 until the day I left for Washington DC on a trip with some academic something or other group at the age of 11 when upon return of that trip my family would have packed up our lives and moved us to a foreign land far from the lush green glorious “Pride of the Foothills” that I called home.
I remember every single teacher I had from preschool until 5th grade. I remember every single friend, all their phone numbers, the phone numbers of all my relatives that lived in the same city that I would call to see if my sister and I could come over. I remember smells of classrooms, tastes of my favorite food at lunchtime (spaghetti and cheese bread. I don’t know WHAT it was about that cheese bread but you put those two things together and there wasn’t much better to eat in all the world as far as I was concerned) and what it felt like to be spanked by Mrs.Main, back when it was acceptable to put the fear of teachers into small children to teach them to be respectful of their elders. Wonder why they ever stopped doing that? Big mistake.
There was a period of time during my fabulous childhood where I was having unexplained horrible night terrors. I would sleep walk, I would say things, I was searching for something or someone and I would try to walk out the doors and tell anyone who stopped me that I was looking for someone. I would end up under our bunk beds, hiding from whatever it was that was tormenting me at night and point things out, giant pigs in particular,that I saw outside my window grazing on the flower bed my mother had planted under our bedroom window, begging my mother to see what I was seeing and her begging me to believe her when she said nothing was there. I would burst into the bible study that my parents were hosting, speaking in heavenly tongues and crying out to Jesus with my arms lifted and tears rolling down my face. It was a VERY freaky time for me AND my poor parents and my mother has told me numerous times that it began when I was in Kindergarten and I don’t know HOW long it lasted, years I would say, but I still recall the day it ended.
I grew up in a christian home, baptized as an infant at the local Lutheran church in order to suffice my Catholic grandparents who were positive that if I died I would go to hell. My father had converted to Christianity during the Jesus movement coming out of the free love movement in the late 60’s early 70’s where he and my mother experienced some pretty radical tent revivals and bible studies on the floors of warehouses with young long haired pastors who would later become some of the greatest evangelists of our lifetime.
A good portion of my young life was spent every Sunday in a “name it and claim it” faith based, Pentecostal church whose leaders were taught by the Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price variety. They sang some pretty amazing Hebrew-esque worship with guitars and tambourines. He is Jehovah! I will Dance as David danced! Sing Hallelujah to the Lord, songs that still spark something in me if I hear them somewhere. Songs that I remember hearing the Holy Spirit sing over me during those nightmares and torment I was experiencing for whatever reason.
During an early morning of worship at that church it was not uncommon for the Pastor to “feel led by the Holy Spirit” that “someone was“… It was always something prophetic he would call out about someone in the building or someone intervening for a family member or friend. There would be the laying on of hands, people would be “slain in the spirit” and they would fall back into the arms of someone who was always behind them just in case, and they always had these silky cloth things to put over the legs of the women who were in dresses you know, for modesty purposes.
These things took place in front of us kids before we were excused into our Sunday School classes and they were very normal to us growing up. None of it seemed strange and I never once doubted that any of it was anything less than these people of faith being open and receptive to what the Holy Spirit wanted to do in that building of believers for their good and Gods glory. I would never in all my life feel or agree with the assumption that I had no doubt about these occurrences genuinely being from the Lord (like others have suggested) because I either didn’t know any better or I was a child who was brainwashed or any of the negative claims against the faith churches. I believe that those things were happening because God is able, and because those people were receptive to whatever the Lord wanted to do there. Also because of what I experienced one Sunday morning during a time of worship.
I’m not sure how old I was when it happened. I’m guessing it was at the peek of these bad dreams and sleep walking. I was losing so much sleep at night that I would tell my teacher at school I wasn’t feeling well, just so I could go into the office and nap on the cot in the nurses office because I was so exhausted. They were getting pretty sick of me coming in and had called my dad at work to come get me, he was not happy about that. I had tried to explain to him how I was feeling and he KNEW what was happening at night, but no one knew how to even deal with this. I mean, they prayed over me so many times, even in the midst of my sleepwalking into their bible study they prayed over me and this STILL continued.
So we’re in church and worship is amazing as always however, that day I remember it was ringing very loudly in my head. The hands clapping above my short little self felt like they were clapping in my face and the singing was just obnoxious and confusing. I remember FEELING the same fear that would come over me in the night settling in me during the singing that morning. I tried to sit down and check out, not pay attention but of course, mom makes you stand up and pay attention. I was claustrophobic, I was hot, dizzy and confused until suddenly, it was almost as if all at once the music just stopped and it got completely quiet in there. I could hear the muffling sound of the lead pastor speaking, but I don’t have a clue what he said. I don’t remember feeling anything strange and it is so wild that I can remember EVERY single thing from my childhood the way that I can down to the smell of the Kindergarten restrooms, but I can NOT for anything remember those few moments that the pastor called out that tormented spirit that he felt was in that room that Sunday.
I remember my mother asking me if I had heard what he said and although I didn’t hear the words he used, I knew what had just happened. There were others there who had seen me in my tormented sleepwalking moments at one time or another and I could feel their eyes staring at me as we made our way through the little sanctuary and out the back door into our Sunday School class. I believe I even high fived one of the men who had been to our house one night as I walked out the door that day leaving behind whatever was in me that was causing such chaos and never having another night terrorizing, sleep walking bad dream again. I dont know why any of that happened to me, no one does and we may not ever know. I often wonder though and sometimes I even think about possibly asking God, if it were His will for me to know, to reveal the source of it. Because now that I am 40 and have lived the life that I have with the struggles that I do, I have to wonder if all of it is somehow related.
Up until a few years ago I NEVER discussed these events, not ever. I was always afraid of either how people would judge my faith, what they would think of me or how they might treat me afterward if they knew. Even now I am hesitant to discuss it unless we are talking about spirits, demons or speaking in tongues or things related because I know that SO much of that has been distorted, abused and taken out of context and mocked but then I feel like dang, I EXPERIENCED these things and I know first hand the reality of them and the power of the holy spirit, faith healing and tongues, how can I NOT talk about it. This is the first time I have ever put this experience into words on a screen or on paper so I would ask that you at least attempt to try to be civilized if you have comments or remarks to make, and if you cant well, that is really just a reflection of you and I will understand.
I believe that all of my life experiences God has brought me through every single fire safely and carefully so that one day I could give a testament to His faithfulness with the gift of gab and thought that I cant seem to turn off, ever. So I choose to use it in order to give Him glory and show His goodness. That is one of the reasons I believe I am here.