At the age of 6, my dad introduced me to a prayer that if I prayed it, he claimed I would then be a Christian. I wanted Jesus in my heart. I constantly lived to please Him, but after this prayer, I expected to be perfect. No more spankings, no more corners. But instead, I felt worse. I struggled more everyday and I didn’t understand. My parents didn’t explain.
At 14 I began realizing I was trying to be good on my own. I didn’t know the next step. For several weeks at church an elder came up to me and asked if I wanted to be baptized. I denied him each time. One Sunday he asked my dad. To my dad’s knowledge I was saved so he told me to get baptized. I was frustrated. He didn’t see my heart. There was no way I was saved. But because I had been taught to be submissive, I did not argue with my dad. “In the name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I now baptize you.” I arose out of the water as if a heavy blanket were over me. Burden… I felt the guilt and shame of lying to the church as they all cheered for me. Every compliment that day made me sick.
At the age of 19, just before going to college, my spirit was being tormented. I heard the Holy Spirit calling me, but my flesh was crawling with demons of fear, desires, lust and hatred. I slammed my Bible to the floor and spoke out loud, “If you really are God, then show me a verse!” I really wanted an answer!!! Immediately I put my finger on a verse that said, “Be slow to anger.” That made me more mad. I said, “There is no way I am settling down.” Again I slammed the Bible, threw it open and put my finger down. This time the verse was, “Be slow to speak and quick to listen.” How could I listen!! I was so mad and there was no way I wanted to cool down. I wouldn’t hear a thing!! The third time, again, “Be slow to anger.” I just dropped to the floor. “Okay, God! What is it?”
I heard God say, “Choose this day. Me or the world?” It wasn’t long before I said, “Jesus! I want Jesus!!” Immediately God led me to repentance. The next step was baptism. A bitter word in my mouth, but I knew this time, I was depending on Jesus to help me through this life. He wasn’t just sitting on the sidelines waiting for me to mess up so He could go back to the cross. The day of the baptism we went to the river. As I went into the water, my eyes were open and I saw a bright light enter my soul and darkness rushed out of me. I just watched the spirit of shame wash down the river.
I began to journal my prayers when I realized I would fall asleep during prayer on my bed. I didn’t want to fall asleep on my Lord. During these prayers I heard the spontaneous thoughts and knew it was God. I just had no idea I was doing what you teach, Mark! Miracles and pain, blessings and curses later my dad sent me an email from your videos with Charity explaining dreams. My dad knew I dreamed a lot. That’s when I started hearing more. I wanted what you had. I wanted what Charity had. Joy didn’t seem to stop flowing from you. I felt that through the videos. I asked myself, “Why am I not happy? I have tried minimalism, I’ve tried requesting my husband to do more for me. I’ve tried hanging with new friends. I’ve tried working from home. I’ve tried having children, etc. Nothing is working.” There were days I was happy and thought that was the Joy of the Lord, but it was not sustaining. I wanted MORE!!!!!!!!!
Then I received the email that you were coming to my area… wow! My spirit jumped up and down. I just knew we were to go. The first evening my husband and I met Don and Kay Martin from Kansas. I heard they led groups in their home. That’s what piqued my interest. Saturday morning we arrived early. When Don and Kay walked in I inquired about their meetings and how they did that. From that moment, Don gave us a word from the Lord and we were connected. We had lunch together, then from 4:30-11:30 p.m. we were with them. At 10:30 Don asked, “Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?” We said, “Well yes….” He added, “With the gift of speaking in tongues?” Immediately, “NO!
Oh goodness, no.” That moment opened up questions and I began to shake. I told them that for many years how I felt something in my stomach rise up and flow to my head whenever I prayed, but it was becoming far more frequent that I was beginning to think I had a disease that would come on if I bowed my head. Don asked me if it made me feel like it just wanted to come out and I said, “YES! I feel like my brain is going to explode!” He led us to his hotel room and there we yielded to the Holy Spirit and within moments, Spiritual beautiful language was flowing from our mouths! The Holy Spirit was finally flowing! What a relief!!! I felt ten pounds lighter within MINUTES!!!! How could this be and how can you explain this feeling?
My sweet Jesus brought this illustration to my mind: The Potter and the clay. When you find natural clay to work with, it is suggested to bring it in and dry so that you can smash it and grind it into a smooth powder. At this point you pour a little water at a time to mix it in. Once you can make ribbons of clay through your fingers when you squeeze it, it is ready to be formed.
Before receiving this gift I felt like a clay pot that had been formed but set aside and dried. I was thirsty. I was not a good vessel. I could not hold what was being poured into me. The occasional moisture was nice, but I was not where I knew I could be. When we met with Don and Kay Martin they took us to the Potter’s house. My opinions, my analytical self and my weariness were crushed and refined to powder. Yielding to the Holy Spirit I felt Him adding water and mixing together my spirit and His. He threw me to the wheel and began spinning! I am refreshed! I am redeemed! I am whole! I have been made into a beautiful vessel! Already the demons are fighting, (this is where the fire comes in.) Just enough fire, just enough heat will “bake” me. I will mature the longer I am in the fire/ the kiln. I want to be completed in His time!
I thank God for being patient with me. His mercy endures forever! I am His creation! I am proud of it! Thank you for yielding to our Savior and not giving up after 11 years of silence.