I was raised in a christian home by parents who were incredibly active in a church where I have quite fond memories of growing to know God and the bible. I began the journey of knowing God more personally when I was 10-years-old. I remember going to bed one evening angry. We had guests and my parents gave them my room instead of one of my brothers. I threw a fit and as I lay in bed God showed me my sin of anger. It makes me laugh as I recall it. All the sins I engaged in and He used that one to show me what sin was. I cried and cried as I realized that I was actually full of sin, yet I was overwhelmed as God somehow showed my 10-year-old mind and imagination that He was without sin and wanted to save me from mine. I received His invitation and knew the next step was to ask Him into my heart — something my baptist upbringing prepared me for. I woke up the next morning and couldn’t wait to apologize to my parents and share the good news – God saved me last night!
I was water baptized at our church shortly after that experience and as the years passed, I was water baptized a couple more times. Why so many? Perhaps I expected something to happen when I was lifted out of that water. I knew what had happened on the inside, but perhaps I was looking for something else to happen on the outside. Something that not only my heart could believe in, but my eyes could see. I remember my parents telling me before the third water baptism that it would be the last. I hoped it would satisfy whatever it was I was looking for, but when I was lifted out of that water I felt no different from the two other times before it.
By 2008, twenty some years later, I can honestly say my heart was still seeking a baptism. By this point in my life I had encountered, discovered, tasted, seen and known God in ways that still thrill me to think about today. But something was missing. I didn’t know it was missing, the way you know facts and data, but I felt it was missing, more like intuition. And when I read the bible, especially the part where Jesus promises a specific baptism to His Disciples, I felt that was it.
“And being assembled together with them, Jesus commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John baptized with water but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'” Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
I didn’t know anyone who had encountered God that way and by this time I had traveled the world and visited many churches of many different denominations and somehow always got into conversations with pastors and church leaders about this disciple baptism. I was indulged a lot and prayed for from time to time. Many of those prayers revolved around people asking God (more like preaching to me) that I would believe that what I had received from Him at age 10 was the baptism I was still seeking. Oh, I wanted to believe! I wanted my restlessness to finally settle and if my unbelief was the problem, I wanted to surrender it. But by age 32, I was either still not believing or I was believing for something I had not yet received. Which was it? I was not sure, but I had resolved that God was the One who could answer me and I wasn’t leaving until He did.
That’s a pretty bold statement for a 32-year-old wife and mother of two tiny ones. With a few weeks until Christmas, my husband and I agreed that once the holidays ended I would go and make my inquiry of the Lord and I would not return until my heart was satisfied.
Me and my son during Christmas 2008.
[This is part one in a series of my experiences leading up to my Baptism in the Holy Spirit.]