Remembering: El Shaddai (My Story Part Two)

Welcome to my story. I’m so glad you’re here! There are 13 posts in this series, and I will update the links as I post them:

I invite you to come along with me as I share my memories of brilliant light and unbelievable love, my descent into darkness and depression, and my reconnection and rebirth into Glorious Love. Mine is a story of supernatural experience intermingled with beautiful and broken humanity, the story of a spiritual awakening, of finding and reconnecting with a love I forgot existed, the story of an explosive, incomprehensible light that fills, awakens, heals, connects, animates, empowers, and spills out of every crevice of your being. This is part 2 of my story.

 

I was five years old. The lights were low in the living room where I sat on my dad’s lap. His Hebrew Bible was on his knee. Hebrew alphabet flashcards, written in his own handwriting,  were in his hand.

My dad worked third shift when I was little so I didn’t see him much during the week. Saturday afternoons were our special time together. We would sit on the couch while my mom worked in the brightly-lit office directly across from us. He taught me the Hebrew and Greek alphabets and more words in both languages than I can remember now. He read to me out of his “Jerusalem Bible.” He explained the Hebrew customs of Jesus’s time and a lot of the context around the New Testament stories. My dad went to seminary and has a deep understanding of and passion for the Judeo-Christian faith, with more of an emphasis on the Jewish understanding of the Messiah than is commonly seen in Christian circles today. All of this, he passed on to me.

Of the many things that my dad taught me, there is one that stood out from the rest, even at five years of age. There was one thing that struck that chord deep in my soul where those other-worldly memories lay hidden.

You see, as I had grown and accommodated myself to this physical world, I had suppressed many of these memories, not knowing how to fit them into what seemed to be the reality of life. But every so often, something would remind me, and the vivid impressions of something I had once known would come flooding back.

One night as I sat on my dad’s knee, he told me about “El Shaddai.” He explained to me that it was a Hebrew name for God, and that it meant “God who is more than enough.”

And in that moment I remembered. I had a vivid flashback of a brilliant, unspeakably gorgeous, all-consuming, all-satisfying light, shining with the fire of relentless love. I knew that if I could just get to that light, all my longings would cease, all my questions would be answered, and I would experience untold bliss and joy. I couldn’t tell you how I knew, I just knew more deeply than I knew myself that El Shaddai, God who is more than enough, was it. The Answer to everything. The one thing the whole world was looking for.

My dad taught me many other names of God in Hebrew, and all of them struck that chord inside me, but none so deeply as El Shaddai. I remembered “God who is More Than Enough” from somewhere before. I had experienced that satisfaction of knowing that I was deeply and truly loved, that all was right, that there was nothing to fear, and that the whole universe was held in his hands. It wasn’t something I had been taught or believed, it was something I had actually known. Those experiences were way too deep and strange to adequately put into words. I never told anyone of them, because I had no idea how to. But from that night on, I began a relentless quest to figure out who and what this El Shaddai was, and how I could find him again, how I could experience him in a tangible way.

I had been told that God was eternal, that he had no beginning and no end. I lay in bed at night and tried to imagine what “eternal” looked like. I closed my eyes and followed an imaginary road endlessly forward in my mind until I finally drifted off to sleep. I had been told that God created the heavens and the earth, and I felt drawn to him in the darkness, under starry skies. When my family and I would arrive home at night, I would crane my neck backward and stare at the stars, wishing I could fall into the sky and beyond, to wherever “El Shaddai” was. I felt terrified, excited, awestruck, and would have given anything to find him.

I dreamed one night that I was a passenger in a car, riding down wooded roads. As we approached an open field, I noticed a brilliant, shimmering light hovering just above the ground in the middle of the field. I immediately recognized it as the One I had been looking for my entire life. I yelled for the car to stop and jumped out to run to the light, but I was too late. Awake, I laid in bed and cried. It sounds dramatic, but I remember thinking at the time, “I would walk around the whole world hungry and barefoot and stop at every field if I thought I could find that light in the waking world.” That’s how powerful and real my memories of it were; that’s how strong the effect of the memory of that light was on me.

My life up until about five years of age was for the most part wholesome. I was loved by my parents, who taught me about Jesus. My first sister, Michelle, came along when I was two, and she was my soul mate, an extension of myself. I felt loved, secure, and happy.

I had dreams and memories of something far greater and more powerful than this physical world can contain, and I longed to remember and experience these mysteries again. I was sure if I searched as hard as I could, I would one day understand. My favorite Bible verse was Jeremiah 29:13:

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”

I knew the “me” the verse was speaking about. I knew it was the Light, the living ocean of Love from my memories, the one that my dad had taught me to call “El Shaddai,” God who is more than enough. And I knew that if searched with all my heart I would find him. I would discover who he was and how I could experience him again. And that’s exactly what I intended to do.

 

 

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

 

16 thoughts on “Remembering: El Shaddai (My Story Part Two)

  1. Melissa, my heart aches for you. Its too hard for really young girl to
    try and process all that. Its even hard for adults.But thro the yrs. I think
    it came clearas you got older Can’t wait to read more.

    Like

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