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:
- Memories of Divine Light
- Remembering: El Shaddai
- Descent into Darkness
- Brush with Death
- Visions of Glory and Bliss
- Miraculous Healings
- Chasing Supernatural Experiences
- When my World Caved In
- Understanding: It’s All About Love
- Rebirth Into Divine Love
- You Are Eternally Loved
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 6 of my story.
In the last portion of my story, I described a transcendent experience in which I was suddenly overcome by the love of God at the age of 19. I was swept away into an experience of infinite knowing, oneness, bliss, and divine love.
I learned some very important truths during my experience. I learned that God loved me with an incomprehensible, infinite ocean of very tangible love. I learned that he was pleased with me and that nothing in this world could harm me. I learned that I had not been alone – not for one moment. I learned that I had come to life on earth with a purpose to fulfill and that my purpose was unfolding perfectly. I learned that the depression and darkness I had sunk into were my choice, and that I could also choose to be free.
However, my broken 19 year-old-self was not emotionally mature enough to handle an experience of such other-worldly magnitude. I promptly forgot the lessons I had learned. I didn’t want to go back to normal life and deal with my mental, emotional, and relational issues. I just wanted to feel the love and bliss again.
The glow of the experience faded and I found myself, like a drug addict, desperate for more. I tried anything and everything to recreate a supernatural experience so I could relieve the emptiness of my depression and the pain of my dysfunction, however temporarily. I spent many nights alone praying and worshiping under the stars – which I highly recommend, by the way. Nature has a way of ushering you into the presence of God.
Finding my Home
God, ever sensitive to the weaknesses and needs of his children, provided an atmosphere in which I could grow while safely experiencing his supernatural presence and power. His provision came in the form of Resurrection Life Church in Grandville MI. This church impacted me so deeply that I still view it as home, even though I have been gone for almost a decade.
My co-worker first introduced me to Res Life. I listened with rapt attention at work as she spoke of people dancing in the isles, physical healings occurring during worship services, and a God of forgiveness and love.
I had just spent 14 years in a church where any outward expression during worship was condemned as arrogance. I had been taught that anything supernatural was imagined and that God did not heal miraculously anymore. I was afraid of disappointment, but my desire to experience God again won out over my fear.
I stopped in at Res Life’s healing rooms several weeks before I attended a service. I entered the enormous building and immediately noticed the signs for the healing rooms on my right. I proceeded around the corner and asked the people in charge if I could just pray by myself. They agreed, directing me to a small, dark room where candles were burning and worship music was quietly playing. I bowed down on my face by myself in the dark and prayed, hoping to experience something tangible again. Nothing happened, so I tried to slip quietly out.
Instead, about seven people grabbed me and insisted on praying for me. All of this was new to me. We didn’t “lay hands” on people in the church I had grown up in. I was thrilled and curious.
The most outspoken man in the group anointed my head with oil. Then all of them laid their hands on me and began to pray. The outspoken man said, “You have a weak lower back, don’t you. Let us pray for your back.”
What I had not told the man is that a weak lower back runs in my dad’s side of the family, and that I had experienced back pain my entire life. Seven people prayed for my back that day, and I woke up in the morning free of pain. It has never hurt again.
And that was my first experience with physical healing.
Needless to say, I quickly realized that if my back could be healed, my depression could also be healed. And I simply believed that I would go to the healing rooms, I would be prayed for, and I would be healed.
“Do you believe in healing?”
Three people sat facing me, an elderly man straight across from me, and two women on each side at ninety-degree angles.
The classic “charismatic Christian” question hung in the air. I knew what they meant by it, but wasn’t sure if I could answer it truthfully. And I didn’t care. All I knew was that I had been depressed for my whole life and I was done with it. I was going to get healed.
I couldn’t afford to dive into the logistics of whether or not I believed that God could or God would, whether or not it was God’s will to heal me personally, or how much faith I actually had. I didn’t think I had faith – not like they wanted me to. Like many people, I had been taught that God didn’t heal miraculously anymore, and at 19 years old I had a lot of mental blocks in place. But now I had found this new church where people spoke of a God who still healed miraculously every day. And if healings were being given out, I was going to get one. I blocked out all other thoughts from my mind.
“Yes!” I said almost frantically. “Yes, I believe in healing.” I felt slightly guilty for lying but I just wanted to get on with the laying-on-of-hands and the prayer. I needed this to work. Little did I know that choosing what I would and would not believe was where the power lie.
Because let me tell you – it worked. I went home that night and woke up the next morning completely healed. The depression was gone, just like that. I stayed free for ten years without hardly a struggle.
During those ten years, I also experienced multiple physical healings unrelated to depression. I was healed miraculously and instantaneously of morning sickness in my first two pregnancies. I was miraculously healed of chronic, severe plantar fasciitis in my feet. I was healed miraculously and instantaneously of irritable bowel syndrome during a healing service at my church.
These miraculous healings made me who I am, and have greatly shaped how I view God’s will on suffering. But to this day, my healing from depression has had the most far-reaching effect, because depression binds not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well.
My depression tried to return when I was 29, and I will delve into why this happened and how I was once again set free from it in a later post.
For now, I must describe what it felt like to be free of depression after a lifetime of bondage.
I remember feeling like I could see clearly for the first time in my life. Before, everything had been blurred, muffled. Now I could see the sun and feel the wind on my skin and hear the voices of my loved ones without straining. Before, I had been coughing and wheezing, breathing polluted air; Now, fresh mountain air flooded my lungs.
I continued to wrestle with anxiety, guilt, shame, and fears. I continued to struggle in relationships, with social anxiety and dysfunction. I continued to chase the high of spiritual experiences, which I will describe further in my next post. But I was happy, and I wanted to live.