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 9 of my story.
“Do you believe God gives people signs?” My Dad Combs asked me. His question, a sharp reminder of the reason for my doubts, was like a whisper in my spirit, drawing me gently from my sleep. His question brought back memories of a time when I had experienced God tangibly. Disillusioned by spiritual experiences, I had succumbed to an intellectual belief in the distant God I had been raised with.
I was 26 years old. Ryan and I had been married for almost three years. Our daughter, Audrey was almost two. Ryan had lost his job shortly after her birth, and we had consequently lost our apartment, forcing us to move in with his parents.
I had fought this move, but in the end we had no choice. We packed up our stuff and moved into the basement of their small house. There were six of us living in the house, sharing a kitchen and living area. It was a tight fit, and the first few months were a bit awkward as we figured each other out. But it was the best thing that could have happened to me because it forced me out of my shell.
When we first moved in, my Mom Combs was home during the day. She and I would sit and talk while Audrey played on the floor. I quickly discovered in her a role-model and a mentor. She has a contagious personality, projecting strongly on those around her, but what she projects is an aura of radiant light and joy and a sense of well-being and peace. She was so free and happy, positive, confident and strong. I felt free, positive, and confident around her, which was the exact opposite of the shame, fear, and bondage I had lived in most of my life. She was like a breath of fresh air, soothing to my soul, motivating, inspiring. The more time I spent with her, the more she rubbed off on me.
Then, when Ryan began working nights and his mom started night classes at the college, Audrey and I found ourselves at home with my Dad Combs almost every evening. I discovered in him a kindred spirit, someone who could relate to where I was. I found myself opening up to him about my past spiritual experiences, both good and bad. Over the next several years we bonded over spiritual things. We talked about God while sitting across from each other in the living room, over coffee outside on a Sunday morning, or next to each other in church pews.
One particular night is seared on my memory forever. I don’t remember the context of the conversation or why he was so worked up. I just remember him slamming his palms down on the coffee table next to him, shaking his head for emphasis, and practically shouting at me “I’m sorry if this offends you Melissa, but you’re not my daughter-in-law. You’re. My. Daughter!”
Far from offending me, that proclamation woke me up in a way that very few things could have. I had associated the love of a father very early on with that ocean of love and safety that was my creators’ arms. My heavenly Father was knocking at my heart, and since I wouldn’t listen to him, he came to me through the love of an earthly father.
Around this same time, Ryan’s sister Stephanie, who had been traveling as a military wife, moved back home. Her presence in my life was a great comfort to me. I had grown up with three sisters and I did not know how to be without sisters. Again came that knock on the door of my heart – this time in the form of a sister – the closest of friends.
Then, shortly after the birth of our first son William, something else happened that finally fully snapped me back to reality. My sister Laura came to visit me. I went to pick her up at the airport, after having been gone for five years.
She walked off that airplane exuding an aura of pure light and love energy, wrapped me in one of her famous bear-hugs, looked at me with those trusting, knowing, golden brown eyes, and I realized how far I had fallen.
I drove her home, and when she entered our house it lit up like it had been surrounded by angels. The presence of God around her was so tangible I wondered if everyone else could feel it. I vividly remember her walking in, picking two-year-old Audrey up in her arms, and dancing around the room, singing about the love of Jesus. The whole atmosphere of the house exploded with a glory both innocent and powerful, and as if being awakened from a slumber, I remembered who I was meant to be.
Not depressed and anxious, barren and empty, sucking those around me dry with my neediness, hanging on by a thread, letting life happen to me. No, like her, I was meant to be powerful in compassion and gentleness, fierce in empathy and understanding, unashamed and extravagant in love, filled with joy like springs of living water, satisfied, secure, confident, at peace.
And so began the process of a slow but sure awakening in my heart, one that was fraught with turmoil, challenge, and pain. As with anything, change takes time – years in most cases. Growth is a slow and messy process. But this was the moment that pushed me over the edge and into the free-fall.
I was awake again. The people that God had put around me – those lovely, beautiful people, whose strengths and weaknesses and flaws were just right for me – had channeled his love to my heart and I could not continue to deny it.
And it was just in time too, because I was going to need my faith for what was about to come next.