It was not my intention to write on the details about how I once came to Christ, but it somehow happened as I kept writing this blog post. So that’s why I chose this title. 😉 My purpose of writing today was showing you how easy it can be to get back under the law once we have been freed from it. I am not talking about Old Testament Law here. Instead, I want to describe my latest experiences on the internet, and then I am going to share another part of my spiritual journey with you. Btw, you can find the first part of my testimony here. Please note: I apologize to you for the bad quality of these old, darkened pictures I attached. The camera my husband Paul used back then in 1995 did not have the same quality as the one he uses nowadays.
I never know why something sometimes catches my eye as it would be of no interest to me before. Yet I know that God leads us in seemingly strange ways at times, in His ways we do not understand. Nonetheless, it is always God who leads us there for some reason. Well, during the last weeks I felt more and more interested in watching testimonies from people who had an encounter with Jesus at a certain point of their lives. Whether they were atheists, Muslims, Jews, occultists or criminals, it was most of the time both thrilling and touching for me to listen to what they had to share. Sometimes God met them in their dreams or in visions, sometimes our Lord spoke through the Bible to their heart and mind, and at other times they even met Jesus Christ during a near-death-experience.
I was not interested in such stories for many, many years. So I was wondering why I kept watching one video after the other. 🙄 Often times it made me weep to see how gracious and loving our Lord was to everyone. He did not care whether people who cried for Him when they were in need had used the proper form of address. Some who came from an esoteric background called Him “The Divine” or addressed “The Universe” in their helplessness. Muslims and Jews, on the other hand, had big problems to believe that Jesus was God Himself and rejected Him at first as they had been taught to do so. However, Jesus again and again revealed more of Himself to them and, eventually, they were overwhelmed by His love, by His peace, and by the forgiveness of their sins without any performance of themselves demanded from Him. That is indeed a new thing to the religious person! It is GOD’S GRACE! 😊 Having been confronted with His light and with God’s Holy Spirit, people were automatically led to repentance. They were often brought to tears and would sense immediately that a heart change had happened to them. The burden on their heart that had pressed them down before was lifted by Him into the heavens, so to say. Furthermore, their behavioral orientation was never the same as it was before. So far, so good…
As glad as I was to see how God acted Himself, as happy as I was to realize how much Jesus loves the sinner He wants to save forever, as much I began to feel disturbed at a certain point. If the moment these people had their experience with God was not that long ago, it would be much easier to listen to them and to discern the spirit they had originally submitted to. It was truly the same God and Jesus I have come to know. But those (now) believers in Christ who had been part of a church whatsoever already, their way of speaking and looking at things had changed a lot. Even if I did not know which kind of church they belonged to, you could guess from the way they described their image of God. If they focused on God’s supernatural DOING (i.e., healings, wonders, miracles, exorcizing demons etc.), they were most certainly part of the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. If someone, instead, began “to throw Bible verses at others” in order to correct everyone who listened to him, their uncrucified old nature that was puffed up with knowledge wanted to submit other people to them, not to God. Even though such believers might speak the truth, it is not the truth spoken in (God’s) love! Indeed, they preach “New Testament Law” and thus they bring the new believer under another burden.
That’s exactly what I had felt myself many years ago. If I had only listened to God’s leading inside me more than to religious people’s blah blah, I could have avoided to go the wrong path in the early stages. But we learn from our mistakes as well, don’t we? Even if it’s only in hindsight…
Although I had a few experiences with God beginning in childhood, I got closer to God through Jesus Christ not until 1995. A former co-worker saw that I would struggle a lot in my life and job after university. That was already in 1994. Back then I felt so depressed at times, I got more and more sicknesses, and honestly, I was in despair looking at my whole life’s future perspective. 😦 Primarily, I did not like sitting in an office all day long, whatever the job. I was already married, but we did not live happily ever after although Paul was already a good husband. Furthermore, I had hoped for becoming a mother soon as much as I feared it, too. If you want to make it to the top (as I really had a career job), you won’t have much time for starting a family, would you…? That was clear to me, yet I saw no way out of this dilemma. I felt sooo caught up in this life’s demands and constraints that I wanted to escape. Yet I did not know how… 🙄
This former co-worker I was writing about was a Dutchman whom God had sent into my life, I believe. I am very grateful that God spoke through him at that time. As I had shared my countless problems with him during lunch break, this man only said, “You need Jesus.” At first, I was mad at him and answered, “I am Catholic. So what about this Jesus??” I did not get it. But over some months I had seen that he himself had changed a lot. On Monday morning when rarely anyone was in the mood to really work, he entered in smiling and whistling a song. He was happy! And I knew he had not been that way before.
I had a lot of doubts about this Jesus, however, doctors could not help me as to my sicknesses and my mental condition got worse and worse as well. Finally, in February 1995 my husband and I booked our first plane trip together. It was not the first flight for Paul who was born and would live in the States for some years before his dad died. Paul had been to Israel already, too, yet flying was ALL new to me. And you know, I feared traveling by air a lot!!!
Quite some time before we started our trip, I began to pray to Jesus. I had always prayed to God to protect my family, but now I prayed to Jesus for securing me a window seat on the plane, for taking away all my fears, for healing this and that… and, indeed, HE DID IT! 😊 Like a little child I was sooo happy that Jesus had answered all my prayers and would give me these many gifts! I could hardly believe it!! No fears on the airplane, no fear afterwards, either, when Paul and I were sitting in a bus that was to bring us from Fuerteventura Airport to our hotel in Corralejo (Canary Islands). The “street” this bus was driving on was partly extremely narrow and full of bends without any guardrail toward the sea far below the cliffs. In fact, around these turns there was no space for two cars, much less for a bus AND a car! You could not see what was around the corner, but the bus driver hurried around these turns without pulling the brakes as it seemed to us. You saw the sky and the sea appearing and disappearing, sometimes you heard a horn tooting; what you could not really see was that which was happening in front of the bus. Nonetheless, I felt great joy in watching this craziness around me. It seemed to me that I was somehow wrapped in a big cloud of peace and love and joy. During our stay there for 10 days I felt enamored with Jesus AND with my husband, even with a dirty and stinking stray dog that was walking around the unheated swimming pool of our hotel. 😉 I was almost the only person inside and this dog kept watching me. Yes, I fell in love with this lonely, smelly being created by God! ❤ It was as if God was looking to me through this animal’s eyes as well! I enjoyed eating an algae salad later, something I had never eaten before, and I discovered that the landscape around seemed to have changed somehow, too. Everything I saw and watched, the palm trees in the wind, the ocean’s deep turquoise blue, the sandy beaches (often black, not white because of these islands’ volcanic origin), everything was FULL of HIS LIFE. That was so different from what I had perceived before! The best thing that happened to me was that not long afterwards God had drawn my husband to Jesus as well as my heart change had become rather obvious to Paul, too. I was so much occupied with Jesus and heaven that I did not care about nullities any longer. That was a great gift from Him we both enjoyed! 🙂
When we came back from this vacation into our normal lives, so to speak, God let me enjoy this extraordinary condition for several months. However, the enemy never sleeps. So, for me it would have been a normal thing to go on walking with Jesus all my life. Nothing else needed. There was no lack of anything. Christ was enough as He had filled my heart’s vacuum with His Spirit. Well, sooner or later I got several invitations to visit this and that congregation, conferences, and a home church as well. At first I was happy to see so many people who believed in Jesus, but over time I got more and more disappointed as I realized that not many could understand what I had experienced with God. Instead, there were several people, mainly men, who told me that it was all fine with Jesus BUT that I would need to be part of a particular church as I would not be able to stay with God on my own. I would need a pastor to preach to me as God would not speak to me alone. I would have to join a home church so that I could be led by other ‘men of God’ who would tell me what God wanted me to do. Dear reader, I felt more and more uneasy, even unhappy, nervous, confused, upset in the end. I only felt joy when I was all alone with our Lord. As soon as I had “fellowship” with other believers as they called it, the struggles began. Peace was gone, joy disappeared and as they knew what I was going through (having experienced a similar thing at the beginning of their faith journey, I presume), they convinced me that it was the devil who wanted to tempt me to follow Jesus on my own, outside of church, away from all these misled guys.
The end of that exhausting struggle where I/we were being pressured from all sides was that Paul and I spent for more than five years in a Pentecostal/charismatic cult. But that’s another story.