I just wanna catalogue some encounters, which are different from happenings or co incidences or unexpected blessings! I have had various encouragements over the past few months as I labor to COMPLETE that which I began……….namely an autobiography and accompanying dvd. I have always had a problem with finishing stuff, and this time I WILL break through!
The encouragements I am talking about came in the form of prophetic words from facebook acquaintances and strangers! One particular ‘word’ was to make the Spirit a PERSON in my dvd, a real entity, not just a notion. Other words came through from strangers saying the Lord told them I was moving, two or three of them actually from different sources, not like fortune-telling, just a genuine nudge from Holy Ghost to confirm a move I have contemplated for a couple years and have not yet had the courage or wherewithal to enact fully…….I believe I am to move back to America, more than 20 years since I left, specifically California, and more specifically if I dare………close to HOLLYWOOD!
I am too old now to be one of the 40,000 a MONTH aspiring actors and actresses who arrive in Hollywood…….the same number leave each month, most with shattered dreams and unrealised ambitions. My youngest son has stars in his eyes but values equally his football an mates and I will try and keep it that way. No, I just feel that there is work for me to do there. And until God shows me different, that is where I am headed, with my two adorable sons absolutely my responsiblity, whether they continue school in Ireland and just vacation in California or however it works out……….
So this is primarily for my young dvd editor, not specifically a christian, to get a sense of what I mean when I say can you incorporate the supernatural into the film in a tangible, visual way please!
I can write a whole ‘nother note about the things God has DONE for me……miracles of provision and supply, and I probably will. But this is just about APPEARANCES and MANIFESTATIONS. Some believers LIVE in this realm and see angelic beings and the face or hear the voice of God most every day, but for me, it was unusual and unforgettable and significant and profound………..
For simplicity I will just be chronological:
1. The first real SENSE of God I had was in a 12th century Benedictine Abbey in Normandy France when I was about 18. It was my second major ‘nervous breakdown’ which occurred every few years since the childhood abuse and neglect that I had but sparingly disclosed. The human psyche is not designed to carry heavy secrets and without disclosure and resolution the chaos finds a way to manifest itself. I was profoundly depressed, and overwhelmed at my impending A’ Levels at school. I was also shaken because my first boyfriend had proposed marriage to me when I was only 14. I was in the midst of annual sexual abuse at that stage and had told no one. I was a virgin (indeed, until I was 19) and I already had intimacy issues. When he proposed I laughed and instead of saying No I don’t love you like that, I deferred the rejection saying, ‘Ask me again when I am 18, we are too young!’ I forgot those careless words and moved on from our relationship when he joined the Army. Before my 18th he had contacted me and asked me to meet him at a club near his barracks somewhere quite a distance away from my family home. I thought it might be fun and made my way there, totally unaware that he had bought a ring and was indeed going to propose again, with many of his squaddie friends present. I drank too much and laughed in his face when he got ready to propose……..I still had not figured out what was going on. He shouted something insulting to me out of hurt……..I poured a beer over his head like the movies, but he promptly poured one over mine in retaliation. The night ended badly………his dreams shattered, which I only found out years later, and me confused.
It was in the setting of the Abbey that I tried to make sense of what was going on in my life. My parents had seen the signs of me falling apart again, relationship issues were a particularly powerful trigger, and they tried to anticipate and pre empt the ‘problem’ by sending me on a three week ‘retreat’ at what was now the Mother House of the order of nuns my Auntie Mary belonged to. Mum told me I could ‘rest’ and study for my exams. It was the Easter holidays I believe
The nuns altho not technically a silent order, did not seem to converse except for about 15 minutes after dinner each evening. I possibly should have been getting medical, therapeutic or psychiatric help, but this old fashioned and relatively private retreat was my parents preferred option of dealing with my ‘nerves’…….
So I studied. And kept a journal which helped. And I walked the grounds of this beautiful abbey and for maybe the first time ‘talked’ to God……….there was literally no one else. French was the native tongue of the nuns and mine was still a work in progress.
And as I slowly paced the grounds looking for relief from inner anguish and turmoiL God SHOWED himself to me in a fire of leaves and debris set by the quiet, ineffable gardener. I came upon the fire, I stared at the dancing flames and smelt the reassuring scent of burning leaves and debris…..and I FELT God….the presence of God as real for the first time in my young life. It may sound inconsequential in literal terms but it transformed me, it comforted me, it was the first time in my young catholic life that I realised , God was ‘a very present help in times of trouble……..He was alive. I somehow returned to my life, passed my exams, and buried the unease I felt about this earnest boyfriend who was the first of eleven to seriously propose marriage to me in my teens and 20’s.
2. The above was 1976. The next conscious memory I have of ‘encountering’ God was about 1988. I was living in Marin County, California, with my baby of a year old, running my daycare business for 80+ hours a week, and becoming socially reclusive. I was probably drinking a bottle of wine alone each evening, and generally declining all offers of socialising outside of my home. Around 3.30 in the morning, from a deep sleep, I was aroused to an audible voice saying one word…..”ALCOHOLIC”. It was so real I searched the house to see who had spoken to me and why………there was no one but my sleeping baby, and all the doors were locked. I was stunned and shaken. I had read my Bible by then, and knew the story of Samual when the Lord woke him three times from sleep and finally when he was told it must be God he replied ‘Here I am,Lord……..speak’
My Mother had admitted her alcoholism only the year before. She had stopped drinking a few days before the birth of my daughter, and was now an active committed and zealous member of Alcoholics Anonymous, which seemed like a secret society to me and the rest of the family, and almost ANOTHER reason for her to neglect us. But at least she was sober. So I figured God was warning me about my own predisposition to the same apparently genetic ‘disease’. I stopped drinking. Only for three months. But enough to clear my head and regroup and re prioritise my life and activities. I have never since heard the AUDIBLE voice of God, although I often feel the STILL SMALL VOICE WITHIN which I now know is the Holy Spirit nudging me and guiding me
3. The next encounter was around 1990. I was not long home from America. I was not long walking in my new found ‘born again’ christianity, although I had always loved God in a catholic way, and believed in Him even when I did not know He believed in me. I had met Paul, we were quickly engaged, we both attended a Baptist Church in Bildeston which was experiencing a revival. The pastors and elders offered to pray for us and minister deliverence from anything in our pasts that might hinder us. I had dutifully filled out a questionnaire confessing my many sins and much dabbling with the occult. I had a bronchitus at the time. I had diminished capacity in my left lung from repeated bouts of pneumonia, pleuresy and bronchitus as a child, and my cigarette smoking addiction only worsened the serious condition…….so serious that specialists at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London had told me I should not fly on aeroplanes lest my lung should collapse, and I should consider living somewhere like Switzerland permanently for my health sake. Anyway, about 8 of them were standing round me in a circle holding hands and praying out loud for me. I had my eyes closed and felt a hand on my left lung at the back and I said, “Oh yes, right there, that is where it hurts………”
They all stopped praying and after a minute or so of silence I wondered why and opened my eyes. They were looking at each other and me in quiet amazement. “Nobody touched you” they said. And Paul verified that, having been one of the ones praying. But I knew something had happened, and I knew my bronchitus was healed. It amazed me, the kindness of God to do that when I was so stupid as to smoke
A week or so later just happened to be my bi annual check up with the specialists regarding my asthma and lung damage. They x rayed me as usual, and told me for no apparent reason the scar tissue on my left lung was no longer apparent.
I still smoke a pack and a half of cigarettes a day some 20 years later despite my intelligence and my commitment to my faith and my Jesus……….but whenever I try to condemn myself or beat myself up for still having such a carnal addiction, I remember that time of grace and mercy when God HEALED me without waiting for me to do my part………….How He loves me x And amazingly, I have NEVER suffered since with the recurrent bronchitus and chest infections at the level they were before that day. Grace and mercy indeed. One day I will be free of my nicotine addiction, I know I will. But in the meantime, I am LOVED and HEALED by nothing but the grace of God.
4. At a John Bevere conference in the North of Ireland around 2002 I think it was, I got a vision of a giant angel standing around the border between the North and South , down on one knee but still massive, imposing and warriorlike, with a mighty flag blowing in his hand, indicating the winds of revival that would blow across this land. I shared the vision and it is on the tape of that meeting. Visions of angels are more common to me, I periodically catch sight of them in flight, particularly around anointed worship sessions at church or gatherings.
5. At a meeting again in the North, probably around 2003, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder, just in a friendly way like someone drawing my attention to something. I looked behind expectantly but no one had touched me….my Pastor was in the row behind me and assured me of that. It happened twice more and in the end I laughed out loud because it was so real but there truly was NO ONE pranking me……..I still do not know to this day what God or Angels were trying to get my attention about, maybe He or they were just reassuring me of their presence and being playful with me…….
6. Around 2008 I was staying alone by a deserted lake in my camper van (RV) for a few days to do some writing. I was fine during the day, but each night was tormented with fear, who might break into my camper, who would know there was a woman alone in a deserted place, every noise made me jump and I could not sleep more than a couple of hours here and there I was so fearful. I prayed and prayed. After about three days, I was not thinking about my night time fears, but marvelling at the levels of faith and visitation being expressed at the Lakeland Revival which I had been watching on TV. I asked the Holy Spirit to show himself to me in some tangible way. I did not expect what happened next. I had an open vision of another GIANT angel, probably about 22 feet tall, again a WARRIOR angel, on one knee POSITIONED in the middle of the vast empty field that I was camping in…….he was ASSIGNED there to protect me day and night, I was awe struck, and I slept like a baby totally secure for the rest of my time up there in that lonely, deserted and potentially dangerous place. I LAUGHED with joy at what had been shown me, because although it was not what I had expected (gold dust, oil on hands, gold teeth whatever) it was exactly what I NEEDED to feel safe and secure.
7. Then a couple months later, as the Lakeland Revival was still being broadcast nightly on GodTV, and the praise and worship was heavenly, I was in a time of utter despair in my life, to the point that I felt seriously suicidal. I lay on the couch watching the broadcast, weeping through the singing, with my arms stretched upwards in an utter cry of helplessness. To my amazement the real and detailed and tangible FACE of Jesus appeared within inches of my face, and He locked eyes with mine, staring me down, CHALLENGING me silently to turn from my thoughts of suicide. With nothing but LOVE. It may sound corny, but His eyes were literally liquid POOLS of love, brown and deep and utterly beautiful..And the vision did not depart (it was not an illusion or an imagination ….it SHOCKED me) for more than ten minutes, and I KNEW that it was like Jesus was saying to me I AM NOT LEAVING UNTIL YOU KNOW YOU ARE LOVED……………. an unsaved friend asked me a couple weeks later, ‘Where was your God when you were suicidal?’ and I replied without missing a beat, ‘He was IN MY FACE!!!!’ And I laughed and laughed. That encounter probably saved my life at that time. I have felt suicidal many times in my life and God is just not having it. If you read my book shortly to be published with dvd CHASING RAINBOWS you can see the dysfunction and trauma that led to chronic depression, suicidal ideation, multiple personlaity disorder, you name it……..but God has a plan and a purpose not yet fulfilled an He says for now I ain’t goin nowhere!! Hallelujah!