know that God has been calling me to Him through my whole life.
I just didn’t know how to answer that call until I met my
friend Pamela Baron in 2000.
But first, let me back up for a brief background.
come from a Midwestern Iowa farming family, I have 2 brothers and 1
sister and my parents married very young (15 & 18), had me when they
were 16 & 19 and are (amazingly) still married.
My grandmother had left her Catholic roots and became Methodist
and since she was Methodist, my parents were, and since they were, that
is how I was raised. I
believed I was saved as I had been baptized as an infant and had knelt
down and prayed the sinner’s prayer with my grandmother at the tender
age of 8. I was taken to
church and Sunday school every Sunday and attended youth group on Sunday
a teenager, I rebelled, just like most teenagers. I smoked, drank, snuck out and did speed and marijuana (which
I became very fond of.) At
14, I was raped by my cousin in the hay mow of our barn and, looking
back, I believe that is when I started being angry, scared and
depressed. I still managed to get excellent grades and went off to
college. There I met my
first husband and we were married at age 18.
My marriage was not a happy one; my husband was unfaithful after
only 4 months of marriage and continued his extramarital activity
through the rest of our marriage. I
stayed with him for 13 years (and 2 children) until his drug and alcohol
abuse got so bad that I couldn’t stay.
I was living in Colorado at the time having been stationed at
Fort Carson when my husband was in the army, we had purchased a home and
I had a great job. Needless to day, that during this time, I gave very little
time and energy to God. I
had been going to a church in Colorado Springs towards the end, but
there was no real commitment to anything.
the divorce, I took my children and moved to Wisconsin to be by my
parents for their help and support.
I was shell-shocked, depressed and lonely.
I started going to my parents’ church and believed that I was
finally serving God as I should. I
had started talking to Him – a lot!
I shared all my innermost thoughts and feelings with Him,
including the fact that I was lonely and that I wanted to be married.
I started composing a list of everything I wanted in a husband
and told God that I would not look outside of our church to find one.
(I thought that was safe as I attended a church where there were
very few people my age and none were single.)
Well, be careful what you ask for – my future husband, Alex,
began attending my church and he was interested in me. We went to a Bible study together and he seemed to be all
that I had put on my list. We
were in love and knew that we wanted more children, so we took the
plunge and got married after 6 months of dating.
marriage has been rocky, my teenagers did not want me to get remarried
and we were really still getting to know each other even though we were
married. Three weeks after
we were married, I found out I was pregnant – such joy!
Things were looking up!
months later, my employer was hiring a receptionist – this was the
first time I saw Pam. She
was sitting in our conference room filling out her application and there
was such brightness surrounding her, as if a ray of pure sunshine was
shining through the window just on her – I knew she walked with God.
The first day she came to work for ASK, I was so happy!
I knew she was Pentecostal as I work with two other saints who
Life Tabernacle. I
craved being around her – she fascinated me.
I made up excuses all the time to go to the front desk to talk to
her because I knew she would talk about God.
She started praying with me and some others and always talking
about the Holy Ghost. I thought I had the Holy Ghost as we were taught that when we
accepted Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit then filled us.
One day, another co-worker said that she wanted the Holy Ghost
and so we all planned to go downstairs to a private conference room
during lunch to pray. There
were four of us down there – two saints, myself and my Holy
Ghost-seeking coworker. We
prayed and prayed and I watched, her mouth was struggling against
itself, but even I could feel Jesus there.
She never did let the tongues come through and as we were walking
back upstairs, Pam said she was sure someone there was supposed to get
the Holy Ghost. That is
when I realized that I didn’t have the Holy Ghost and I wanted it.
Pam kept witnessing to me for the next several months and I even
attended some services at Abundant Life with
my husband and teenagers, but still I made no commitment.
son Joshua was born on my birthday in 2001 and he has become the
“glue” for our blended family.
We all have him in common and all give and receive love through
him. Six weeks after giving birth, my doctor told me that I had an
abnormal pap and that I needed to come in for another test.
I did and that one came back abnormal as well.
She said that the results of both tests showed that I had Stage 3
cervical cancer and needed to get to a specialist immediately.
I made the appointment with the specialist, but I was not
worried. I determined to
make an appointment with The Specialist and told Pam I was ready to be
baptized. I repented and
cried a lot over the next few weeks as she continued to witness to me
and help me prepare for baptism. On
Wednesday evening, June 13, 2001, I was baptized in full immersion, in
the glorious name of Jesus Christ and I came up clean! Not only spiritually, but I knew I was healed and
there was no cancer. As I
stood in the water with my arms outstretched to my Father, I could feel
the struggle for my lips to let go and I could hear all the saints
praying around me. Suddenly,
someone climbed up on the edge and put their hand on my forehead and I
was filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues!
I will never forget that elation!
I asked Pam later who had put their hand on me and she told me
that it was Sister Dretzka – Thank you Sister Dretzka!
I went to my ObGyn specialist a week later, she confirmed what I already
knew. There was nothing
there – no sign of anything that could be abnormal.
Praise Jesus!! You
would think that all of those miracles would be proof enough that I was
home, but no.
didn’t take the devil long to start putting doubts and fear into my
mind. He constantly
whispered that I hadn’t received the Holy Ghost and that I was just
faking. He showed me all the people who had lost their spouses
because they started walking for God and told me my husband was going to
leave me, too. My family
was appalled that I was attending a Pentecostal church and constantly
pointed out the characteristics that made it a “cult.”
Pretty soon, I caved – I cut 10” off my hair and turned my
back on Jesus and the church. (My
spirit grieved so at the loss of my hair – I couldn’t understand
then why I was so sad inside.) For
three and a half years, I struggled.
I kicked and said no, I cut my hair, and wore more makeup and
jewelry than ever, while the Spirit in me called – always there and
always calling. For those
years, Pam never gave up on me. She
loved me with Jesus’ perfect love.
She was so gentle and kind, even when things I said hurt her, she
never left me.
August of 2004, I was so depressed; I didn’t know where to turn.
I had been through another pregnancy and birth (only a very
difficult one), I was exhausted and sad all the time – I wanted to run
away from life and just leave and run barefoot down the road to anywhere
but where I was. Pam gave
me the name of a Christian counselor and I started seeing her.
Within 2 sessions I saw the mistakes I was making over and over,
allowing my family (mother in particular) to hold me with strings and
making God the caboose of my life instead of the engine and I knew what
I had to do. She also
pointed out that when the devil whispered his lies in my ear, I would
argue with him. In plain
English she said, “You don’t argue with the devil, you don’t even
speak to him or acknowledge him – just start praying or quoting
scripture or praising God, because the devil and God can’t both be
there at the same time.” That
alone was so freeing!
I knew what I had to do. I
told Pam that I wanted to go to Ladies’ Prayer on Wednesday morning
and get refilled with the Holy Ghost.
When we got there, I started praying at the alter and pouring all
my heart out to Jesus. When
I was ready, Pam and Sister Showalter started praying with me and in an
instant I was filled so full that I was shaking with the power of the
are so different this time. I
am running towards God and reveling in His loving embrace and the safety
of His grace. I weathered
the storm of my mother’s disapproval and didn’t waiver and she is
coming around. My husband
hasn’t left me and asks me all the time about the church and the
messages and the Bible and God. He
loves me more when I am serving God.
He is coming; he just doesn’t know it yet.
that Jesus is the engine in my life, I feel joy, wonder, happiness,
love, peace and contentment. There
are times when life isn’t great, but because I know that I can do all
things through Christ who strengthens me, I will be fine.
He is teaching me and I am learning and I will learn for the rest
of my life, but I know that I will never, ever leave Jesus again.