I think those that tend to have the most conviction (without a shadow of a doubt), are those that suffered dark circumstances. Maybe they hit “rock bottom,” and so in despair, that a divine moment happened. Perhaps a horrible incident occurred, and they had a revelation. My personal situation, I had a very tough early childhood, up until the age about 10? My mom divorced my dad when I was 5. She was a single parent, desperately trying to make ends meet. I had a father that was poor, uneducated (dropped out of high school in 10th grade to care for his family) and rarely had a construction job, and sometimes helped his brothers working a traveling carnival. Although he had rights to collect me every 2 weeks, for a weekend visit and a month in the summer…it often didn’t happen, because he didn’t have gas money to come pick me up and drop back off again. Thus, making monthly child support payments, was very rare, and when he sent something, it was very minimal.
In addition to receiving no financial help from my father, at that time, back in the 70’s, the apartment rentals were nearly impossible to get, because they were able to discriminate against families. There were only a select few apartments that accepted kids and they charged more. Eventually, a law was passed that they could no longer do that. And we found a cheap complex in Covina, CA. My mom found a job and worked swing shift hours at the Glass containers plant with her best friend from high school, Linda. Eventually, my mom transferred to a better job with the post office, and Linda quit working to start a family.
During that time, my mom was having difficulty finding affordable childcare for me. Back in the 70’s, children with little supervision, adults gone and kids on their own, were referred to as “latch key” kids. I was one of these for a bit, but since my mom went to work as soon as I was out of school, and didn’t return until middle of the night, I needed more care. Someone that could provide dinner. Linda, now home with a baby, offered to care for me “temporarily” – at first for no money, but they eventually agreed to $100.00 month. This was a woman who provided dinner and had me with her family like an additional child of her own. They were living in La Puente, CA.
So, my average day would be: my mom would pick me up about 10 minutes early from school and then we’d make the drive from Covina to La Puente. Each night she’d come and wake me at my babysitters, to drive home. I was awakened every night about 1/2AM and had to travel back home and get back in my bed, set my alarm, get myself up, get myself breakfast and to school while my mom slept. 5 days, every week. Around that time, I developed a regular ear infection, that eventually led to some hearing damage, and I missed a lot of school days. And the days I went, I was so lost or tired. I did nothing. My school work suffered, and I ended up having to repeat 1st grade.
In addition to all of that, my mom was suffering from a thyroid problem, and slept many hours on the weekend. Further, she suffered from horrendous headaches, and anorexia. And I grew up in a residence filled with 2nd hand smoke. There are so many more things that were happening during that time, I used to ask my mom, why? Why weren’t things better for us? She always told me, that God gave us a roof over our head, and we weren’t living on welfare, and we were (for the most part) healthy…so we had to be grateful. And when I pointed out how much things “sucked” for us, her favorite thing to say,
“You have to develop a sense of humor, or you’ll spend your life crying all the time.”
My mom had always taught me there was a God, but we never went to church because she slept through Sundays. She prayed a lot and always told me to be grateful for what we had…which was pretty much, a lot of nothing. During my time with Linda and Harry, their family attended the La Puente Foursquare church. Each Wednesday night, we’d go and she’d drop me off in youth group. I remember, Pastor Mike, as having crazy antics and a big mustache! And the woman leader, was Mickey. She liked to sit in the back and heckle Pastor at times (where appropriate). They both loved to laugh, belly laughs, frequently. I really enjoyed going, and there were about 20 of us kids of various ages Jr. High / High school. Although I was in 4th grade, I joined them because there wasn’t a group for the youngers. Not enough volunteers.
I recall the group being quite fun. And after each service, Pastor Mike would invite kids to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. And I’d sit quietly, with head bowed and eyes closed, and would hear Pastor Mike confirm when he saw someone’s hand that was “secretly” raised. And he’d pray over our group and those individuals.
I don’t remember how many services I sat through, unwilling to raise my hand – just unsure. I recall after one service that hit me specifically, I wanted to raise my hand. But, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to be teased, and not all kids kept their heads bowed and eyes closed the entire time. I didn’t want anyone peeking at me…to possibly tease me. I don’t think anyone would have, but I didn’t want to be put on the spot, or required to “do” anything. I didn’t really comprehend what being a christian meant, but I did believe that God existed, and Jesus was our savior, and that was all that was being asked.
So, I remember Pastor Mike asking 3x, 4x…he asked more than he usually did, “Is there anyone else? Anyone?” I have no idea if he had me in mind. So I had an inner battle going on, and decided, okay…I’ll just raise my hand slightly and keep it close to my chest.
In retrospect (and in my minds eye) – there must have been angels next to me, chanting “Do it. Do it. Is she going to do it…hold on…wait there it is…wahoo!” Kind of like in that Disney Annimation show, Aladdin, where the Genie (played by the late, great, Robin Williams) was trying to get Aladdin to use his wishes. And when one was granted, he did a whole jubilation dance and crazy antics. That’s what my angel did. I’m sure of it.
Because what was intended to be a small “hidden” hand raise, a force pushed under my elbow to get my hand all the way up, I swear it was nearly touching the ceiling. (I believe it was the Angel hovering anxiously around me, and once I committed, helped me along – don’t be shy girl! Get that hand up there and receive you some holy spirit) And before Pastor Mike could even acknowledge my raised hand, I felt a
At first, it felt like a waterfall. Niagra Falls. But that wasn’t really an accurate description of how it felt. It was more like pressurized water SHOOTING down from heaven, into every single piece of my finger tips, washing down every fiber in my hand, wrist, arm, and into my shoulder. It was very warm, but not uncomfortable. It was the most amazing feeling, so much POWER and It felt SO GOOD!
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, something REAL had happened. Something that could only be explained as the holy spirit. It was amazing, and an unforgettable experience. God made his presence known that he was real to me. And he has shown me, numerous times, throughout my youth, how he has protected me and into my adulthood. (I’ll address those on another page)