Heard about this synchroblog over at robbymac asking about people’s first encounters with the Holy Spirit. What a great idea! Let me share mine with you….
In late 2004, I went on a physical diet as well as a spiritual diet. You can read more about the genesis of that in my testimony. I was chasing after God and trying to bring myself out of a long-standing spiritual apathy, but I hadn’t really gotten a tangible touch from Him yet at that time. Then in 2005 my mom started going to the Healing Rooms in Petaluma, CA because of serious health and emotional issues. She had gone a few times without me when one day I drove down to meet her there after her session. I arrived early, so I had to wait a while for them to finish.
Now listen, this was bizarre. I wasn’t there for an appointment. I didn’t even quite understand what they were doing. I had no expectations anything was going to happen to me in the slightest. All I did was show up, and the moment I walked into that slightly-stuffy, aging, medical-like building in downtown Petaluma — WHOOSH! It was like stepping onto another planet.
It’s hard for me to remember exactly what was going through my mind at the time, but to use language I’ve learned since then, I had entered into a spiritual atmosphere. God was there…even though of course He is everywhere…His manifest presence was in that place. I could feel it. It was a tangible reality. I sat down in the waiting room, feeling waves of peace and love and a sense of belonging, of coming home, washing over me. And then the coolest thing happened — someone else was in that waiting room, and we got to talking. I was 22 at the time, she was in her sixties. But we made an instant connection. We were kindred spirits, as Anne Shirley would say. We had an amazing conversation that seemed to last for hours. It was the first taste of holy fellowship in the body of Christ that I had experienced in a long time, and it felt good.
I didn’t just encounter the Holy Spirit that day, I experienced unity in the Spirit. There is nothing like it, nothing like it on earth. It’s incredible. Barbara and I are still good friends to this very day, and currently attend the same church: Grace Fellowship. Interesting aside — the second time I felt the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit, that glorious spiritual atmosphere, was when I stepped foot in Grace’s sanctuary for the first time in late 2005. But that’s a whole ‘nuther story.
I could tell you about when I first started speaking in tongues (right after I was water baptized in late 2006), or when I first started receiving heavenly dreams or visions, or when I first heard His voice calling out to me, but really my entire journey up to this very moment began when I first encountered Him in that stuffy little storefront in downtown Petaluma. I’ll remember that day as long as I live.