Being Filled with the Holy Spirit: a personal testimony

I woke up one night last week to see the moonlight edging through the curtain in my bedroom. Unable to drift back to sleep, I decided to read for a while to get my sleepy brain to override again. So I read Simon Fry’s article on Being Filled with the Holy Spirit. Guess what? My sleepy brain completely flew the coop after I read that.

Lying in the dark, I thought back to my experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. As long as I can remember, I wanted to follow Jesus. Sure, I went through tough times, but following Jesus was never a question for me at the deepest levels. I was always hungry for spiritual truths; even as a young child I soaked up everything I could get and felt frustrated if church seemed shallow to me.

Yet my walk with Christ took a sharp turn about five years ago. For so many years, Will and I had poured everything we had into our church community. We loved the people so much (and still do) and cherished the Mennonite tradition of taking the Bible and Jesus seriously, along with the values of family and togetherness. But through a series of events, the community let us down in ways that seemed unimaginable formerly. What we gave our lives for backstabbed us. What I depended on to give us protection and purpose, did neither.

It’s hard for me to write this, but what I knew in my mind—the fact that people could not protect us or give life meaning—became painfully real through the hand of experience. We can try to know and do the right things and sincerely wish to honor Jesus in everything; but without the experience of our best efforts being stripped away, truly understanding grace is difficult.

During that distressing season, Will and I sat through a choir program with tears in our eyes as the choir sang Come to the Water. The song says, O let all who thirst, let them come to the water, and all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord. We were tasting what it was like to have nothing. Nothing but the Lord.

Out of that crisis began a new search for identity and purpose. One day Will and I were talking with a godly older man about our hurts and our newly-forming dreams, when I confessed to this brother that I wanted to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I also told him about a certain spiritual gift that I really longed to have. Without hesitation, he laid hands on me and prayed for me to receive the Spirit.

Of course I felt spiritually charged by our interaction with this man of God, but the proof of a deep change surfaced over the next months. For me, the most significant changes were freedom from fear, the ability to hear God’s voice, and a new awareness of God’s church.

I’ve always been a people-pleasing person. To do something drastically different from the others around me wasn’t on my radar before. Respecting others was more important than listening to God if the two happened to clash. Oh I might be slightly radical, because I always did like to think critically about issues and push the status quo if it didn’t feel life-giving to me. But to follow Jesus in drastic ways regardless what others thought, especially people close to me? A totally new step.

God’s voice began coming to me much more regularly after that experience of receiving the Spirit. I would be sitting in church, washing dishes, or hoeing my garden when out of the blue God would tell me something about myself or someone else. And His voice was so beautiful to hear—it never brought condemnation on me or anyone else. I began to be able to love people in a way I couldn’t love before.

Also, I started noticing God’s family everywhere. His people were not confined to my denomination! And yes, I I knew that before, but suddenly I really knew it and was able to feel that instant connection with others who had the Spirit, even if it was a Dollar General clerk whom I had never met before! That terrible Us/Them mentality began slipping away.

How did these things alter my life? The change surfaced in our family’s move to a town where we knew nobody and where no Mennonite church existed. I was so attached to our little house in the country with our goats and chickens and fruit trees and my huge garden. I loved my community and friends (even though some of them had hurt us so much). At first, when I sensed the calling to move I felt so sick about it that I would lie in bed and try to wipe the idea clean out of my mind. But Will and I had no peace until we obeyed the call—and the last two years have been the best ride of our lives! We are constantly stretched and challenged and blessed. Oddly enough, we have made many new connections through a move that could have seemed isolating.

Am I perfect because I’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit? No. I still struggle to grow, to learn more about radical obedience, to relate well with other people, to show kindness in daily life. And yet, the joy-factor has increased a hundredfold. Being a Christian is fun! Without so much fear, Will and I are always up for an adventure with God.

And now I am profoundly grateful that God lowered Himself to bless me with His Spirit. More than anything else, I want to bring His presence everywhere. I want that Presence in me to draw everyone into the same joyful existence.

While I write these things, I do not wish to exude an air of spiritual superiority. I don’t feel that way at all. Christians who may not have experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit but who are earnestly seeking to follow the Lord are just as precious to Him. I have a hunch that we all need more grace than we can even imagine. And it is there for us. Grace is there for us, and so is the Holy Spirit, if we will but ask.

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
Luke 11:13 (ESV)

dove

O let all who thirst,
Let them come to the water.
And let all who have nothing
Let them come to the Lord:
Without money, without price,
Why should you pay the price,
Except for the Lord?

And let all who seek,
Let them come to the water.
And let all who have nothing
Let them come to the Lord:
Without money, without strife.
Why should you spend your life,
Except for the Lord?

And let all who toil,
Let them come to the water.
And let all who are weary,
Let them come to the Lord.
All who labor without rest,
How can your soul find rest,
Except for the Lord?

And let all the poor,
Let them come to the water.
And let the ones who are laden,
Let them come to the Lord.
Bring the children without might,
Easy the load and light:
Come to the Lord.

-John Foley


Have you experienced the power of the Holy Spirit? If you wish, share your testimony in the comments below!

31 thoughts on “Being Filled with the Holy Spirit: a personal testimony

  1. David Shenk

    Thanks so much for sharing your personal testimony. It is exciting to see the many ways the Spirit is working to awaken hearts and lives in our community and throughout the world!

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  2. joyfulhopeflokstra

    What a powerful, beautiful story. Thanks for sharing with such grace and humility.
    Does a person always know if they’ve been filled with the Spirit? I can look back at my life and see distinct turns toward freedom and life, but I never framed it in that way exactly. I would love more confidence in hearing God’s voice, more joy and freedom in knowing who I am.

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    1. Thank you for your gracious words! I hope we get to meet in real life someday.

      I also had experienced a number of life-altering decisions toward Christ before this event, but what was significant about this one was the fact that I felt the need to specifically ask for the Holy Spirit. But every person’s path is different, and we can’t judge ourselves by someone else’s experience… If you aren’t sure if you’ve been filled with the Spirit, you can ask yourself: would I know if He left me? Have I seen deep change that seems to spring up of itself (without striving)?

      God bless you on your journey toward Him!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. thelongtrick

    This is my deepest desire right now. Thanks for writing about your experience. I don’t often comment but I do enjoy and ponder your writing!

    Like

  4. Victoria

    Rosina, you nailed it again, and with so much grace and beauty. You know I can truly testify to the Spirit’s work in your life! It’s been incredible to see your journey these last years! You have blessed me and inspired me so much, especially by your graciousness towards the people and community who hurt you so deeply. That’s not how I left at all, as we both know. It’s been so cool to see you become more and more alive, and just the other weekend when I was visiting you, I could definitely see the fruits of that. Thank you so much for being a true example and heroine to me. It’s just so cool to see God’s work in your life!

    The filling of the Holy Spirit has come at numerous times for me. I know I was filled the day I got miraculously saved. The day of my water baptism, my pastor and elders laid hands on me and prayed for even more of a filling. And at various times it’s come in different ways. Sometimes when I beg for it, and other times, he just grants it. I love that scripture about the father giving the Holy Spirit to those that asks. He really does. I think it was D.L.Moody when asked about whether the baptism of the Spirit was a one time thing, he said that he doesn’t know know it works for everybody but he knows he is a leaky vessel that needs to constantly be refilled. I’m so glad God is willing to do that. We’ve got some exciting stuff ahead of us, sis. “Safe? Aslan safe? No, but he is good.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ad236818

    This is a great testimony, I was raised charismatic and actually was brought to a baptist church before finding where God took us next, I was surprised you said Mennonite because the community I’m a part of now is mainly rooted in the anabaptist views as well as charismatic, God filled me with his spirit after desperately searching for about two weeks but this was 6 months after we moved from Dallas. God has since then began to move in me and there is and always will be continual revelation of who he is and who I need to become. God bless you!

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    1. As with any denomination, there is great variation among the Mennonites! There are many who are joyful, Spirit-filled people of God. And many who are searching.

      You are so right that we need continual growth in understanding who God is, and in allowing Him to use us. I’ve found so much joy in this journey, and I hope I keep learning to know God throughout all the days of my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this beautiful post. Yes, I have been blessed with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

    What I especially loved about your post: “I began to be able to love people in a way I couldn’t love before” and “Being a Christian is fun!”

    My husband, our daughter, and I have recently been badly let down and hurt by our church community. But we are the Lord’s and He is leading us, according to His will and purpose. We will never be cast out, never be truly alone, for we are His and He will never leave or forsake us. Our fight is not against flesh and blood. Thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ, in Him we have perfect peace, despite our circumstances.

    And I, too, am able to love people in a way I couldn’t before — even my “enemies”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sad about how many people have been hurt by their church communities–I don’t think this is God’s plan at all! But you are so right, HE will never cast out His children! Blessings to you as you rest in His love!

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. Cleason

    I grew up in a conservative Mennonite Church and was taught that the baptism of the Spirit happened when we received Jesus and that the gifts of the Spirit were only for the early church. But I longed for something real, something that would empower me, something exciting. After I was in my 30s and had 3 children a man came to work where I did who taught the baptism of the Spirit for today. I received the baptism, hoping it would help us find healing for my wife who was struggling with a chronic condition. She did not find healing but passed away several years later but the baptism is a wonderful gift I treasure. I have been struggling with knowing just how the Spirit works and your story was very encouraging to me. I am remarried now and still part of a conservative Mennonite Church but I long to help others find the gift of the Spirit.

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    1. It takes faith and tenderness of heart to believe what God says even while living in a world that is groaning for redemption. I understand the longing for physical healing, and the questions that come when it doesn’t happen.

      Yet, a neatly boxed off definition of God’s Spirit does not bring joy. I’d rather live with some questions and have an open heart to what God might be doing.

      God bless as you pour out His Spirit on others around you!

      Like

  9. Amazing testimony, and lessons learned through our teacher the Holy Spirit.

    March 4, 2019 I had my moment of Awakening. I had experienced supernatural peace before and started learning how to maintain my Spirit man daily. But one day in dark depression trying to escape conversation and run to isolation for prayer, instead I decided to trust God and do what was right for that moment and listen to the person in front of me genuinely. Instantly supernatural peace was restored to me. I had never experienced such a good conversation til then either. Then when I went to my secret place in prayer, wisdom began to flow out and understanding of God’s word like never before. I then said, “Lord, just like when in conversation earlier your supernatural peace came as I listened to hear the person I was speaking to. Lord, though it’s amazing hearing revelation flow out of my mouth, O how much greater would it be to hear you!”

    Then as I silenced my thoughts, I began experiencing a peace so unexplainable. As I silenced my thoughts, He would linger and then speak.

    This led to a climatical peace that really surpassed my understanding and I was not capable of experiencing any longer, So I cried out for God to stop. The second I asked Him to stop, I heard a sound of wind and He hovered over me and hit my chest and filled me. I felt Him enter me.

    Since then I have never been the same.

    The supernatural things I’ve experienced since then are unspeakable and wild. But in this hour we are going to see God reveal Himself through people, because He abides in us. This is what is coming. He is about to REVEAL that He abides in man. That means the wheat is about to sprout it’s head. And the true church will be known by our LOVE for one another.

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    1. “The true church will be known by our love for one another.” I think of this when so many arguments and opinions threaten to divide the church.

      Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

      Like

  10. Chris

    Rosina, I read your testimony and I have to say it is quite close to what I experienced. When I returned from Oklahoma I wrote down my personal testimony. I have been so blessed. I’ll just share that testimony that I wrote almost 2 years ago. MY TESTIMONY July 28, 2018 Since; what I call,“my miracle,” my life has completely changed. I feel like I should write the testimony down for my loved ones so they will know what occurred, and what continues to happen since my miraculous conversion. The miracle I’m writing about is the indwelling and permanent place in my heart and soul of the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus Christ. It is wonderful.
    Before this happened to me I would hear people I knew, or watch on TV, describe being saved or baptized (or whatever people wanted to call it) by the Holy Spirit. I would look at them skeptically. Sometimes I’d say, “that’s nice,” and not give it much thought. Well now I KNOW ! This is what happened to me and what I now feel. I feel a peace and joy that cannot be expressed adequately in human terms. Since that day; June 5, 2018, I received this special gift from God. Little did I know, this was waiting for me all along. All I had to do was hand over my life to God and let His Holy Spirit guide me according to His unique plan for my life. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it ? It is, but it required me to have faith in Him and to realize that my ways, although well intended, fell short because I left God out of the plan. I was too concerned with my own worries, my own plans. How wrong I’ve been! It is July 28, 2018. The blessing of the Holy Spirit that I have received is permanent. When I say I would not trade this gift for one billion dollars, I mean exactly that.
    So how did this happen? A lot of Christians will tell you that their conversions happened when they were at the end of their rope, nowhere to go, desperate. This was not the case for me. I had, just recently, changed my position, after working 22 years all in one area. I was very comfortable in this new job. I don’t think I’ll ever have an easier one. God wanted me to move again. I could just sense that he did and it would require me to spend two weeks training in Oklahoma to learn the job and pass a written test at the end. I bid on the job, won the bid, passed the pretest so away I went. I have to say, in many ways, I did not want to go. But I flew out to Norman, Oklahoma for the Instruction. Part of the training for the job would be to get up in front of the class and answer a random phone call from a mock client and provide the proper information to answer their question. The instructor passed around a sign-up sheet with 20 slots for the calls going in order #1 would be the first call and so on (2 calls per day). When the sheet came to me, I found myself writing my name as first to go. The calls would begin the following day. Now I’m saying to myself, “why did I do this and why did I sign up to go first?” I’m fretting, trying to prepare, anticipating being nervous, thinking the worst, trying to absorb the mountain of new information that the customer might call about, on and on… So the next day comes and Kyle, one of our instructors, said that after we return from our 8:45 A.M. breakfast break we would begin the mock phone calls. I went back to my hotel room as I always did at break trying to calm myself for the dreaded phone call. All my classmates were aggravated about handling the call as well.. I decided to pray. I got down on my knees and I prayed, “Lord, you can see how worked up I am about this trivial thing in my life.” It went on for a bit like this, me talking to God, asking Him for help, telling Him how I feel, the whole nine yards. Then, for some reason, I got fed up with myself and prayed, “I’m tired of anticipating all these scenarios, You guided me out to Oklahoma and this job for a reason, I will rely on You to be with me at this moment and I KNOW You will assist me.” Almost instantaneously, I felt a calm come over me. I felt different. I wasn’t fretting or negatively anticipating anymore. It should be said, also, that I was no great example of self-confidence either. I returned back to the class, not anywhere near as edgy, completed the call ( which didn’t go particularly well- all the students calls didn’t go well) and sat back down. Since that moment, in my hotel room, when I got down on my knees, and asked the Holy Spirit to take over and that I would accept God’s will for me, my entire life exploded with an indescribable peace and joy. I know it’s hard to believe. It certainly is for me. BUT IT HAPPENED!
    So what occurred? Within just a couple of hours, I’d say 90% of my anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, negativity and bitterness was gone. GONE! Think about it. Can you imagine what that would feel like? GONE! I had a new ability to understand, empathize and FEEL what was going on with people around me. ALL PEOPLE! I gained courage and confidence. I gained enormous love for ALL people. A couple of days later, I noticed that when I was thinking about my painful childhood I didn’t feel the usual sting. 90% of it was gone. GONE! Amazing! All these changes happened, not because I wanted them gone, but because the Holy Spirit of God took them away. I am not unique or more deserving that anyone else to receive God’s “miracle.” I am just one of His children like anyone else. This indwelling awaits us all. We are all worthy. We just need to stop following our own inclinations and faithfully agree to follow where He wants us to go. Well-meaning that we might be, we need to stop doing, behaving and acting how WE think WE should. We don’t have the wisdom, answers or the ability on our own! The Holy Spirit does have the power, ability and answers for the incredibly unique individuals that we are. He’ll give us His help. He has GUARANTEED that help, . Now, almost two months later, the incredible peace that characterizes my life has not changed an iota. I am a new person ready to do His will,whatever that may be.
    Other changes started occurring as well. I found I needed to stop deceiving my employer by calling in sick when I was not. It didn’t matter that everyone was doing it. It didn’t matter that my employer couldn’t care less about any personal situation that I had. It mattered that I stop deceiving.. Another thing I needed to do was stop gambling on my on-line word competitions and stop buying lottery tickets. I felt I should use the money instead to buy someone a coffee, bring in donuts for my co-workers or give that money to someone who could really use it. I also needed to stop swearing all the time. My mouth was terrible. Change was required. I’m sure many people would say these are trivial things. I only know that they are not right for me anymore. I’m changing my poor behaviors, not dictating what anyone else needs to do.
    So far, I have told Tina, Mark, Josh, Leah, Rachel and my sister Judy, in that order. It is important that I tell the story.” More than a story, it is the TRUTH.
    Many times, Tina has heard me talking on and on, into the night about this amazing change in my life. We make a lot of jokes about how I can’t shut up. I realize I need to listen to what she has to say about ALL things. Tina understands me best about the enormous love and peace that fills me now. I love her and the children so much more, and better now. I love everyone better now. Dare I say , “I think my family has even started to l… l… l…l …like me a little bit!” I had to throw ONE lousy joke or it just wouldn’t be me. They’ll read this and say, “What joke?”
    Finally, I’d just like to say, that in my opinion, the Holy Spirit of Jesus and God, is just waiting for his children to put down what they are doing and follow Him. Whatever inordinately consumes our time we need to put aside and let Him breathe His holiness into our relationships, work and family life. All of us, and I mean ALL, have unique gifts and talents that the Holy Spirit wants to utilize for God’s will. Once again, all we need to do is ask Him to start helping and guiding our steps. Then we need to obey and have faith that He will. And why would he do this? BECAUSE HE SAID HE WOULD AND BECAUSE HE LOVES US.
    I’d also like to say that part of what I received is a blessed humility. I take no credit for anything. I have no feeling of being one bit better, or one bit anything more than another soul, because of this “miracle”. Quite honestly, I am dumbfounded. I have no desire to correct or preach to anyone. I just wait for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I do feel a responsibility to tell my story. My testimony may be criticized, challenged, ridiculed or treated with skepticism. I have no control. I hope this helps others.

    God Bless,

    Chris Hirschbeck

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