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!

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24 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!

    Like

  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.

    Like

    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!

    Like

    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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