AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD: My Story
November 13, 2017
It’s been a long while since I’ve shared my testimony in full. For the past several months I’ve felt like the time to do it again was approaching and for the last few weeks I’ve felt that the time has come. I ask those of you that read this, if it touches you in any way, or if you feel so compelled, please share it. It is my hope and prayer that as people read this, that their hearts will be stirred and they will be compelled to seek after GOD with all of their heart, that they would encounter His presence.
July 4th weekend, 2009, my entire life changed. I had been running from the Lord all my adult life, really all the way back from my teen years. And in a moment, an encounter with the Lord changed everything. Before I share about that though, let me go back and share a little about my background as I believe it speaks to why I traveled some of the roads I went down in my life.
My parents were pastors and missionaries. I grew up in the ministry, on the mission field in South Texas where we lived and traveled throughout South Texas and Mexico. We had a refugee center where we housed, fed and clothed countless people from all over that were fleeing poverty and war in their nations. My parents helped build churches, medical clinics and orphanages. They also held worship services and preached the gospel as they traveled, in villages, wherever they were invited to go. At home, the majority of our ministry, however, took place on the grounds where our home and church were. All of my childhood, our home had a revolving front and back door.
One thing about giving your life to the ministry, you will have some incredible experiences that you’ll carry with you for a lifetime, but you’ll also encounter some very hard trials. We certainly had our share.
When I was a child, I was molested in our church multiple times by one of the musicians. It had gone on for a while and I was told never to tell or he would tell people I was a liar and he also told me that my parents would be angry at me. It wasn’t until a Prophetess friend called my Mom after having had several dreams concerning me, that I was confronted and I finally told them what had been happening. I can look back at that one moment in my life and see where so many things I would later deal with all started right there. As a child, you not only deal with an event like that physically, but there is emotional manipulation that takes place, as well as threats. Fear, anger, confusion enter in – a gamete of emotions you try to process and are really unable to fully comprehend. To me, my 10th year of life was marked by medical examinations, endless counseling sessions being asked questions like “…And how does that make you feel?” Months of attorneys visits and court proceedings followed. Hell came against my family and our ministry.
Four years later, my Dad died when I was 14 years old. A year after that, my Mom and I moved to Mississippi where I spent the next 20 someodd years. While in Mississippi, I suffered a lot of rejection from my peers at school. I was so hurt and angry inside at people and at God for the things I had gone through up to that time. I cried almost daily, suffered from nightmares continually and fell into YEARS of grief and deep depression. I dropped out of high school, went on to college and began to drink, use drugs and live a mostly homosexual lifestyle. I felt empty. I was angry. I refused to darken the doors of a church and I resisted anything that resembled people trying to speak the Word of God to me. But… I had a praying Mother and praying family. It didn’t matter how high or how drunk I got, I could not outrun the Holy Spirit. My friends would party it up and I would be totally lost in thoughts about Jonah in the whale, about Moses in the wilderness, about the temptations Jesus endured. I would think about Daniel in the Lion’s den, David’s encounter with Goliath, and Saul overcome by troubling spirits and how he sinned against God. I had so many questions in my heart about many things, mainly the how’s and why’s these people experienced these different things and wondered what it was about them that GOD would respond to each one of them. There was never a question in my heart as to whether there was a God. I knew He was there. In spite of everything my friends told me to the contrary, I never could resolve in my heart that anything I was doing was OK to GOD. Several times, nearing the bottom of a bottle of wine, I would find myself under a midnight sky probing the heart of God for answers. I was sick of church. I was sick of fake, powerless, religious tradition. I wanted truth. I remember one night specifically, I called out to GOD and said, “I WANT TO KNOW YOUR TRUTH! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT FROM ANYONE ELSE. I WANT TO HEAR IT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH!” All I can say is, be careful what you ask for.
Soon after, in 2009, I had an encounter with the Lord. In a moment of time, I found myself in a situation completely outside of my control. A mass had come up in my neck quite suddenly. I had seen several doctors and had only found one that seemed to know what it even was. July the 4th was coming up and I had planned to follow up with the Specialist after the holiday to schedule a surgery date. I ended up being admitted into the hospital on July 4th weekend, when I called and told him I wasn’t feeling right. I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror and saw a darkness on me and I felt as though the hand of God had lifted. No matter what I had ever done, I had always felt like He was there and that I would always be okay, until that day. A feeling of total helplessness came over me and I suddenly realized everything was NOT going to be okay. I was admitted and after reviewing the latest blood work, MRIs and symptoms, the Surgeon explained that the surgery I needed was extremely dangerous and there was a really good chance I might die, and if not, there was a great likelihood I would end up with permanent nerve damage to my face and/or would lose the use of my tongue. The mass was between my jugular and carotid artery and because of the infection in my body, it was stuck to them. It also had tentacles attached to my throat. They could not get the infection levels down despite multiple strong IV Antibiotics. I knew in my heart I was in real trouble. I had been feeling a shadow of death hovering over me, but I told no one. What could anyone do?
On Sunday afternoon, a man of God came with a word of warning to me to repent. He said that while in service that morning the Lord spoke to him to come and see me and to tell me that this was my last chance, that there were adjustments that needed to be made and it was serious. He cried as he delivered the message to me, which brought all of my walls crashing down. I knew the Lord had sent him. My partner had not left my side the entire time I was in the hospital except for about an hour that day to go and shower and change. It was in that small window of time that he came. You can’t tell me GOD doesn’t know how to orchestrate things. I ended an 8 year relationship that day.
Soon after, the infection levels in my body suddenly began to drop and the Doctor released me to go home. I went back to the same home I had been living in, with my partner, thinking in my mind I could end the relationship but continue to live there. I realize now, she thought I was overwhelmed with this illness and would eventually come to my senses. I got home, exhausted, weary, and still pretty sick. I slept in the living room that night and I woke around 4:30AM the next morning to find a panicked text message from my friend, saying “Bec, I dreamed you didn’t do all that you were supposed to do and you died in surgery!” She didn’t know the word I had received the day before. It was like shockwaves hit me when I read that and I knew, that I knew, it was the Lord. I grabbed a garbage bag and threw all the clothes into it I could think of that I would need and ran for my life.
The morning of my surgery I told the Lord, “I’ve done all I know to do. If You don’t catch me in this surgery, I will fall.” For the first time in my life, there was no one who could help me BUT God! If He didn’t bring me through this, I knew I was going to die and I knew that eternity was waiting on the other side. For the first time in my life, I truly understood the fear of the Lord and I truly was having to trust Him. I had moments trying to buy anti bacterial soap and razors the night before my surgery and wondered if it was okay to spend the money on the good ones or whether I should buy the cheap ones, because I wasn’t sure I would even be alive the next day. That’s a very real place to find yourself. I ended up coming through the surgery.
I’m here today because of God’s mercy. I faced my day of decision. I left everything behind and have lived my life serving Him. When the God of the Universe speaks, there is no question Who it is. You KNOW. A new person woke up in that recovery room and I have never been the same.
As soon as I began to wake in recovery, the first thing I did was move my tongue to make sure it still worked. The only lasting effect was the long scar on my neck. While in recovery, I also came to learn that the Surgeon had attempted to remove the mass whole without draining it down like he said he would do (for the purpose of bragging rights) and it ruptured. Only God knows what might have happened had it not. I believe God was in surgery with me that day.
My life, since then, has never been the same. I surrendered my life, totally, to the will of the Lord. I instantly began talking to GOD all day long, every day. He took me through a period of deliverance and seasons of healing from things that happened in my life. I felt His presence on my life so strong. I was so captured by Him that I didn’t want to do anything that would offend Him or cause His presence to leave me. I inventoried my entire daily life and if things weren’t right, I got rid of them. I wanted NOTHING that resembled compromise in my life. I wanted His presence. I read from one end of the Bible to the other the first few months, like a famished child. He taught me to pray. He taught me how to hear His voice and how to discern not just right from wrong, but what’s right from what is “almost” right. He delivered me from drugs, from alcohol, even from smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, almost immediately. There was no need for rehab. I asked Him to remove every wrong desire in my life of things that were not from Him, even my relationships, feelings I had, and He did. I was totally transformed. The Bible says, “Who the Son (Jesus) sets free is free indeed!” I found that to be true in my life. True deliverance comes in an instant. He opens the traps we have been caught in and frees us, but we must choose to walk out of them and never return. Healing also comes, many times through a process, as He deals with areas of our lives where we’ve been wounded. That can take a little time as He deals with things as we are ready. He is good, and faithful and full of mercy. This has been the journey of a lifetime with HIM. He’s real, friend. You know what I’ve learned? Just like those people from the Bible stories I mentioned earlier, the same is true today. GOD responds to those with seeking hearts. He will deliver those that call on His name.
I want to say this to the Runner and to the Part Time Christian:
It’s time to quit playing games with God. The Bible says, “Choose TODAY who you will serve.” You can’t live a double life. God won’t accept part, He wants all of you. He is long suffering and full of mercy, but there comes a point in time when He will stop striving with you. What is holding you back? What are you allowing to stand between you and God? If you don’t feel like God is real enough to you, ask Him for an encounter with His presence. Ask Him to speak to you. Ask Him to change your life. He will fill your life in ways you cannot imagine if you’ll open up your heart to Him. Relationships, sex, drugs, alcohol, money, success… none of that stuff will ever satisfy. There is a God-size hole on the inside of you that you’re trying to fill with other things. It’s time to lay all that stuff down. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day of new beginnings. Don’t miss your moment. He is more real than you can begin to imagine. He is the GOD Who answers. He is the GOD Who loves you… and He’s waiting for you to open your heart and come to HIM. Today is the day.