Twenty years ago this summer my journey with God was to take an unexpected but heavenly detour...and my Christian experience would never be the same again.
It was 1994 – the year of what the British press dubbed ‘The Toronto Blessing’ – a worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit that flowed from a little church at the end of Toronto airport runway. I was going through what I now call my ‘desert years’ – an extremely dry period spiritually that lasted for twelve long years. I remember saying that it would take dynamite to get me out of the rut I was in. Little did I know that God was about to send me just that – His ‘dunamis’ (dynamite) power of the Holy Spirit that Mark Whittington spoke of recently!
I do believe the Holy Spirit had already moved in me as a young person. In fact, on the train whilst returning from my interview at Manchester University I felt the Holy Spirit with me, confirming to me that it was definitely God’s will that I was going to be coming up to Manchester. Although I never actually completed my degree course, I now believe that this experience was pointing forward to what was to occur some seventeen years later!
I have never been to Toronto – in fact my initial experiences of what was really the Father’s Blessing were through my hubby praying for me at home after being touched himself at a midweek meeting. The first time this happened I felt waves of the most beautiful electricity go through me, getting stronger and stronger until I fell to the floor. It was the first time I had ever felt God and I was changed in an instant. I got up and leapt about the house for joy!
A few days later, following a bad experience with a driving instructor my husband Paul prayed for me again and I felt God’s enveloping presence for quite some time. In bed that night I could still feel the Holy Spirit on Paul’s breath as it was on Jesus’ breath in John 20:22, and went off to sleep with this incredible ‘love’ being breathed over me.
On another occasion, whilst being prayed for at church I felt something being gently drilled away in a part of my heart. When this was complete it was as if something lifted off me and I felt myself being straightened up and walking tall.
Throughout these experiences I had an overwhelming feeling of being deeply loved, and a warm glow on the inside continuously for about three months!
Although a few things are still a puzzle, my faith has been unshakable since this time- no longer being based on the Bible alone but on experience also. Praise God for His wonderful blessing - His glorious foretaste of all that awaits us in heaven!