I was sharing one day with one of my customers about the awesome things that were happening in my life. I had gone over to her house to measure for the interior decorating changes that she and I were planning on making to spruce up her home. In those days I owned and operated a small interior design firm in my home town, Waukesha. After I finished measuring for the new carpet that was to be installed, for some reason I began to share with her about the most recent miracle that had just happened because of my prayer. I had no idea where she was spiritually, but because I was so excited about what God had just done, I decided to tell her all about it.
My teenage daughter had been invited to spend the weekend with one of her girl friends who’s parents owned a home on a near by lake west of us. She was very excited about spending time with her friend because they had a boat and the two of them loved to water ski.
I dropped my daughter off at her friend’s house on a Friday night and Saturday around noon dark clouds began to roll in from the west. Concerned, because I heard the sound of the howling wind as it began to rattle our windows, I went to the window to watch the storm that was brewing. As I stood there watching the trees swaying from the force of the wind, it occurred to me that my daughter and her friend could very likely be out on the lake as this storm was gathering strength. So, I began to pray for the safety of my daughter and her friend. Knowing then that I had put my daughter in good hands, I went about my business with little concern.
The following day I received a phone call from my daughter. She was all excited to tell me what had happened to her. “Mother, she said, you will never believe what happened to us”. She proceeded to tell me that she and her friend were standing on the shore next to the pier, trying to pump up the inflatable two passenger paddle boat that they were going to be taking out into the lake to sunbathe in. She said, “every time they tried to inflate the boat up with their air pump, nothing would happen. It just would not take the air. They tried several times without success. Finally with the last try, they saw that the storm was coming and decided to give it up. They went into the house to wait for the storm to pass.
Hours later after the wind and storm had passed they came outside to survey the damage the storm had left behind. The storm was pretty severe with high winds that had demolished property and uprooted many a strong tree. The storm had left a lot of damage from tree branches that had crashed to the ground or damaged the hood of some car where they landed. The girls found one of the large trees that was on the property had been uprooted. The tree had landed next to the pier with one of its branches covering the boat where they had left it; after their trying to inflate it had failed. I said to her after hearing her story, “well praise God, the Lord was looking out for you and sent you guys into the house before that branch fell on you”. She continued, “But mother, that is not all…you will never believe this… when we went to pump up the raft to see if we could find the holes that kept it from holding the air and patch them…. there was nothing wrong with it and we had absolutely no trouble pumping it up this time”, she shouted all excited. “The boat holds the air and we were paddling around on it today without any problems”. “Mom, we could have been killed or hurt really bad. What if we would have still been trying to inflate that boat when the tree fell”, “God saved us and He wouldn’t let us use the boat.” Isn’t that awesome?”
After hearing this story and a few others about answered prayer, my customer began to share her faith in the Lord Jesus with me. “As a matter of fact” she said, I meet with a group of Christian women once a month and I would like to invite you to our next meeting. We meet once a month for lunch and enjoy a speaker after lunch. We will be meeting this Wednesday at the Ramada Inn in Milwaukee. This month’s speaker is Helena Curtis the cosmetic queen. Would you be interested in going with me?” she asked. I told her that yes I would like that. She then went to the phone to see if there were any tickets left for Wednesday. Since this was such short notice she was afraid that they might be all sold out because of having such a well known speaker. I watched a big smile come across her face as I heard her say, “You have got to be kidding me”, and then… “I’ll take it”. Hanging up the phone she turned to me and said. “There was just one ticket left”!
It wasn’t until after Wednesday’s meeting that I realized that this had been another one of God’s divine appointments. I had though, begun to get suspicious since there was just one ticket left. Upon entering the banquet room where the meeting was held, I was very much surprised by the attendance. I was expecting a small group of woman, maybe 40 or 50. However, there must have been at least three hundred or more women gathering around the tables for lunch that day. The banner on the wall above the head table said, “Woman’s Aglow”.
After lunch, someone got up and began to lead the women in song. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. These women worshiped our savior like nothing that I had ever heard before. Their angelic voices took me into a realm that my spirit had never traveled before. It wasn’t long before I could hear them singing in what sounded to me like many different languages. As I was looking around and trying to take all of this in, everyone had their hands raised to heaven worshiping the King of Kings. I felt a little uncomfortable because all of this was not something that I was accustomed to. I’m sure that no one noticed that I was the only one that did not have her hands raised. They would not have noticed because they were lost in the worship of their God. There were no eyes on me, they were all on Him. I felt teary eyed, and did not understand why.
Standing there listening to these women sing one beautiful song after another to Jesus stirred up all sorts of emotions within me. I kept asking myself where had I been that I had never heard of or experienced anything like this before. I was wishing that it would never end. I kept wondering how something like this could be going on in the world and I knew nothing about it. It felt as if my life had been lived on another planet or something. Why had I been left in the dark while something this Holy and this beautiful was going on with these woman who seemed to be so alive and so free.
When Maxine began to speak, she shared her testimony of how God rescued her after her husband Louis Stein, the love of her life, had died. Louis and his partner founded the Helena Curtis cosmetic empire. He had named the company after his wife and his son. His wife Maxine was introduced to us as Helena Curtis the cosmetic queen. She lived a life as an atheist after marrying Louis who had influenced her to believe that there was no God. Maxine had come from a Christian home and had denied the existence of Christ when she married Louis. She told us how she was in a suicidal state and was determined to take her own life, because life was not worth living without Louis. She planned on taking a cruise and had decided to jump ship somewhere in the middle of the ocean. Those were her plans, but the Lord had other plans. Although she had turned her back on Him, He had not let go of her. In her darkest hour the Lord rescued her.
After she spoke she invited people to come forward for prayer. I stood and watched for awhile and then little by little I inched my way toward her. I was not even sure just what it was that I was after or what it was that I needed prayer for. All I knew was that I was drawn to her and wanted to know the Lord with the same intimacy that she obviously did. Maybe if she prayed for me, I could have it too. As I waited and listened to her praying with the other women, I realized that she was praying in another language as well as in English. I then became aware that there were many voices throughout the room that were also praying in English and in some other languages as well.
Like a flash of lightning the revelation came to me that they were speaking in tongues. In an instant I realized that the beautiful sounds that I had been listening to when these woman were singing were the sounds of singing in an unknown tongue, just like the bible described. I knew from what I had read in the bible, that this was one of the many gifts of the Holy Spirit. I had heard a little about these gifts being poured out in our day from watching the 700 club on TV. However I had never met anyone that had this experience themselves. That is until this particular day, there I stood listening to some three hundred or so woman who were speaking in tongues and who obviously knew a whole lot more about my Jesus than I did.
Eventually she turned and saw me standing there and asked, “What is it dear”? I said, “I don’t know, I guess I just want what whatever it is that all of you have and I don’t.” She took my hands and began to pray for me. She prayed in tongues for a couple of minutes and then she looked up and said, “What is it child that you have been into?” At first I did not understanding what she was getting at. But then this realization came over me, and one by one I recalled all of the things that I had been experimenting with in my quest for finding the truth and the meaning of life. All of these practices flashed within my mind, much like I would suppose someone’s life flashes before them at the moment of a near death experience. I had been searching for truth in all of the wrong places and she knew it some how. I later learned that she was operating out of another one of the gifts of the Spirit, the gift of knowledge.
In answer to her question, I began to confess to her all the things that I had been into as if she were a priest behind the curtain of a confessional booth. I was not aware until that very moment that any of these things needed my confession. The words of my confession spilled out of my mouth like rushing water from a dam that had just burst. Maxine’s eyes looked into my eyes as if she were staring straight into the depths of my soul. She continued to hold my hands in hers while her eyes pierced mine. I felt as if she had just undressed me. She then said with great tenderness that I was going to have to renounce satan and all of his works of darkness before I would be able to receive the Holy Spirit in power. Then she led me in a prayer to renounce satan and his deceptive works of astrology, numerology, clairvoyance, transcendental meditation and hypnosis. All of these things I had dabbled in looking for what I perceived as the truth. I had entered into the wrong side of the supernatural, the dark side.
After a little bit she said, ”there is still something more”, as if she had inside information about me. “What is it”? At first I could not image what it could be. Then a memory flashed before my eyes of a weekend seminar that I had attended. It was an enlightenment seminar that I now recognize as part of the new age movement. I asked her if attending this seminar could be it. She smiled sweetly as she shook her head. “Jesus is the truth and the Light” I heard her say and that I must ask God to forgive me for getting myself mixed up in the occult even if it was done out of ignorance.” Together we prayed a prayer asking for forgiveness and before I could get the last words out of my mouth…It happened!
The power of the Holy Spirit came upon me and I found myself lying on the floor as if a strong but gentle wind had blown me down. I was not able to stand up against this awesome and holy power, nor did I want to. I did not know what had just happened to me. All I did know was that an incredible sense of peace had overtaken me, and I had floated to the ground like a fall leaf freed from its branch. Tears from my weeping eyes began to flow down the sides of my face all on their own. Several women were on their knees surrounding me on the floor all of them praying for me to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Someone said, “Just speak it out, you’ve got it”.
Just speak what out? I asked myself. I don’t have anything! I wanted to have something, but I could not figure out what on earth these ladies were talking about. As I was lying on the floor overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit and wondering what to expect next, a word was repeated over and over in my mind. Since I did not know what the word meant, I knew instinctively that it was not a word that I had thought of on my own. So, I said to the women surrounding me, “Abba, Abba, is Abba anything”? One precious woman bent down and in a voice next to a whisper she said, “You are saying daddy, daddy. It most certainly is something! You are crying out to your daddy in heaven!”
It wasn’t until later that day when I was alone in my car that I was able to release the rest of my prayer language. I was so thrilled that I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit which was evidenced by my speaking in tongues that I just wanted to say it over again and again, and I did. Just as soon as I was alone I began repeating over and over again the one word that I had, Abba, Abba, Abba. Soon other strange sounding words began to flow without any effort on my part. Before I knew it I was singing to the Lord in my new found gift, the gift of speaking in tongues that the bible speaks of. From my inner most being, arose the most beautiful melody and words that were heaven sent and heaven bound. I was now, a woman aglow I thought to myself. (Little did I know at that moment in time that the Lord had plans for my future concerning this organization, called “Woman’s Aglow”. For somewhere on His calendar of time were plans for me to be the President of Woman’s Aglow in my local chapter. That day, far off in my future dawned for me several years later.)
After dinner that night, I sat down and opened my bible to the passage that the women had given to me earlier that day. Oh my goodness, I just experienced this today in real time, I thought to myself as I read it over and over again.
Romans 8:14-17, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage, again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs…heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
God in His mercy met me where I was, ignorant of the supernatural realm. I had opened the door to satan and his deceptive practices without ever knowing that I was committing spiritual adultery. We cannot have one foot in the Kingdom of Light and one foot in the kingdom of darkness at the same time. I did not know that the following scriptures were even in the Bible when I was dabbling with the very things that are forbidden.
Deut 18:9-14 9 "When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, (astrologer) or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. 14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.
God will meet us in our ignorance when our hearts are set to know the truth, never-the-less we have no excuse for our ignorance. The Lord has given us His Word and it is all right there in our Bibles for us to accept and obey. Disobedience because of ignorance is still disobedience. Blessings follow obedience. My incapacity to recognize the occult practices that I was into almost kept me from the most precious blessings of my life, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I was then believing that many of the practices of this world system were harmless, I was wrong. They are deceptive practices that keep you in bondage and they bring curses with them. These curses though can be broken through repentance, obedience and the protective shed blood of Christ.
Throughout my life there have been pivotal moments in time that have changed the course of my life. This divine appointment with the Holy Spirit and His servant Helena Curtis was one of those days that set the stage for a radical revolution to take place in the History of my life.