Day-by-day my spirit continued to grow (just like yours!). God made sure of that! When He sat at the potter’s wheel of my life, He “knew” what it would take to get me down the paths He destined and purposed for me. No matter how much whining I did…He would just lean low and whisper, “Trust me”. And truly, why wouldn’t I?
I loved Jesus, family, new life, church…and joy! I was like a kid in a candy store for real. I went to prayer services, watched, learned and wanted to be a prayer counselor, served as a greeter, began to be involved in the starting of a new single’s group. I received love and encouragement from everyone…and bloomed. Speaking of blooming… Have you ever picked up a board or something that has lain on the ground for a long time and saw what the plants looked like under it – undernourished, smothered, strung out, faded, not even reflecting the Creator’s purpose? But you take that same plant, put it in fertile soil, tend it, give it light, the right food and the right positioning and you get a vibrant, rich, fragrant and powerful living thing. My point exactly.
So once I was in my thriving position, I just enjoyed my new zone, always expecting more of the same feelings, thoughts and experiences in my life. It never occurred to me that He would have surprises for me – “unannounced” spiritual lessons to experience. I can only imagine God watching me get ready for church that Sunday morning knowing that I didn’t know that He had positioned me for the “next level” of my destiny. For real, it is probably best that I didn’t know.
It was a powerful praise and worship that day…God was glorified and we were ready for the Word of God to be released. Pastor passionately began the opening to his sermon – that he would be preaching on God’s most powerful creation – men – no, not “male and female” – just men. Well, whippee. I was just as about excited as taking a case of castor oil. I still remember how put out I was. I feel sure that my smiling face was, uh, looking like I had eaten a lemon. But, anyway, I sat there, grim on the inside but determined to listen to the message, sure that God would insert something in it somewhere that would relate to me and it wouldn’t all be a waste. Isn’t that how we do it? With a preconceived notion of what “we” need…or DON’T?
Well, that message didn’t work for me at all. I got angrier and angrier and it was all I could do to sit there. My teeth clenched as I heard all the raving reports about the power God put in the hands of men. That WE, women, were created FOR them. Well, ask me if I was thrilled? I was so mad that I could have slapped somebody.
As soon as service was over, me and my furnace of indignation hauled it right out of there. I called the church office first thing that week and made an appointment with both he and his wife – letting them know it was because I was soooo upset because of his message that Sunday.
Well, I marched my little mad self in there for my appointment and we all went in and sat down. They kindly and gently prompted me to begin. The first thing out of my mouth after my smile was, “Well, I just want you know that I am NOT at all impressed with man’s use of their power.”
Now they were great, for real. They both knew where I was coming from with my past and tried to encourage me for the rightness of God’s purpose – told me that I just hadn’t known it the right way. But I didn’t WANT them to tell me my purpose was for “man”. My purpose was for God and I wasn’t having it any other way. We visited a good while, prayed and then ended the meeting by all going into the prayer service that was going on.
Now, before I go into the next part of this story, I want you to know that God had already been building my relationship with them. I knew God had brought me there to help them. They knew it too. So, this “situation” was unexpected.
Once I was back in the prayer service, God began to work on me. He let me know up front and personal that I had a prejudice against men…of course He knew why…but prejudice isn’t allowed. I just was floored that me, a rape victim with 2 divorce issues, and a core belief that I was unloved by men – would be reprimanded for prejudice against men. I thought forgiveness was enough. Then the sorrow hit me…the ugliness of it all. I just prayed, “God help me do this.” After prayer service I went up to pastor and asked him if I could be baptized…that I had some deliverance issues to lay down.
Pastor had taught the prayer counselors that with “some” deliverance issues, sometimes baptisms are necessary to remove it off them. I never knew that I would know it personally.
The next night was our Wednesday night service and we prepared for my baptism. After church the baptismal was prepared. My family was there, friends, and new church family – all looking over the edge of the glass wall…waiting for me.
In the dressing room I was looking at myself in the mirror. I changed and put on the long white baptismal gown and stood there with my long dark hair, big loop earrings and red lipstick. My heart was so sad to let go of the loss of never knowing purity and innocence or “firsts” as they were meant to be. Suddenly I reached up and took off the earrings and wiped off all the lipstick and just stood there in that white gown – no adornments – and just prayed that this baptism would be a miracle. That God would do something supernatural as I came up out of the water. It still seemed unreal for Him to expect this of me but my heart was determined to follow Him anywhere.
I opened the door and went out. Everyone was around and excited. The men helped me climb the steps to the baptismal pool. I went in and sat down in the warm, clear water, the white gown dancing in the current. Friends and family were standing inches away on the other side of the glass wall. Pastor was standing on my other side. He laid his hand very gently on my head and began to pray into my spirit and into heaven…I spoke the words for new life and I was lowered under the water.
As I came back up, hair streaming water all around me – I took a breath, and everyone was happy with congratulations. I was smiling…but I was listening for something supernatural. I knew that God spoke to Jesus and I had heard other stories of God touching people during baptisms. But I just couldn’t hear anything. So, slowly I stood up, with the white gown totally surrounding me and I walked toward the steps to climb out of the pool.
Now I didn’t notice anything on the first step, but the second and each step thereafter, something began to happen to me. I didn’t know what it was and I was trying to grasp it all. No one knew anything was going on. When I reached the highest step, I just stood there with water streaming down me and watching the men all run around below me preparing a way for me to safely climb down. I just stood there trying to focus, not at all recognizing what I felt…inside….I just felt so… .so…. so protected…. so adored……so pure…oh my Jesus…… so innocent. Innocent…
Even now the tears run down my face.
Can you see my friends, can you see? In washing away the prejudice against men for what was stolen from me, only then, could God spiritually give it back.
I still remember that feeling of purity and innocence in my spirit. No one can take it away from me. Ever.
Nor can anyone take away what He gives you.
Thank you Jesus for the power of remembrance. You are my hero…all the days of my life.
Until tomorrow, sweet dreams.
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Patti Corbello Archer