Chapter 4 – Early Teens

A New Beginning in Healing and Faith.
The transformative power of faith and the profound impact of spiritual experiences became even more evident during a Sunday church service, marking a significant turning point in my journey of healing and self-discovery. This moment, engraved in my memory, symbolized a departure from the grayscale existence that had characterized much of my life up to that point. My life, fraught with dysfunction and devoid of peace, mirrored a movie lacking in color—filled with wild experiences that led only to destruction. Yet, it was within the nurturing embrace of the church community that my recovery from this pervasive trauma began to take root.

As I stood up for prayer, surrounded once again by the prayer team, the elders of the church encircled me, ready to intercede on my behalf. Their profound sensitivity to the movement of the Holy Spirit in that moment was palpable; they knew it was a time of significant impact in my spiritual journey. As the prayers ascended, one of the elders’ prayers catalyzed an overwhelming experience: I was slain in the Spirit. Tears streamed down my face as years of pent-up pain began to dissolve, marking the first time in my life I truly allowed myself to feel. A light permeated my being, and I found myself collapsing to the ground, overwhelmed by a sense of release and liberation.

The emotions that washed over me were unlike anything I had ever experienced. As I stood up, my tears were replaced with laughter, my sorrow with joy. The transformation was so profound that those around me could only watch in wonder at the sudden shift in my demeanor. Overcome with an irrepressible joy, I sought out Robert, bursting into the room where he was hosting Sunday school. My announcement, “ROBERT! I’M HEALED! I CAN FEEL,” elicited a response that was both affirming and heartwarming. His laughter and loving smile in acknowledgment of my healing was a clear affirmation of the journey I had embarked upon.

This experience marked the beginning of my emotional availability, a pivotal moment where the journey of unlearning old patterns and re-learning how to live truly began. The significance of this moment extended far beyond the immediate emotional release; it signified the start of a deeper, more profound healing process. My encounter with the Holy Spirit that Sunday was a clear demarcation line between the life I had known and the life I was stepping into—a life marked by healing, growth, and an ever-deepening faith.

The process of unlearning the dysfunctional patterns of my past and re-learning how to navigate the world with a renewed sense of purpose and identity was not without its challenges. Yet, the support and guidance of the church community, alongside the newfound connection with my emotions, provided a solid foundation upon which I could build. The journey ahead was as much about rediscovering who I was in Christ as it was about healing from the wounds of my past.

This chapter of my life, rich with spiritual encounters and marked by significant personal growth, underscored the transformative power of faith and the importance of community in the healing process. It was a testament to the fact that, no matter how deep the wounds of our past, there is always hope for renewal and restoration in Jesus Christ. My story, from the depths of despair to the heights of spiritual awakening, serves as a beacon of hope for all who find themselves lost in the grayscale of life, reminding them that color, joy, and peace are possible through faith and surrender to God’s will.

As I continued to navigate this journey of healing and discovery, the lessons learned and the growth experienced during this period would become foundational to my understanding of faith, love, and the power of the Holy Spirit. The path ahead was filled with both challenges and victories, but with a heart open to God’s transformative work, I was ready to face whatever came my way, armed with a newfound strength and a deep sense of purpose.

The journey of healing and transformation that began with my profound spiritual experiences in church marked the onset of a new chapter in my life, one characterized by self-discovery and a deeper understanding of my own feelings and emotions. As I navigated this newfound emotional landscape, I was also awakened to a sense of purpose within the church community. This chapter of my life was not just about healing; it was about stepping into a role of service, guided by a desire to share the freedom and liberty I had found in my faith.

For the first time, I was truly in touch with the breadth of my emotions. Feelings that had once seemed foreign or inaccessible to me were now vivid and tangible. Joy, sorrow, peace, and love—I experienced these emotions in their fullness, each one a testament to the healing work that had been done in my heart. This emotional awakening was not simply a personal milestone; it was the key that unlocked a deeper empathy and connection with those around me.

Navigating this new emotional reality required patience and grace, both with myself and with others. I learned to sit with my feelings, to understand them rather than push them away. This process of self-discovery was challenging, yet incredibly rewarding. It allowed me to connect with others on a level I had never experienced before, offering comfort and understanding that was born of my own journey through pain and healing.

As my emotional landscape expanded, so too did my desire to serve within the church. The same community that had supported me through my darkest times now became the place where I sought to give back. I was inspired to join the prayer team, a decision that was as much about my own spiritual growth as it was about serving others.

Praying for others with freedom and liberty was a profound experience. Each prayer was an act of faith, a belief in the power of God to heal, transform, and renew, just as He had done in my life. This service was not just about the words spoken in prayer; it was an expression of gratitude, a way to share the love and peace I had received. It was a reminder that my journey, while deeply personal, was also part of a larger story of redemption and grace.

Serving in the church and praying for others taught me the true meaning of freedom in faith. It was not just freedom from the pain and struggles of my past, but freedom to live a life of purpose, to love deeply, and to serve joyfully. This liberty was not bound by the constraints of my previous experiences; it was a freedom that transcended circumstances, offering hope and peace in the midst of life’s storms.

This freedom also manifested in how I approached my own spiritual journey. I learned to pray with a sense of openness and surrender, trusting in God’s sovereignty and His perfect plan for my life. The liberty I found in prayer was mirrored in the way I lived my life, marked by a willingness to follow where God led, even into the unknown.

The theme of self-discovery and service that defines this chapter of my life is a testament to the transformative power of faith. It is a reminder that our journeys, no matter how marked by pain and struggle, can lead to profound growth and purpose. In discovering my own feelings and emotions, I was not only healed but also equipped to serve others with empathy and love. And in stepping into a role of service within the church, I found a freedom that continues to shape my walk with God.

As I reflect on this chapter, I am reminded of the journey still ahead. The path of self-discovery and service is not a destination but a continual process of growth and surrender. With each step, I am learning more about the depth of God’s love and the freedom that comes from living a life fully surrendered to Him.

As I ventured deeper into my journey of faith and healing, I found myself on a path of self-discovery, exploring the depth of my feelings and emotions in ways I had never before considered possible. This exploration was not just an inward journey; it also ignited a passion within me to serve within the church and to pray for others with a newfound freedom and liberty. My experiences of spiritual awakening and healing had instilled in me a desire to extend the same hope and restoration to those around me.

One service, as I stood praying at the back with the elders of the church, a profound sense of knowing stirred within my spirit. Amid the congregation of over 500 people, I sensed that someone was suffering from neck pain. This wasn’t just a fleeting thought; it was a deep spiritual conviction that demanded action. With the service drawing to a close and the congregation rising from their seats, I felt an urgent need to act on this prompting.

With Megan by my side, we made our way downstairs to the person who had been on my heart throughout the service. Approaching her, I inquired about her condition, asking, “Do you have pain in your ear, your neck area?” Her response was immediate and filled with surprise. “Yes! How did you know? I’ve had an X-ray, physio, chiro, and nobody can fix it!!!” she exclaimed. It was clear that her suffering was significant, and her journey to find relief had been long and fruitless.

Seizing the moment, I asked if I could pray for her. With her consent, I gently laid my hand on her neck, calling upon the Lord’s healing power. The moment I did, she jolted, leaping to her feet with a scream that filled the hall, “JAMES HEALED ME! MY NECK IS HEALED!” Her reaction was one of pure astonishment and joy. She ran around the hall, visibly overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit, her joy uncontainable.

This encounter marked my first experience of being used by God to facilitate healing. The woman’s immediate and tangible response to the prayer was a powerful testament to the reality of God’s power to heal and transform lives. Her declaration that her neck was healed, coupled with her exuberant reaction, was a moment of divine intervention that left an indelible mark on my heart and my journey of faith.

This experience of supernatural healing was not just a milestone in my spiritual journey; it was a catalyst for further growth and service within the church. It reinforced the belief that God could use me, despite my own struggles and past, to bring healing and hope to others. The freedom and liberty I found in praying for others, especially witnessing the direct impact of those prayers, deepened my commitment to serving within the church and exploring the gifts of the Spirit.

The journey of self-discovery, understanding my emotions and feelings, and stepping into a role of serving others was a profound process of transformation. It taught me the power of faith in action, the importance of being sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and the joy of seeing God’s healing power at work. Serving in the church and praying for others became a vital part of my identity, shaping my understanding of what it means to live a life surrendered to God’s will and purpose.

As I reflect on this journey, I am reminded that the path to self-discovery and spiritual service is one of continuous learning and growth. Each experience of praying for others, each moment of stepping out in faith, adds another layer to my understanding of God’s love and power. It is a journey marked by moments of profound impact, both on my life and the lives of those I have had the privilege to pray for. This journey of faith, service, and healing continues to be a source of strength, inspiration, and unwavering hope as I walk forward, eager to see how God will continue to use me in the lives of others.

Following my first experience of supernatural healing within the church, I found myself standing at the threshold of a new realm of spiritual understanding and empowerment. This moment of healing was not just an isolated incident; it was the beginning of a deeper revelation of my gifting in the Holy Spirit. The empowerment I received through this experience was unlike anything I had encountered in the New Age realm. It was a profound realization that the gifts of the Spirit were real, tangible, and accessible to those who believed and were willing to be used by God.

As I delved deeper into the study of spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of healing, I began to understand the biblical foundation for such miracles. Passages from the Scriptures that spoke of healing and the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers took on new meaning. I realized that what I had witnessed and been a part of was a fulfillment of the promise that believers would do greater works in Jesus’ name. This understanding fueled my desire to seek God more earnestly, to understand His will, and to be a vessel for His power.

The empowerment I felt was distinct from any previous spiritual experiences I had in the New Age realm. In those practices, power often felt elusive, shrouded in mystery, and dependent on one’s ability to harness and manipulate energies. In contrast, the power I experienced through the Holy Spirit was freely given, not as a result of my efforts or abilities but as a manifestation of God’s grace and love. It was an empowerment rooted in relationship—with God and with others—and marked by a desire to see lives transformed by the gospel.

This revelation of healing and gifting in the Holy Spirit prompted a significant shift in my identity. I was no longer just a seeker of truth; I was a bearer of God’s power, called to bring healing and hope to those around me. This new identity was both humbling and exhilarating. It came with a sense of responsibility to steward the gifts I had been given wisely and to remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The journey into the gifts of the Spirit also brought about a deeper level of discernment. I learned to distinguish between the genuine move of God and the counterfeit experiences I had encountered in the New Age. This discernment was crucial as it guided me in my interactions with others, ensuring that what I imparted was rooted in God’s truth and love.

My experiences of healing and the subsequent revelation of my spiritual gifting had a broader impact than I could have initially imagined. It opened doors for ministry opportunities within and beyond the church walls. I found myself praying for healing in various settings, witnessing God’s power at work in the lives of individuals from all walks of life. Each testimony of healing added to the growing conviction that God was moving powerfully in our time, just as He did in the days of the early church.

This journey of embracing the gift of healing and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit has been a transformative process. It has not only changed the trajectory of my spiritual journey but has also impacted the lives of those I have had the privilege to pray for. The revelation that God could use me, with all my flaws and past mistakes, to bring about healing and restoration in others has been one of the most humbling and exhilarating aspects of my walk with Him.

As I continue to explore the depths of this gifting, I remain in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness. The journey into the gifts of the Spirit is a journey of endless discovery, a testament to the boundless grace of God. It stands as a powerful reminder that when we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit, there is no limit to how God can use us to impact the world around us. The empowerment I have experienced in the Holy Spirit far surpasses anything I encountered in the New Age realm, marking a profound shift in my understanding of true spiritual power and my role in God’s kingdom.