I wrote that at the end of my last post. It just came to me. I just knew it was true.
A few days later I received an email from the Pasadena International House of Prayer (PIHOP) that would change everything. Back story...
I grew up in a charismatic cult-y (like maybe it was a cult but I'm still deciding) church with some theology issues. Okay, a lot of theology issues. I was turned off to "charismatic" things for a while, although I knew that not everything at the church I grew up in was wrong. There were genuine Christians there after all. I left that church when I was 19.
I met Theresa when I worked at an after-school program in early 2009. She told me about the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, where she interned before working with me. Basically, IHOP is a 24/7 prayer and worship center. Gifts of the Spirit focused. Charismatic. Whatever you want to call it, those people love Jesus. I thought it sounded super cool but had no inclination to go anywhere near Missouri...ever. So, like any child of the millennium would do, I googled other houses of prayer in the LA area. I found one in Pasadena but didn't visit it until months after finding out it existed. I go once with my then-roommate Sheila. It was small and not as exciting as I expected after learning about IHOP KC. I enjoyed it but it wasn't that interesting to me. So I move on with life and occasionally thought, "I should visit that PIHOP place at a 'peak' time with more people, louder music, etc."
I moved to Peru in 2010. One of the long-term volunteers at the orphanage, Liz, shows up and keeps talking about this "supernatural ministry" school she did at her church back home. Sounds weird to me. Then she recommends and lets me borrow a book she read in the school. I don't remember the book's name or author or even that much about it. I remember it was about proclaiming who I am in Christ so it was good stuff. The "supernatural" didn't sound so crazy to me after that.
I get back from Peru in 2011. I pass by PIHOP and see that they've expanded their small operation into the large building next door. I think, "Whoa, what happened to PIHOP?" I heard about their School of Supernatural Ministry (just like the one my friend Liz went to) but knew I couldn't do it since I was just readjusting to American life. I start visiting once in a while with my roommate Kelsey, especially after a difficult breakup with my then-boyfriend in February. When I heard they were doing the supernatural school again this year, I looked into it, but it wouldn't work with my schedule. But my schedule later changed...
Back to the epic email PIHOP sent me...okay, it wasn't quite, "epic." It just said they had extended their application deadline and were going to have an information session the next night. But I knew. I knew. God wanted me to do the crazy-charismatic-gifts-of-the-Spirit-loving-supernatural-Jesus school. I went to the info session to make sure my Discernment Meter wasn't broken. They could have said anything at that meeting because I felt Jesus in all of it. I knew. I know I'm supposed to be in this school.
In the three weeks since beginning the program, I've been a part of physical healing and prophesies. I've had people prophesy over me with complete accuracy (not weird fortune-telling stuff, just confirmation from God on things I already heard from him myself). I've had a woman put her hand on my stomach and pray "fire, fire, fire" over me (I know it's super weird. But I promise, it didn't feel weird...which is even weirder, I know.*) But most important of all, I've worshiped the Lord like never before. And I love him like I never have before. And I trust him like I never have before.
Redemption is here.
Jesus saves. He has lifted me from the crashing waves. He will never leave me.
*Something being weird does not automatically make it wrong or against God. If you're a Christian, keep in mind how weird we are. We believe God sent a human version of himself to die as a sacrifice for our sins. Think about that. That's weird. Read the Bible. There's a lot of weird to be found in there. And Jesus said a lot of weird stuff. He's really weird. So weird is not automatically bad. The Holy Spirit can be a sort of "weird meter" when it comes to people doing stuff like touching your belly while they pray over you. Or when people collapse on the ground during worship. He shows us if it's Jesus weird or bad weird. My belly-fire prayer was Jesus weird :)