There's Power in the Presence
Well, Hello, I’m Kim. And I love being able to share my story. Because I feel like it’s an encouragement to people who have lost hope, who are discouraged, who have set their heart on God, and then felt like He wasn’t there. So, my story actually begins with growing up in a non-Christian home.
By the time I was in the eighth grade, my parents were divorced. And it was just my mom and I. And my mom was very, was very depressed. I was very much trying to find my identity in the world. I was in my, at my junior high. I actually became someone who received a lot of affirmation from my looks and my personality. And I was very popular. I was a cheerleader. I was the class favorite every year. And that became my way of being happy. But there was this emptiness inside of me that I didn’t even know, you know, that it was actually there.
I met a girl in my ninth grade year, and she just talked about God all the time. And she seemed so, she just had something I wanted. I called her the God girl. It was amazing. My sister, who was five years older than me, went away to college. And she actually became a Christian. I prayed “the prayer” with her to receive Jesus as my Savior. And immediately, the first person I called was Jan, the God girl, and told her, guess what I just did. And she was just like, “Oh, I’ve been praying for you.” And we became best friends at that point, from that point on, literally, just wanted to share the good news of Jesus, the love of Jesus, with everyone we could in our high school.
My father also passed away when I was 15, two months after I received Christ as my Savior, but they were divorced. And I didn’t really know how to feel about him. I was, you know, it was like this love-hate relationship. And so when he passed away, I didn’t really even have any feelings about it, except that, why do I not feel sad? But anyway, the beautiful thing, the reason I share that is that when I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior, God became my Father. And He has been ever since. And He has been so faithful to me. And I felt that gap of not having a father so deeply. And it was just so beautiful, how He, I just did not want to ever miss time with God because I needed Him. I needed Him as my Father. And in college, I started going to a Bible Church. And I really loved it because it began to answer a lot of my questions about my faith, which you naturally have, especially when you go to college. And it was so good to know that there were scientific, theologically strong sound reasons, intellectually sound reasons why I believed the faith that I was believing, and I began to just devour learning the Bible, wanting to know theology, wanting to understand apologetics, you know, real and really became pretty much what I would say a head-based, kind of head-based Christian, and just felt it helped. It was so important to have a foundation to know what you believe in, why you believed it.
But that also began to produce some pride and some arrogance, in having some, a bit of judgment against believers who didn’t have that foundation. I knew I had a lot of inner trauma, in terms of insecurities, and just empty, things that were empty and unhealed really is what they were. But I didn’t, I just knew I was insecure and, and I didn’t know why. I had a lot of fear about failing, about not being enough. So I was always trying hard to be the best Christian that I could possibly be.
I met my husband Joe quickly after I came to Dallas at our Bible Church. And the one thing about him that really made me hesitant to marry him was that he was very emotional about his faith, in his faith. And I worried about that. And, but there was something so deep and secure and loving about him, that I literally put away all of my doubts and all of these big question marks about whether I wanted to go forward and marry him. Because I knew he was someone who would always love me and would never abuse me or abandon me. Like my father. What I began to realize, I knew there was something in my spirit that wasn’t comfortable with what was happening to my faith, but I didn’t know any other way. And that was that I felt like my faith, my church, my experience in church had become what I kind of call a fraternity/sorority faith or just it basically, that’s it. I just kind of felt like we were striving constantly to get in with some group, with this group of Christians over here that seem really cool or successful, or I just succumbed because I didn’t know any other way. Also, another thing that happened during that time, was I actually, when I was 29, after my first baby was born, I had a hormonal imbalance that actually wasn’t diagnosed till many years later. But all I know is that when I weaned my baby, I woke up one morning with a dark, very dark, almost, I mean, literally, I felt like I wanted to die, suicidal depression. And I had no idea what was going on.
I knew it must have something to do with hormones, because it went away two weeks later, then it came back two weeks after that, and I was going through this see-saw of depression and feeling normal for, well, it ended up lasting 12 years. I went to every– the leading endocrinologist in Dallas, I went to all kinds of natural doctors, I did everything I knew to do and nobody could figure out what was wrong with me. And I, so from 29, to 41, I felt like, I felt so abandoned. I knew He was my Father, I knew it would be like leaving the best father in the world. I couldn’t leave Him, but I didn’t understand what was going on.
And God used that. I ended up finding Him more deeply than I’ve ever known God, because of the fiery trials that I went through and because those trials actually kept me from being able to find security in the world. if I had not been depressed, and had been able to just learn how to fit right into the cool people of you know, the beautiful Christian world, whatever, I would have just been, I would have given into that, and I would have settled. And that would have been my life. But I always say that, come and join the brethren in the community of those of us who have, who the world hasn’t worked for, because you will find, you will find your God is greater than that world that you were looking for to be your all in all.
And the only way for me, and maybe it’s not for everyone, but most people that I know, the only way that I ever would ever have chosen God as my all in all and experienced Him to the degree that I have is when nothing else, when the world didn’t work for me.
So what happened then is, when I discovered –I finally discovered a doctor, he knew how to treat what was going on with me. My whole world changed. I was like, Oh my gosh, but there was one problem. And that was, our marriage was dead. Joe was hurting because I was just not able to love him. Well, he didn’t know how to love me. And, and there was just so many ways that we didn’t fit together. And it was that way for about four years. So we were living basically under the same roof with just separate lives. You know, I was always that responsible wife. I was going to have dinner, have meals for us, I was going to take care of the home, take care of our kids. Be nice to him. He was nice to me, but it was, it was just a loveless marriage and very, very little purpose. God didn’t allow Joe’s world to ever work either and so he got a demotion at work. A bad review. Our oldest son was in total rebellion. It just seemed like one after the other things in our life just did not work and were not working.
Finally, I just had come to the conclusion, I guess I’m just not one of the chosen ones. You know, I’m because I, you know, for some reason, we’re not blessed. And it just must mean that we’re just not enough and you know, sovereignty of God. We just weren’t chosen to experience real blessing until I’m in heaven with Him in eternity and I would just accept that and accept this mediocre life. And just, that was the way it was gonna be. That was pretty much the way I was seeing things at that point. We both were crying out to God for help. And in God’s amazing grace, he heard our cries.
Joe was invited to a small group of men called the Iron Man Group with an amazing pastor who was originally from Africa. Joe began to change. I began to notice this change in Joe, over the year that he was, had begun to be in that group. And what it was in, what it was, what was happening in his life was for the first time, he was hearing about the power of the Holy Spirit, actually actively working in your life. We always knew the Holy Spirit, we were sealed in the Holy Spirit, we could tell you all the theological things about the Holy Spirit. But we were taught the doctrine of cessationism and that is basically that the supernatural part of the Holy Spirit, the supernatural gifts of the Spirit had ceased when the Bible was completed, that we didn’t need those anymore, that the Word was enough. We had just no concept of a God that would, could actually supernaturally intervene in our life. We believe that could happen for other people. But it was just it was not part of and it was like, just the occasional thing. It wasn’t a daily experience. And we didn’t even believe it was supposed to be.
That began to change as Joe met in this group. And I noticed that instead of his focus being on me and constantly trying to make me happy, his focus was on God. And I felt something that was different. And again, this is that the presence of God once that Holy Spirit isn’t quenched anymore, and you actually allow Him to speak and to be activated in your life, it changes who you are. And I saw that happen in Joe. Actually, it scared me too, though.
I was like, Oh, no. What is he doing? He’s getting involved in, with these weird, this weird Christianity. And he went off to a conference on the Holy Spirit with two of his best friends. He came back from that and he said, “I’ve got this CD, and I want you to…it’s worship, it’s music. And he said that it’s different from any music that we’ve been, you know, like what we usually listen to.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?: And he goes, “I can’t explain it. I just want you to listen to it, and just see what you think.” I began to listen to this, when this song called, “Oh, King Eternal” came on, and they were singing it. I just started to weep.
And I was like, What is this?
That began the Holy Spirit opening up my spirit to say yes to Him. At that conference he also had a cassette recording of a prophecy spoken over him, which at the time, I didn’t know what to think. I was like, we don’t believe in this, you know, but I was open because I knew the way that we were living wasn’t working. And it wasn’t, it never felt right in my spirit. So this prophetic word talked about youth coming into our home. First, he described the back of our house to a tee and he, to the whole group. And he said, “Does this mean anything to anyone?” And Joe raised his hand and he said, “I think you just described the back of my house,” because he described two driveways being joined and then it was joined with the alley. Well, that’s exactly what we did with our neighbors so that we would have a half court basketball court. So Joe raised his hand, he said, “I think that’s me.” And so he said, and this is a group of I mean, I don’t know, hundreds of people. So Joe stood up and he said, “Well, all I know is I see youth coming into this home, they’re coming through the doors of this home, right and left, and they are learning a whole new understanding of Christ, and their lives are being transformed. And a whole community is going to be touched and transformed as a result of what goes on in this home. And it’s through worship. And it’s going to be through worship and through…” I can’t remember the rest of it, but it was just so powerful. And this entire thing that he prophesied happened in our home.
Joe was asked by the leader of a youth group to begin ministering to his small group because he had been so touched by what Joe was teaching him about learning what it means to walk with God as a son of God. So they met in this room. I was up there praying, wondering what was going on. And he shared with these guys about what it meant to walk as a son of God. And then he put on worship. This worship music, it was anointed by the Holy Spirit. That’s what made this music different. It was people that walked in the Spirit, wrote these words in the Spirit, and they put them, record them, there is, you feel the Spirit coming through them. And I literally watched these guys sit mesmerized at what Joe was sharing. And then when he put on the worship music, they literally were weeping and on their knees, and these are high school seniors. And from that, they began to want to grow and grow and grow.
Joe ended up taking a group of them, with another young leader, to the first The Passion Conference in Fort Worth in 1999. And it was a group of about 20 that were completely touched deeply. And they said to him, we don’t want to lose this. We want, but we’re so afraid when we go back to Lake Highlands, everybody parties, even the Christians. How do we not lose this? What do, what can, What can we do? And God had given Joe a prophetic word, a few months earlier, He said, there’s gonna, there’s going to be a time when you ask this question, Are you ready to give up the gods of Friday and Saturday night? And he, so he knew that was the time. And he said that to them, he said, “Are you ready to give up the gods of Friday and Saturday night,” and they said, “Yes.” And he said, “Then our house is open for anyone at all to come and worship God. We’ll have worship nights at our home every weekend and you can invite all your friends, and we’ll just see what God does.”
So the next week, there were 25 kids here, from 7:30 until past midnight, worshipping God, giving testimonies to what God was doing in their life. Joe would just lead with, with CDs on a CD player, we have a big nice sound system, it was just amazing to watch. And I’m watching this, after listening to that prophetic word, I’m still skeptical. And I watched this happen here. And I’m in awe and it grows and grows and grows to the point where we can’t get everyone in the house anymore and we end up moving to a church. During the time that it was here, I am sitting in that worship time and God is flooding me with inner healing and just the power of His presence to where I was actually, I felt like I had hope again, I felt like this. I now know what I’ve been wishing for, hoping for, thinking that maybe was real, that this reality of what it was like to walk with God, and have a desire to really love and serve God is my number one desire that was happening inside of me. From that point on, I was 47 years old, I began to experience this incredible transformation. The only way you can explain it is the Holy Spirit. We welcomed the Holy Spirit, His presence that would come into this house, this house every time we would worship. And then I began to experience that in my daily time with Him every morning as I would sit with Him and put that worship music on and I would just weep and write down all my my thoughts and all of my desires and all of my, and all my work now I would exalt Him, I would just really want to put Him on the throne of my heart.
And before I experienced Him like this, it was like a duty. It was like, I’m gonna do this because I know maybe someday something will change. And I, all I can say is that it’s like 1Corinthians 2, I believe it’s two, Paul says, You know, “I didn’t come to you with persuasive words of wisdom, but I came with you with the power of God. And this power comes from His Spirit. Eye has not seen nor has ear heard the amazing, the most inconceivable things that God has for those who love Him. And these are done by the power of His Spirit.” This happened to me, I began to experience this beautiful thing that God still speaks today. In First Corinthians 14 it says that the prophetic, that the gift of the prophetic is given so that we can be comforted, strengthened and encouraged. Well in my church, nobody even, you didn’t talk about that chapter or anything about that verse because we were told that the gift of the prophetic was gone, that it wasn’t active today. That is to me, Satan’s spade in the modern evangelical church, to take the power out of the church. There is nothing that has encouraged and strengthened and given me a true experience of the power of God more than the prophetic word. When someone gives you a word, like what was spoken to Joe, and you watch that happen in your home and you see – by the way, those kids ended up having this incredible revival in our community, and the entire community was transformed because of that. And many of those are in full time Christian work to this day, going to the ends of the earth. And it’s amazing, and who were we? We were nobodies, we were broken people, never have gone to seminary, just like the disciples. We were just unschooled fishermen that were just desperate.
And I just thank Him so much. And I used to always say, you know, Joe’s not a youth leader, he’s not funny, and, you know, an entertainer, you know, which is just all that we’d ever known. Nobody carried…He was just carrying the message of the beauty of God, and who He was and the power of His Spirit to change you, and taking kids into His presence. And then God, the presence of God did the rest. And that’s what’s continued to this day.
What I’ve discovered is, I had to have every idol that I was holding tightly to disappoint me, and not work for me, so that I could let go of those idols, and then begin to just worship Him.
Psalm 16:11, is actually my life verse. And it says “In His presence is fullness of joy. In His right hand, there are pleasures forevermore.” It’s such a true verse for me because when I began to experience His presence and walk in His presence, there was a fullness of joy in my life that I had never known before. So it’s, I think it’s so important to remind people that coming, walking closely with the Lord, closely with God, experiencing His power and His presence does not mean that there are no trials. But that He is with you, in those trials to give you a whole new strength and ability to walk through those and becoming more like Jesus through those.