I want to tell you my story of coming to know the inner life of God.
I was born and raised in Maine, not far from the famous Portland Head Light. Summers were spent at the lake and the ocean. Autumns were spectacular! The leaves had vibrant colors and the fall days were cooler with clear beautiful skies. Winters were beautiful, but long and cold. Springs were glorious with everything coming back to life with trees and flowers in their splendor. Nature was a wonder to me, and it seemed that God was very evident in the quiet beauty. I wondered…what was this thing called ‘life’? My heavenly Father and my earthly father were both there, but they were silent. How could I know what life was all about in silence?
My early remembrances are of my mom baking. I was one of four children and mom was always very busy. I remember holding her hand, my face close to her apron and the wonderful smells of her baking. To me, that was life, the silent beauty and the wonderful love of home. But I still didn’t know who God was! I decided that God must have written the bible. How could man, being separate from God, write about God? How could I learn who or what God was?
As life went on, I was very curious about how to find God in life. I knew Him in the silent beauty, but how could I come to know Him? Could I find out who God was through people? I couldn’t understand it and I kept searching. I learned more about the world in school, but God continued to be a mystery to me. I learned something about God in Sunday school and church, but I certainly didn’t understand about a relationship with Him! I remember shortly after I was married, crying my heart out because even though I had everything I wanted, I was empty inside. All I knew was that I ached inside. How could I fill this hole and satisfy this ache.
Life continued and in those quiet times, somehow, I knew God was there. My life was suddenly devastated when my husband and my brother were killed in a boating accident. I cried out to God, ”How could this be?” I was alone, wondering and searching. I told God He was going to have to make Himself real to me because I didn’t know Him, and He needed to take away this ache in my heart. It was in my crying out to Him that He made Himself very real to me. He told me I didn’t have to worry about my brother and my husband; they were with Him and were well taken care of.
God clearly told me that nothing, nothing happens without a reason. This comforted me and somewhat filled my ache, but I still didn’t know Him! How could I know Him?
I returned to school and graduated. I was very interested in working with people in a business setting. I found a job in a neighboring state as an expeditor/customer service rep for a manufacturing company. It was all very exciting to me as I enjoyed being busy.
I soon met a young man, Ken Stewart, who spoke about a missionary the first time I met him. The missionary’s name was Norman Grubb. Ken told me that Norman had written in one of his books that God was the only Person in the universe and that we are part of His creation. That seemed very curious and my heart leapt within me! This missionary knew God! I had to satisfy that place within me that was waiting to know Him!
I told God I would only marry a man whose heart belonged to God, and soon Ken and I were married. I was happy again, and Norman’s words to Ken had given me the hope that I could know God. I read Norman’s books…searching to know Him. We had several opportunities to hear Norman speak at conferences. Norman told us that “God is love” (1John 4:8), and our purpose is to be a vessel for Him. I knew that this was the answer – His love and life flowing through us to the world for God’s glory! (Gal. 2:20) My heart and spirit drank and I was finally satisfied that I could know Him – the Person of the silent beauty! The One I’d been searching to know all my life!
This is what life is about – an inner relationship with Him! The One who would satisfy that place in my heart! Norman had said that the Lord Jesus would come in and live my life – I am the vessel and He is the Life! What could be more simple! But, how could I make that happen? Don’t we all think we can DO something to make that happen? Surely we have control over something? But we don’t. God chose us before the foundation of the world to be His children.
As life continued we had two beautiful daughters. Getting to know how this life of faith worked was quite perplexing to me. What do you do? How do you “walk by faith?” I tried and tried, but it seemed that I was a failure at the things I thought were most important – being a mom and a wife – those important relationships – being a daughter and a friend. I felt like I wasn’t measuring up. I found out the things that I was not! This was my Romans 7 experience (Romans 7:18-23). I wanted God’s life, not this life where I seemed to fall short! I wanted everything to be perfect, including myself. I had an image of what I thought I should be…but it wasn’t God’s viewpoint. How could I be what He wanted me to be? I felt as though life was passing me by. I was there, but I wasn’t a participant. I told God, “You will have to finish my testimony” because I felt stuck!
For about a year God put me in a place where I couldn’t sense Him at all. I was numb and very depressed. I was having trouble reading and thinking. I thought I was developing Alzheimer’s disease. Then I discovered that my reaction to my gas stove was causing my symptoms of forgetfulness and confusion. I knew God was there, I just had to trust Him. This was God’s clever way to make me rest. All my trying was put to a stop…but God saw me through. I was struggling, but all the while He was teaching me to rest and let Him live the life. All I need do was trust Him! But I still wanted to know the revelation of who I was in Christ. I was holding Him up and trusting that He was going to finish my testimony. For a long time I had also asked Him to show me how to “walk by faith.” One day in Bible study, He revealed something to me in a twinkling of an eye! He told me that the period of time where I couldn’t sense Him, or anything else, was “walking by faith”! He restored me and everything He had taken away. They are now all for Him! I can sense Him living His life through me! I am part of the One