The Question . . . and THE ANSWER
I never knew how one question could so totally change my life. In 1980 as I sat in the lecture at the end of my fourth year of Bible Study Fellowship I cried out in complete desperation to God, “I don’t even know if I have salvation or not, but if this isn’t it, You are going to have to show me what is!” The study that year was The Travels of Paul and for a couple of weeks “true salvation” had been mentioned. I pondered that if there is “true salvation” then there must be “false salvation” because I felt like a total failure as a Christian. No matter what or how much I did…in my mind, it was never enough!
I was raised in the Catholic faith in a wonderful home with kind and loving parents. I married at 17 and we had our beautiful daughter, Kim, that year. But my life began to take a downturn and I suffered bouts of depression and almost overwhelming emptiness. Little did I know this was the Holy Spirit’s way of preparing me to receive Him.
In 1972 my younger brother, Joe, who had recently been married and was finishing Law School at the University of Texas, found he had cancer. I had no resources in me to do anything but weep in fear. He began chemotherapy treatment at MD Anderson. A year later the cancer hit his brain. In addition to more chemo, he began radiation, which caused a stroke. We were called to his deathbed where he lay in a coma for six days. On the seventh day, Sunday, he awoke, paralyzed down his right side, and scribbled with his left hand, “I want to eat.” His doctors said since he had nothing by mouth for six days that he could not hold food on his stomach, but they would fulfill a dying man’s request. Joe ate and retained two full hospital meals that day, and I knew that the God I had heard about as a child in the lives of the saints who lived 500 years ago but until His touch with Joe, was hidden to me.
We had gotten word on Saturday that a Catholic Charismatic group in Arlington had prayed for him on Friday night and had felt God would answer their prayers about Joe in some way. We had never heard of charismatic before so it had little meaning to us until Sunday’s miracle. I went home a few days later knowing I had to find this God Who raised Joe from his deathbed.
I went to their prayer meeting the following Friday and was deeply impacted by the love and beauty of worship I experienced. However, I spent the next five months running from God because I was afraid of becoming some weird Christian. However, He knew just how to reach me, and my “YES” to Him came in a quite humorous way. Two popular things combined to ‘catch’ me. Peggy Lee had a song out at the time called Is This All There Is? It was truly a song about my life! Funnily, there was also a Miller beer commercial saying to “Grab all the gusto” which to me meant to grab God…but I was unsure if I was truly ready for this giant leap into Him! On my 30th birthday, I spent all day weeping in misery about my life. I knew if I had a million times more of everything that it would produce the same emptiness! The poet Frances Thompson’s Hound of Heaven had me fully pressed against the wall. At thirty years of age in my despair, the Holy Spirit had finally ‘wrestled me to the ground’ and I came to know the Lord through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Christ Jesus had finally ‘found’ me!
Immediately, I turned away from all of my involvements and began to pursue Christ Jesus as passionately as I had women’s clubs, social activities, tennis, and my interior design business. I began to attend church at a non-denominational Charismatic church whose focus was inner healing (healing of our past) and deliverance (fighting the devil). God taught me well for six years in that ministry, a prayer group, bible studies, and any other place I could find Christians coming together to learn more of God. For six years I was ‘tap dancing for God’ in triple time!
It was a wonderful time in many ways. I found in inner healing that I could look at myself and talk about the things that I was not proud of that my life had contained. I found new freedom in being delivered from the clutches of the devil in many areas of my life. I pushed myself in every direction to excel in this Christian life. And yet on that day in 1980, I felt like such a failure as a Christian that I cried out to God in despair. I even surprised myself!
Nothing happened immediately and one day turned into the next until about six weeks later when God brought four scriptures to me that I had read a thousand times. My friend, business partner and fellow Charismatic, Pat Godfrey, had been to a Malcolm Smith conference on the East Coast. She picked up a set of tapes called Three Steps to Life and listened to them on the way home. She called that night and said nothing but, “Hello” and I responded asking, “What has happened to you?!?” Her voice was so completely different just in her “Hello”! She said the Spirit had made three scriptures revelation to her, but they wouldn’t mean anything to me. I had no idea what ‘revelation’ meant, but I persisted and she simply recited the scriptures with no explanation. In a split second I “knew” each one of them in a way I had never before experienced…revelation!
The scriptures were Romans 6:6… “knowing this that our old self was crucified with Him that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”, 6:4…“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life”; Ephesians 2:6…”and raised us up with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” and Psalms 37:4…“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”.
In an instant I knew I was dead and a dead man did not need healing. ALL my need for inner healing went “out the window”. Then in the next instant I knew that I sat at the right hand of the Father in Christ and that Satan was not there! The need for deliverance or to ever fear or fight the devil again was gone! And finally, I knew that if God gave me the desires of my heart I could trust myself and my desires for the first time in my life for my desires were His! We had always been taught that our hearts were wicked and God’s way was surely the opposite of anything I wanted. The ministry that had nourished me until then was like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. That day brought complete healing to me!
I knew without a doubt that all I had known and believed was no longer true for me. For the first time in my life I was FREE from the law! No more ‘should’ or ‘ought’ in my life! These two words became huge red flags to me as the Holy Spirit trained me in His new and living way. I barely knew what was, but I did know what was not! I didn’t know what lay ahead, but I knew I could never go back. My head spun as I realized that God had a totally different way of seeing things than what most of Christianity taught…and what I had been taught my entire life no longer held any reality. I also knew that these truths had to span from Genesis 1:1 through the end of Revelation. It was as radical as Paul’s Damascus Road encounter…from religion to an entirely new and free life in Christ!
The next morning I asked God how He saw submission and immediately in His still small voice said to me, “It is being, not doing.” Somehow I knew that all of life was meant to be that…being, not doing. All of life – BEING, not doing! Prayer popped into my mind and I realized that being prayer 24/7 was the fulfillment of His command…“Pray without ceasing.” Because of His life within me we were in constant oneness, communion and constant prayer! For the first time I knew true worship…not in my former way of singing and lifting my hands, but in TOTAL AWE at my being made One with the Creator of the universe. To “Worship in Spirit and truth” became my reality…because of Who God was, Who I was and Who we were in the oneness/unity of John 17!
I tried for a year to find a church that understood and taught the truths that God had revealed to me. In each place I went, I had some bizarre experience and would say, “OK, Lord, not here” until I had no place else to look. I settled into the new realm of the Holy Spirit being my teacher. In not being in church I discovered many others who no longer went to church for various reasons, and I began to understand that it was these believers God had for me with whom to share what He had given me. It was then that I discovered a magazine called Union Life whose articles seemed to be on par with what I had seen and was being taught. I decided to go to a weeklong conference for women in Wisconsin they were having in July.
I was a little leery due to my experiences during the prior year trying to find a church. The main speaker was a man named Norman Grubb. As the week progressed I discovered that everything he taught confirmed…a second witness…what God had given me! And along with those basic truths he presented from his years of walking FREE…in/as Christ…came an expanded understanding of God, myself…spirit, soul, and body (my personhood) and how they perfectly fit together. He spoke of God, and Christ as our life, in three broad strokes…God being the only Person in the universe and all life being derivatives of that One; of us being perfectly created in our humanity as containers of His life; and that our lives are an intercession for others. I knew, like Paul, “For me to live is Christ; to die is gain”.
As we were driving away from the Union Life retreat center at the end of the week I made the statement that I would love to get in a car and travel with Norman in order to hear his stories. Little did I know that it was the Lord’s ‘plan’ that in three years I would be doing exactly that. I drove him across the USA where had he accepted invitations to speak at churches and in homes. It did not matter to him if there were hundreds to hear him or only one or two. I met Norman he was 85, and over the next thirteen years of his life we developed a deep friendship. He was a guest in my home many times, and I was in his. We exchanged over one hundred letters about all sorts of topics from faith adventures to the goings-on in our body of ‘knowers’. Each encounter with him was a time of learning and being further settled in my identity in Christ.
Through these next few years, along with Norman’s always encouraging letters, the Holy Spirit had several more things to settle in me. Getting my soul (feelings, emotions) in its proper perspective was God’s next new understanding for me. This began one day with feelings of extreme jealousy toward a very close friend. Up to that day, I saw my emotions as ‘some right and some wrong’. That day I spoke out against my feelings with all I knew to say… “I am not jealous of her; I am Christ in my form.” (Christ would never be jealous and feel like this!) The Lord immediately said to me… “You are not jealous of her, you are jealous for her; it is My jealousy in you for her to know Me as you do.”
I reeled at the thought that something that felt so ugly could be so right…that it possibly could be the Life of God in me! I began to search the Scriptures for further understanding and saw that God says He is a jealous God; He says He hates; He expresses anger, and admonishes us to “Be angry and sin not”. He is also all of the fruits of the Spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, etc. I realized that everything HE is in scripture He will be in and as us! It was a new life for me to know that everything about me was HE!
God soon began in me another test and completion of my necessary Spirit-education. This came about as the result of a harrowing two years of conflict in building a house. My personality was one of non-confrontation…always sweet and nice. In order to accomplish building our home, I was constantly forced to have an opinion and confront issues as they arose. Instead of being my happiest time in doing what I’d always wanted to do, it was two years of hell. Just before we were to move in Dan Stone stopped on his way home from a conference in Colorado to spend a night. When I opened the door I burst out crying. He just smiled and asked, “What has the Lord been saying to you?” It was then that I recalled a phrase that wafted through my mind in the past week…whole, complete, and needing nothing. I repeated it and he said, “That’s God’s word to you.”
A few days later, as I was packing to leave for our annual spiritual family reunion in Louisville, and pondering these two years of insanity I asked the Lord what they had all been about. Immediately I began to weep so deeply that I did not know if I would survive. Then as quickly as it came it was finished and I resumed packing. A couple of days later sitting and waiting for our meeting to begin I heard the Spirit say as clearly as I have ever heard anything, “You are whole, complete and needing nothing. No one can add to you by their approval, nor take away from you by their disapproval. You have seen who you are in Christ; now you will see who I am as you.”
By that time I had known Christ as my life for several years – who I was in Christ – but I confessed that I had no idea what He meant by “now you’ll see Who I am as you.” I was confused because it seemed one and the same, but I knew He meant something different…something more. As the years passed I have come to realize it is the Holy Spirit who is living HIS life as me. Jesus Christ said He must go away, but He would send The Comforter, who would lead us into all truth. “The life I now live in the flesh” looks like me…sounds like me, but in reality, it is the Holy Spirit as me and as every single believer!
It was in this full settling that I fully accepted my “fearfully and wonderfully made” humanity…and in doing so for the first time in my life I no longer denied the Holy Spirit. I no longer judged myself and my actions and reactions – all that my soul expresses – from a right/wrong, good/bad perspective. I now know His life in me is all there is! No mistakes; no sin. I saw that the reason denying the Holy Spirit is the “unforgivable sin” is because asking forgiveness would not address my problem of denying Him in my soul’s actions and reactions. Only faith will – faith in the complete truth of Christ’s finished work on the Cross – faith in the complete truth of my new birth. Faith says…Here You are in every single aspect of me!
Dead…safe…whole…free…one…new…kept…sinless…holy…saint…as He is…………have become my permanent reality. I understand the scriptures in a new way, no longer as something to attain or do, but as the present truth and reality for myself and for every believer in Christ Jesus.
Dead…Romans 6:6 “Knowing this that our old self is crucified, that the body of sin might be done away with…”
Safe… Jude 1:24… “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling.”
Whole…James 1:2-4… “…that you may be whole, complete and needing nothing.”
One…John 17:22… “…that they may be one even as we are one.”
Sinless… I John 3:9… “Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God.” And I John 5:18 “We know that whoever is born of God sinneth not…” Romans 6:7 “For he who is dead is freed from sin.”
New…II Cor 5:17…“If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things are passed away; behold all things become new.”
Free…John 8:32, 36… “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free…if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
All along these years of the Holy Spirit settling me into the complete gospel of Christ Jesus Norman was always there encouraging me along the way. His letters were many times a lifeline in my present growth. My memories are many but some of my most precious are of the last three years of his life. Norman’s beloved Granddaughter, Sandy, who gave up her life in order to enable him to travel the last 14 years he was able, was diagnosed with cancer in 1989. Life for him became difficult on many levels. Sandy was dying and Norman was bedridden. I began to visit them every couple of months and towards the end of Sandy’s life every few weeks. After her death, I continued to see Norman every few months and kept in touch weekly by mail. These were times of deep heart-sharing with him, which I will always remember.
All around his home were many stacks of letters. In seeing them the Spirit quickened to me to do a book of his letters. What I thought would be one book of letters became three and then five other books of his writings and transcriptions of his audio tapes have followed. In reviewing each one to be published he continued teaching me and for many generations to come his writings will be available for seekers. Knowing Norman Grubb has truly been an adventure of faith! Galatians 2:20…the scripture which God used to change Norman’s life has become mine also!
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”…”