Prisoner for Christ: Testimony and experience with the Holy Spirit
In bondage to fear, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, lost identity, turning to drugs for comfort; sent to drug treatment, at an altar call during an intercessory prayer, the Holy Spirit consumed me, dropped me to my face, something pulled tears out of me, gave me vision and a glimpse of who I am, supernaturally experiencing gifts within me of love, compassion, and boldness for people and a man with long hair and a robe applauding appeared in the blacks of my eye lids.
My name is James. Words cannot describe the fear and sadness I was lost in. In complete bondage to fear, anxiety and depression, Dr's have prescribed every anti-depressant SSRI on the market since I was in my early 20's. Nothing ever worked. (I didn't know about spiritual warfare). I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety (agoraphobia: fear of people, crowds, public places, etc.) I turned to recreational drug use and became addicted to prescription medication. By the time I was in my 30's, I was afraid to leave the house. Afraid of everything, I was arrested for about the 20-30 something time (marijuana, DUI, trespass, mischief, minor misdemeanor offenses that finally led to 3 felony drug possession charges). In September 2016 I was sentenced to a 1 year drug treatment prison facility in Missouri called Ozark Correctional Center; a Gateway Foundation intense long term therapeutic community collegiate model drug treatment camp. I was 33 years old.
I desired change my entire life, I knew God had something planned for me, I knew the void I felt, the hurt and loneliness the world brought to my life as I was always a loner and afraid to put myself out there in fear that I would be hurt, or be taken advantage of. I prayed to God for help. I prayed to God for death. I wanted my life to end desperately.
Before I was sentenced to O.C.C Long Term Treatment I spent 14 months in God's Word in jail in Texas and Missouri trying to fight my charges. Along with preaching, I got a hold of a devotional faith to faith by K. Copeland and a Bible that God gave me understanding through. Rather than conform to what others were doing, I stood alone and I sought God with my whole heart. I applied the teaching in the Word to my life with genuine obedience. The Word began to take root in my Spirit and I began to grow into who God had originally created me to be; humble, but fearless. I continued to seek, I continued to be taught, I continued to be an example, I continued to encourage others, I continued to pray for people that would spit at me, and swing fists at my face. I ignored the naysayers as I walked alone as a quiet witness in places where people were afraid to walk alone. Little did I know God was about to show up...
On December 3rd 2016, in O.C.C. In Fordland Missouri, at age 33, I walked up to the Chapel where I had gotten a DOC Job. I walked into a full Chapel and sat in the back row as the band "Bert Smith and The Walk" played and "Sons of Thunder Ministries" stood by a few chairs imitating an altar. One of the Chapel Clerks sitting behind the desk walked up to me and grabbed my hand and led me to the altar. There was a visiting preacher named Josh who I had never met before. He looked at me and said, "Do you have anything you'd like to pray to God for?" I said shyly, "I don't know, he brought me up here," pointing to my friend. He said, "Well what do you want ask God?" I said, "Well, I want to make this chapel a more loving environment than it is (being a prison chapel) but I lack the courage to talk to people really." He said, "Alright James, (reading my DOC name tag) we're going to pray for boldness".
As this man and I knelt to pray, something extremely heavy knocked me down as I began to cry. I felt this tremendous weight pushing my face to the floor. As this man is praying, he touches me and begins laughing as if out of his control. As he's praying, being steadily interrupted by his own loud joy-filled laughter, I felt this intense tugging from the pits of my stomach. I felt as if I were "heaving" tears as my gut wrenched and my face felt as if something was pulling me. (I remember trying to hold back because I didn't want to cry in Prison but the tugging/wrenching continued harder and harder). This continued for maybe a full minute or so. (I also had bruises on my knees from the weight pushing me into the floor) I stood up, in tears still overwhelmed by the presence of God with "Joy" as I felt like God was laughing into my spirit. I felt his pleasure with me, it was unreal. Josh stood up, in tears. I looked at him smiling and crying and said, "Thank you, whoever you are." He says, with a smile on his face and tears falling from his eyes, "THAT'S THE POWER OF GOD MAN!" Everyone in the room was looking at me like, "whoa," smiling, and in awe as the Spirit of God was felt in the room. I stood worshiping with my hands to the sky smiling and crying, just praising God.
He then walks over to me and says, "The Holy Spirit is about to leave, you may feel a jolt." I felt this intense feeling of tears and sadness for just a second as I said "Please No." He said Don't worry James, He said I will never leave you nor forsake you, now every time you read your bible and pray He will return. The Lord is zealous with you, I want you to read Acts Chapter 2." As the service is now ending, he shakes my hand and he says "Get Ready"
As I leave the service I am filled with what I can only describe as "Joy" in the natural. This was not a feeling. This was a very strong presence. It affected everyone around me. I go to a Celebrate Recovery service in the Visiting Room of the Prison, and as I'm sitting at a small bible study table, my eyes suddenly get very heavy and I'm blinking because they kind of hurt. Suddenly, something overwhelms me and causes me to look around the room. I look into a sea of people and I see a bunch of lost children through eyes of compassion. I can't sit still at this point, I felt complete purpose. As I looked from one person to the next it was as if they had cross-hairs on them and something was drawing me from one individual to the next. (I don't speak unless spoken to, I walk around with blinders on so to speak, so this feeling is not of my own will). I then felt God's pleasure with some, and compassion and empathy for others. When someone made me laugh, I remember feeling, "God is pleased with this character, this personality, this is one of his children who creates laughter and joy for others." When someone was hurting, I could see it and feel it, and I wanted to help them.
As I head back to my living quarters, (imagine a barracks; people hanging out talking, cards, etc.) I get up on my bunk, and I remember feeling this peace unlike ever before. My mind was clear, focused, no rushing thoughts, blank, with songs of worship in my inner Spirit (and it's been like this ever since).
As I close my eyes to pray. I see a man in the blacks of my eye lids. As if a lit sparkler traced the night sky, I see a man with long hair and a robe... Applauding.
I still don't fully understand what happened to me that day, other than God revealed Himself to me, and showed me who I was and the love that was within me, and the love He has for His people. I'm just thankful to be given vision and focus, and a chance to enjoy my future. I will just continue to seek Him and walk with Him and try to do my best. I live in Houston, Texas. I got out in November 2017 and am still unemployed and I can't seem to find a job, even with an Associate Degree in Graphic Design & Animation and going back for Computer Science in May. The world is unforgiving, Jesus may be, but the world is not. Just wanted to say that things don't just get easy when you have an experience with the Holy Spirit, even as powerful as mine was, I am still struggling, being attacked by satan is a constant battle especially that he knows what's inside me. I just ask that my brothers and sisters in Christ please keep me in prayer as I pray for you as well, I don't ever want to return to drugs and go back to jail ever again.