This past Saturday, I attended the Signs and Wonders Conference for the first time. Honestly, I am still trying to comprehend all that happened that day but I suppose some things are meant to remain a mystery. As some of you might know, I recently went on a mission’s trip to Kolkata, India. It was an incredible experience and I returned feeling very rejuvenated in my prayer life. After about a week of feeling very close to the Lord, I went into a period of spiritual dryness. I felt very isolated from the Lord and many of my past insecurities and fears were constantly haunting me. As silly as it may sound, I felt as if the Lord wasn’t hearing my prayers. Unfortunately, instead of praying more frequently and more fervently, I lost all motivation to pray and started going whole days without conversing with the Lord. My prayer became a plea that I would want to be holy and choose Him over the world and myself, but I felt like I wasn’t being honest in my prayer because I wasn’t making any concrete efforts to change.
Thank you God for this conference!
By the first talk, I realized that the devil had been spiritually attacking me since the moment I returned to the states. And that up until Saturday, he (the devil) had be pretty successfully undoing all the good work the Lord had done in my soul in Kolkata.
While the whole day was incredible, there was one part of the talk that really resonated with me. The speaker, Damian Stayne, spoke about the Holy Spirit and how Christians often try to put him on a “leash”, so to speak. We may ask for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and to use us for God’s mission, but then we give him conditions. Primarily, “as long as you don’t make me look foolish” or “as long as I don’t have to give up (fill in the blank)”. I had always wanted to give the Holy Spirit the reigns but it was always on my terms. After listening to this talk, I went into the time of praise with a new openness to the Holy Spirit.
I’m not sure how to even describe all that happened during that time but I will share part of it with whomever is reading this. During the first song I was re-surrendering my life to the Lord and praising his holy name when all of sudden I felt a weight on my shoulders that was so heavy that it literally brought me to my knees. As I am writing this, I am reminded of the scripture verse from Romans 14:11. “For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.'” During this moment of kneeling before Him, I thanked God for that moment and for revealing himself to me again after feeling so separated from him the past month and a half.
During the praise time, one of the members of the prayer team (not sure who since I had my eyes closed) started praying for me, repeatedly asking the Lord for more joy and laughter. While he was still praying over me, I became so convicted of the Lord’s amazing love for us that I felt like my heart was going to burst with joy and then just as quickly as that feeling came, my heart suddenly broke with the realization that I and so many others repeatedly reject the Lord’s love or are even completely unaware of it. I was so heart broken that I started sobbing uncontrollably. I can’t imagine what the person praying over me must have been thinking but he kept praying for joy and laughter and The Spirit answered his prayer. For the first time in my life I received the gift of laughter. Before I knew it, I, along with a few others, were standing in the front facing everyone dying laughing to the point where I was crying and my sides ached. I was laughing so hard that I was soon gasping for air but I couldn’t stop. I know I must have looked absolutely ridiculous but I didn’t care because I had never been so happy in my entire life.
Everything about this day was amazing. Mass was beautiful, both talks inspired and challenged me to grow, I received absolution in confession while facing Jesus in the Eucharist, and I witnessed over a hundred people healed by the power of the Holy Spirit from various afflictions and illnesses.
I am so grateful to the Lord for deepening my faith that day and giving me the grace to surrender to him in a deeper way. And I pray that the Lord will continue to transform me. For “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). All Glory and Praise to our God!