46 years of Gratitude ~ February 1977 & beyond ~

It is amazing to me that 46 years have transpired with Jesus at the helm of my life. I am forever grateful for what He went through on Calvary just for me… (and for you as well!)

I was raised in a home with a Catholic and a Protestant. As you can see from the graphic, the two are quite different, but at the same time, not. This made life in my home interesting, to say the least. The Catholic didn’t go to church, but adhered to us being raised that way. The Protestant was your average ‘Never go but whatever the Catholic says is just fine with them.’ Life was a pulling each way while growing up in that kind of a situation. I liked both churches! I loved the grandeur of the Catholic and the down to earth roots of the Protestant. My protestant parent would make jibes about the Catholic Processions, that they titled ‘Catholic Parades’. And the Catholic parent would try to get ‘special permission’ from the priests for us to attend the Protestant church for special things that transpired on that side of the family. I tried being the perfect sacristy girl that assisted in getting the Catholic church ready for their Masses. I just never felt like I fully belonged. I loved the openness of that particular Protestant church (Church of Christ), but there too, didn’t feel like ‘Home.’

I attended Catholic grade school through 8th grade and a college prep Catholic high school. In high school there was a religion class that I took in 11th grade that went in depth into various different religions and beliefs. We had to attend a few of their services/meetings to pass the class and write a long report on our experiences.

The first I chose was EST. EST was not officially a religion but a training program meant “to transform your ability to experience living so that the situations you have been trying to change or have been putting up with clear up just in the process of life itself,” as Erhard put it. That was in the mid 1970’s. It is now known as Landmark. Erhard Seminar Training (est) is a quasi-religious therapy developed by Werner Erhard that blends a variety of religious, philosophical, and therapeutic traditions. According to est, beings begin as pure space or context and manifest themselves through content. Every being is coextensive with all existence and therefore has created everything else. This means that individuals are the creators of their own universes and that everything that exists arises from the self. Est also asserts that individuals ultimately choose the conditions of their existence and therefore are responsible for them. TO ME this took my God out of the situation and I was not having that for even a second more!!

Next was Silva Mind Control, now known as the Silva Method. The Silva Method is a self-help and meditation program developed by José Silva. The technique aims to reach and sustain a state of mental functioning, called alpha state, where brainwave frequency is seven to fourteen Hz. Daydreaming and the transition to sleeping are alpha states. Silva claimed to have developed a program that trained people to enter certain brain states of enhanced awareness. He also claimed to have developed several systematic mental processes to use while in these states allowing a person to mentally project with a specific intent. According to Silva, once the mind is projected, a person can allegedly view distant objects or locations and connect with higher intelligence for guidance. The information received by the projected mind is then said to be perceived as thoughts, images, feelings, smells, taste and sound by the mind. The information obtained in this manner can be acted upon to solve problems. The Catholic parent wanted to go with me to this and we went to several of the weekend courses and met weekly with them for free, and that was an oddity for certain because they were all about the almighty dollar. We had learned all sorts of things like, psychic healing, mind reading, special languages, mental telepathy. All of the things that were counterfeit to what the Bible, and my God has but I did not understand it at the time. Then the dude actually started bashing God and belittling those of us who had any faith in a higher being. And that is when we figured out that we were not serving the same God. We left and shook the dust from our sandals and left, never to return!

In my heart I was searching for something more to make sense of this world and the things going on and and what we all were going through. In 1976 I graduated in 11th grade from a Catholic all-girls prep academy, and at night I had also finished up my Managing Cosmetology Licensing (Dad always said that this way I would always have something to fall back on if needed) and began attending Cleveland State University. On my weekends I worked at Art’s Parkway Market, unloading trucks, selling fresh produce and cheeses and learned so much from Art’s wife on plants and flowers. Yet, I was still in that searching mode for something that was real to believe in. In my life, people, family and friends seemed to let me down. I couldn’t trust them. The Church as I knew it, wasn’t teaching me what I needed, nor were the priests helpful when I had deep questions about beliefs and the whys and how’s of operations. In fact, I was told by the monsignor that I should NOT read the bible because it would just confuse me and that I wouldn’t understand it anyway. I argued with him that I was not confused, that I was fully literate, and asked pointed questions which just irritated him and he told me if I didn’t like it to leave. Leave the Catholic church and never come back.

A different Catholic church near to me was having a Charismatic Renewal. It sounded interesting and I snuck in the back. (Why did I sneak? I was told to never come back, and even received a letter stating that I was no longer a Catholic, so I wasn’t quite sure if I’d be hit with a lightening bolt yet.) The charismatic movement was across historic Christian churches, Catholic and Protestant alike. The Renewal has been described as a “current of grace”. It began in 1967 when Catholics from Duquesne University attended a Protestant worship service and claimed to have been “baptized in the Holy Spirit”. It is heavily influenced by American Protestantism, especially Pentecostalism, with an emphasis on having a “personal relationship with Jesus”, deep emotional experiences, and expressing the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”.

I met some people there that unabashedly worshiped God. In my mind, it must have been like King David did before the Ark of the Lord when it was brought into the City of David. You can read 2 Samuel 6:14-22 for more on that. The worship that I experienced was not only outward, but inward. It was holy. It was honoring. It was reverent. It was personal. It was authentic. The teachings were straight out of the bible and explained line by line, and we were challenged to study on our own. The first bible that I bought was a Thompson Chain Reference. It had a glossary in the back and maps and all kinds of things that I intrinsically needed to know. I studied hard too.

Then I was invited by some of the people there to a home fellowship bible study on the opposite end of Cleveland. They met once a week in a huge mansion. After a few weeks of attendance, Catholic parent came along with me to see, ‘what I was getting into this time. ‘ Both parents had seen a definite change in me for the better. I was calm and not out dancing at the clubs all the time in the evenings. I had even bought myself a guitar and taught myself how to play and was putting Bible verses to song and melody.

This eastside mansion was called Freedom House Ministries. Their bible studies opened up with that wonderful praise and worship, then a bible teaching, and their emphasis was on the occult and deliverance. Well, I knew lots of the occult already, come to find out. For a few meetings I was certain they were reading my mind and activities for my past few years, but that was impossible because they didn’t believe in clairvoyance, and they already had a book to follow along with and small pamphlets or tracts to take home. At these meetings, I began to see with my own eyes the REAL giftings of the God, not the counterfeits that I knew previously. I looked at Catholic parent and we both agreed that this was the real deal!! The next week I went up for prayer from the elders after the bible study was over. They asked what kind of prayer I wanted. I told them that I had been following along and reading and studying these past few weeks and I wanted it all! I wanted Jesus in my life in a personal way, I wanted to be delivered and forgiven for all of the occult I had been dabbling in for a few years, and I wanted the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The leader said, ‘Well, Christine, that is a lot for one night.” I said, ‘You serve a Huge God, and I am certain that He can and will do that for me. He is either Real or Not! He is either Truth or He is a Lie.’ Mr. Carlton rolled up his sleeves and said, ‘Ok.. Let’s get with it!’ Guess what…. God did it. That is the night, 46 years ago that I dedicated my life to Jesus and was set free from occult and was baptized in the the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. One of my first prayers was that all of my entire family would come to accept Jesus. I wished that I had generations behind me praying for me over the years, and there may have been. (Fast forward, and with delving into Ancestry.com, I have MANY prayer warriors in past generations!)

Catholic parent did the same a few weeks later. Then several months later, Protestant parent rededicated their life. Then brother hopped on board! Our whole little family was now serving Christ Jesus. Soon after, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, niece, and then my Sicilian Great Grandmother turned their life to Jesus. That’s a full 5 generations alive and living for Christ by that time. God had granted my desire to have generations behind me serving God.

I have had so many stories and anchors of hope along the way. Some wrong paths that I chose, then repented from and moved on too. One thing that has always been truth… God is Faithful and Just. And He loves me. And He loves you too.

Prayer Time

Thank you Father God for never giving up on me. You are Faithful. You are Just. And I know that you love me no matter what. I am thoroughly convinced of this in the mighty name of your son, my saviour, Jesus.

Signed, Christine
A Muse of the Remnant