Thursday, April 09, 2009
One day I was standing in my kitchen thinking: " Something has got to change. I am 45 and I don't want to live the rest of my life like this - I refuse - but I don't know what to do!" I had tried everything to get rid of the depression I had suffered from all my life - prayer, medicine, counseling with a Psychologist, hormones. It almost crippled me at times but people would not have any idea, since I tried very hard not to show it much in my everyday life. If I at least felt that church gave me something - but no ! I was tired of going to church. We had traveled in ministry sometimes in the most Charismatic circles but I remained untouched. I did not understand why people would fall on the floor. I did not understand the idea of Worship - to me it was not a very good idea to stand up for such a long time and sing to the point of fainting. In addition, my toes hurt in high heels. I felt I had "done that, seen that"! I thought there was nothing more for me to experience. I came from a Pentecostal background and I would try to maintain what I had for the rest of my life - the best I could.
Then I heard about an evangelist coming to town. His name was Rodney Howard-Browne. I refused to go when my friend invited me. I knew all too well what evangelists were all about! But she was persistent. And I finally went to a morning service. Something immediately struck a chord in me. The atmosphere reminded me of my home church where I grew up in Sweden! So I decided to go back one evening.
The evening service was the most unusual I had ever experienced ! People were falling out of their seats, laughing uncontrollably! Some were crying loud, some could not stand up, staggering when they tried to walk. The pastor of the church was sprawled out on the floor. He didn't move and I thought he had fainted or was sick and nobody cared, which upset me ! I sat there thinking that this must be what the Bible calls "familiar spirits" - maybe New Age? But when hundreds of people came forward for salvation at the end I got really confused! Still, I made a decision not to go back. Better to be safe than sorry.
That same evening I opened my Bible before I went to bed. My eyes fell immediately on Ezekiel 2:8: "But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I will give you." I was "cut to the heart" and knew it was the Lord speaking to me. I decided to go back.
But before I made it back to church, I was cleaning my guest room one evening. I began with the shower, very lightly dressed ! I turned on the radio so I could listen to the service from Carpenter's Home Church. The Worship music came through the speakers and all of a sudden I heard you say: " If you don't open up, the blessing will pass you by!" I stopped for a moment and remembered Ez. 2:8 and thought:
" How simple but how true! This is my chance, my window of opportunity for a change!" I made a decision right there and then to open my mouth and join the worship. Whether I felt like it or not. I did not want to miss out on anything!
A little later I had finished cleaning the entire guest room. I had the dust cloth in my left hand. I all of a sudden felt I had to sit down on the bed. Not that I was very tired but I had to sit! Sitting down, I felt I had to lie down. A very strange feeling ! The very moment I laid down, a cloud of warmth lowered itself over me on the bed. I was engulfed by a power I had not felt before, in spite of all my years in Pentecost! I began to cry.............and cry...........and cry.
When I was on that bed, now a little better dressed, I began to remember scenes from my childhood and cried very hard over each one of them. My father died when I was 10, he was only 55 and he had a heart attack on a train in Denmark on his way home from Germany. He had accompanied our pastor and also preached with him down there. Now he came home in a coffin. There were so many unfortunate things and terrible memories I had in connection with my father's death and the way my mother handled it, although she did her best and I don't blame her. But in addition to all the shocks I had when dad died, she unknowingly was handling her sorrow in a way that I later understood put some very deep scars in me as a little girl. In addition to that, all the grownups totally sort of "forgot" about me, never really talked TO me but they talked ABOUT me. Being the youngest, a girl, with brothers who were 11 and 14 years older than me, had made me the apple of my father's eye. I can say I have missed him all my life. ( I have heard others say the same, including our king of Sweden who's father died when he was 6 months) If this was the root of my depression I don't know. But in any case, God had me "on the sofa"! After all of that was done, the cloud became stronger and much more powerful. My heart was beating very hard and I felt like I was an inch from going over into heaven. I felt I had a choice. I chose to stay and I said to the Lord: " Please let me stay with my children. ( I didn't mention my husband Eric :) !) And I think I may have something more I can do for you!" The power decreased and that's when I remembered to get my son Adam his antibiotic around midnight for a minor surgery and I staggered through the house - like a drunk and just like those "crazy" people I had watched in church! I had spent 2 1/2 hours on the bed. And I still had the dust cloth in a good grip in my hand!
Trying to wake up a teenager at midnight and ask him to take the dog out after taking his medication proved to be an impossible task. I staggered back to the end of the sofa in our family room and sat down across from our little Dwarf Dachshund. He had also been in surgery the day before and was confined to a cage. Then I felt something bubble up from the pit of my stomach. Just like when I got the tongues as evidence of my Baptism in the Holy Spirit. And I burst out in laughter - loud and without stopping. The dust cloth was still in my hand. I laughed, and laughed...........The dog began to bark and jump and had the best time! The more I laughed, the more he wagged his tail and barked and jumped! I could not stop! I was screaming with laughter! Adam came out of his room and said to his dad who had just arrived home from a business trip: " It's impossible to sleep here! Look at her - first she cries for hours and now this!" I had not noticed that he had peeked through the door when I was on the bed. He looked bewildered and probably thought his mom had lost it all together!
My big kitchen was full of dishes and I tackled that job laughing and after pulling the dust cloth out of my hand. I fell asleep laughing that night.
The next day I wondered WHY this happened to me? Why did God look me up in the shower. I wasn't dressed for church - not even for a prayer meeting! What about those hours on the bed? WHY ME of all people on earth? It happened like lightening from a clear blue sky! I felt the "close to heaven experience" had taken away the horrible fear of death I had lived with all my life. Not what was coming after death - I knew where I was going - but the very moment of death. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night and a horrible fear gripped me. How was I going to die? When? Soon? I had been suffering from heart arythmia for some time. Maybe this was the Lord's way of preparing me of my home going? Maybe my family would find me on the floor in the kitchen one day soon - killed by a heart attack? I figured that was it. So I thought I'd better gather the family and tell them about my possible journey to heaven soon. But after thinking about it, I figured they would just say I was too morbid. Instead I decided to write one letter each to my three children, Andrea, Alexander and Adam, with instructions on how to live their lives..........stay close to Jesus.....mommy loves you etc. (Still not thinking about Eric ). I would place them in my night stand drawer with my jewelry. Andrea would surely find the letters when she looked for my things after I was gone and I trusted her to distribute them. I had it all planned!
But several weeks went by and I didn't feel worse - instead and to my astonishment I felt so much better! And I was laughing - practically all the time and at everything!
Then there was another day of cleaning the house. My back ached, so I decided I would stretch out on the floor in the guest room again while listening to the service on the radio. I had barely reached the floor before the Holy Ghost came into that room again. I began to cry and cry.......this time over Sweden ! We were planning a tour the following summer. And God told me: " Testify about what I have done in your life. Testify! Testify!" I tried to get up from the floor several times, but I hit an invisible wall and I felt the Lord say to me: "I am not through with you yet!" 2 1/2 hours again - just crying over my home country.
After that I had the Publix experience.............trying to make it home from the store before the laughter hit me, which I felt was bubbling up............only to end up 2 1/2 hours laughing on the sofa in the house two doors down from us! I had slumped over the wheel in my car. A neighbor, who first thought I was having a heart attack, came running out, took me by the arm and asked me to straighten up so the neighbors wouldn't think I was drunk!
In addition to this, I sat in church late one evening after you had prayed over hundreds including me. I had a vision. We had said to each other earlier that we would not go to Stockholm this time. For different reasons we were tired of dealing with them, basically. Now I saw the map of Sweden. A mass spread first from one point up north. Then from one point in the middle of the country in the Örebro area. The masses spread to Stockholm and became very thick there. Finally I saw pastor Owe Lindeskär's portrait in an oval frame. I snapped out of it, turned to Eric and said: "We are supposed to go to Stockholm too!" As it turned out, it was our tour I had seen on the map. I didn't know it then, since we had someone else arranging the tour for us. We began up north and down towards Stockholm. Then we went to the Örebro area, ending up in Stockholm - the exact places I had seen. We sang, the whole family was with us. I testified and we told them about our upcoming meetings in Stockholm with you. The response was awesome. The masses I had seen were all the people who came!
Record crowds in the middle of the summer! And then we know the rest.............
We later were attacked beyond what the Church in our country had ever seen.
When we were in the middle of our crisis, I sat in the same kitchen one day. And I thought about my testimony and what I had said publicly. I could honestly say that the devil had managed to rob me of my testimony, piece by piece. Except one: I still had no sign of depression ! That was the only thing left but of course the most important one. I had been sad, angry, hurt to the point of physically going around with pain in the pit of my stomach which was a "spiritual pain" though. At some point we felt like we literally had been stabbed. Over and over again. And this by our own brethren. And for Eric, not only by his ungodly younger brother and sister-in-law who were some of the key persons in this plot, but also by what he thought was his best friend. Pastor Owe Carlsson and another friend of ours were the ONLY ones calling us from over there. It was as if we had died. They had zoomed in on Eric. If they could take him out, they would get rid of me and my testimony too. I guess it would have been too tacky to attack me directly. Our church in Stockholm had officially taken a stand against this move. They didn't want it! And others followed, even if others joined too. 50/50! So when I sat there by the kitchen table, I felt it coming. In the pit of my stomach. But then I said, very loud:" Go! In the name of Jesus leave me alone! Depression go!" And it left. Not to come back.
My doctor in Tampa was also a dear friend and a Christian in a mainline church. Not Charismatic but wanting the Baptism really bad. He had diagnosed me earlier with depression. He called me when he had heard what happened. He almost screamed on the phone:
" Congratulations Anette!! I heard what happened!" And his son who had the practice together with him said: " God can certainly do what man can not!"
My piano playing changed too. The Holy Spirit set me free in a lot of other areas where I before had been bound. I became much bolder and fear of man disappeared. My spiritual life has certainly improved. I am alive!!
I can hear your words echoing over and over in the meetings: " Never the same! Never the same!"