- Posted January 15, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Women: Share your stories of change
Take Your Destiny
I'm a pessimist by nature. I have always seen the glass completely empty, not a drop of water at the bottom of my glass! I was a see-it-to-believe-it type of person, as most people are. My great-grandparents on my mother’s side came from Galitzia/Czechoslovakia. I grew up in a very small town in Pennsylvania, was raised in the Russian Orthodox faith, and attended church every Sunday because my parents told me I had to. I didn’t understand a word that was said, either in Russian or in English, and I believed that God was Who you met in Heaven when you died. Hell was never preached in my home so I wasn’t too concerned about that location. I didn’t even know who Jesus was, let alone that there was a Holy Spirit. I remember the names being sung in the church songs but that was about it. To sum it up, I was very religiously/spiritually ignorant of everything. I was not introduced to any other religions, beliefs, practices, etc., other than the Russian Orthodox faith.
I lived a very simple, uneventful life growing up. I was a type A personality and thought I had to be perfect in every way. I had to get good grades, I had to dress a certain way, keep my opinions to myself so no one else in the town would talk about the family, basically mind my P's and Q's and do as I was told. I held a lot in growing up, not able to be free to think differently or speak my mind as I thought I should. I kept it all in. I had to "fit in". Like a good girl, I went to church camp at the Monastery every summer, then became a camp counselor when I was in my older teen years and still had no clue what in the world the religion I was a part of represented or consisted of, except the rituals. I knew that women NEVER went behind the altar (I didn’t know why, I was just told women were never to be back there), you had to do the sign of the cross before you kissed an icon or the cross the priest held and several times after they sang certain words in certain songs. We did have the holy feasts and my mother and grandmother acted like (and still do) that God will strike them dead if they don’t have certain foods made a certain way for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Easter. I must admit though that the Christmas Eve dinner my grandmother makes is my favorite and I personally don’t care that it is ritualistically done, it’s GOOD food :) We only have it once a year and you can be sure…I’m there! So in a nutshell, I went to church, sang songs, listened to a priest say things, stood, sat, knelt down based upon someone’s rules that you had to do this all at certain times during the services, ate food that was to mean something, and I still didn’t know that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit were real. Actually, I didn’t know they had anything to do with what I was doing.
Upon graduating high school, I went to college and enrolled in their Sports Medicine program. I had no aspirations to do this, I wanted to be a cosmetologist and move to either New York or California and do the hair and make-up for the actors/actresses. That was nixed by my parents who refused to pay a cent for me to be a makeover queen. They told me there was no money in doing hair and my dreams were just that, dreams. I was only going to get financial assistance if I went to college for Sports Medicine. So I did. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents dearly, this is just to show that whatever may have happened or is happening in your life that seems to be blocking you from your desire, they are road markers along the highway to your destiny.
In 1999, I began the process of my second divorce, which is what began the onset of what I would call the beginning of my destiny. It seems I was put in every situation and experienced every emotion a person could have at this time to the extreme and didn't know until later years it was so I could help people. The divorce process itself was not what made me want to kill myself, it was the disbelief, shock, sense of no purpose and no future for me that did. I had been gutted, feeling that there was no hope. I felt that all of what I was to live for, who I was, my identity, had been taken from me. One evening in the initial phase of the separation, I found myself lying on the floor in the fetal position ready to just end it all. My oldest son was at my parents' home and my youngest was with his father and my thoughts were in the pit of Hell basically. I couldn't "feel" anything really, I was numb. It seemed as if I was in anguish to the point of no return yet didn't feel anything, if that makes any sense. Sort of like the "walking dead." I knew that I didn't want to go on. I remember so clearly that I heard myself cry out loud, "God help me." The next sequence of events that happened that night I could not explain then, but I could years later. I had the phone on the floor next to me (not sure how it got there). I dialed a number and the person that answered on the other end was from the local hospital emergency hotline (I didn't have a phone book nor did I know the number). I remember saying to the woman through my sobs how I was feeling, what was occurring in my life, and that I didn't want to go on. I remember clearly that all she did was say, "Let's pray". I can't remember a single word she said to me, but I know when I hung up, I had a peace that I didn't have before.
I remember then sitting on the floor "zoning" basically and all of a sudden I felt a "presence" in my room. That is the only way I can describe it, the feeling that there was someone else in the room with me. I was overcome with a calm feeling and, still in the "zombie like" state, I went to sleep. From that moment on, what I would term as "supernatural", things began to happen in my life. I was still like the "walking dead", unable to focus on anything for longer than one minute, I could not read anything and comprehend it, by brain was in a frozen zone. I was working at a law firm as a Legal Assistant at that time (the same one I am working at now as of this writing actually) and I know now that it was by the grace of God I kept the job. I literally could not think. I remember telling my boss "Please check my work as I cannot think straight." They were so good to me there through that time. I can't express enough of my thankfulness for the wonderful people who were understanding and supportive of me during that process.
It was during this numb state of existence when I heard "the Voice." I was in my bedroom one evening and I heard out of the blue a voice say "Let go". That was it, just "Let go." Now having a degree in Psychology, I thought I was heading for a room with padded walls. Every day, I would hear this "Voice" say things to me. Comforting, reassuring, peaceful words. At the time, I didn't write them down as it took all I had to just eat, sleep and go to work. But I listened. The words "sank in deep", they hit a place in me I never knew existed. Now, after a while of hearing this "Voice", I knew I had to make sure I wasn't going crazy. So I started to look on the internet to see if there was anything out there regarding hearing voices. Now keep in mind, here I am, can't focus, can't think, every minute is basically like I am outside of my body just going through the motions and I "think" I'm going to do research. I was so wrong. The same thing happened to me as it did that night on the floor. A website "popped" up and it was a local ministry/radio station which was run by a husband/wife team and the wife was a counselor. So I picked up the phone (and I would have NEVER done anything like that before, just off the cuff so to speak), and I called and made an appointment. I have NEVER gone to counseling before, let alone Christian counseling, as I later found out it was.
So I go to the appointment and I remember telling her that I am hearing this "Voice" and the things that I hear. She just smiled and she said, "That is God". Now I wondered who was the nut job, me or her! I said, "What?" In a matter of fact manner, she starts to give me the schpeel about how I'm hearing from God, that God speaks, and all this other stuff that I really don't understand. I leave the session feeling as if I am so ready for the asylum. Being the naïve person I was, I thought ok, if this is God, then I need to know. So I remember saying out loud, "If it is You, make the phone ring." Sure enough, it rang. Ok, that could have been a coincidence I thought. I then needed more proof and said, "If it is You, make the phone ring and let it be so and so." Sure enough, it did, it was and I became a total mess!
I began to listen and do what I heard. He never gave me orders such as saying do this or do that. He would speak to me in words that were more future than present. He would tell me things that were going to happen in the world, on a daily basis at home, and I started to watch the news and they happened! I also started to "feel" a "nudge" inside of me, leading me in what direction to take to work, or where to go and when, etc. One of those "nudges" led me to know that I had to get a Bible. I had never owned a Bible, I had never read a Bible and I didn't even know where Bibles were sold. So one day, I "just knew" to go to a certain store and I "just knew" that I was to buy a certain Bible. Now remember, I am still in spaced-out mode but it was like I was being moved by some force that I could not see or explain. This may sound very odd, but it is what it was!!
At first, I didn't read the Bible. The "nudge" was telling me to sleep holding it. You see, I couldn't sleep at all. Even though I was zoned out most of the time, it seemed like when I lay down to sleep all these thoughts would be racing through my head, one jumbled mess, and I could not sleep. I was in a deep depression and didn't know it. I also experienced agoraphobia, anxiety attacks, headaches, you name it, I had it. To the extreme. I eventually sought out a "regular" counselor also and had been given all types of medications to try from Wellbutrin, Remeron, etc. and my body rejected them all. Little did I know it was because my healing was not going to be by man. So I slept with that Bible every night for a year or more. It worked. I would hold onto it and sleep I did. I can't say that I woke up perky, refreshed, and it was an instant healing, but I can tell you that I went from not sleeping for days at a time, even while taking sleeping pills, to sleeping every night peacefully holding the Bible with no medicine.
One day during that time, I was "nudged" to read the Bible. This would have been about 2 years after my separation. I was still in the "zone" so to speak, but somehow I read the Bible in 3 days and retained what I read! It was not something I could do now. I just did what I was "supposed" to do when I was nudged and it was amazing. God had to download into me the information when I could not "think" it through. I didn't read it like a normal book. While I was reading, hidden things and meanings just seemed to come alive inside of me and there they stayed. My "mind" wasn't doing the human processing of the information, it was being taken in by "spirit".
…fast forward to excerpt from book.
After having counseled/taught people in need at a bookstore:…
It was a Tuesday night when we had been booted out. A few days went by and that Sunday morning I was laying in bed and LOUDLY I heard God say, "Go see Pastor Dan (the name has been changed). I said, “No way. I am NOT going to any church to listen to anything a pastor has to say.” I heard Him say again, "Go see Pastor Dan." So I lay there, contemplating, knowing darn well I was going to have to go. So I went. Now the only time I had been to this church, another "charismatic" church, was for the conference where I had the vision of the room with the blue carpeting and cream colored walls. (While at a conference at this church in 2004, I had a vision of a room with blue carpeting and cream colored walls and didn't know why until now). I had no clue why I was going and this pastor didn't know me from Adam. But I went. Now I need to preface all of this with this: While back at the ministry, around 2004, I was sitting in my office when I heard God say so loud it filled the office, "Row your oars and cast out your net." I thought what the? I RAN down the hall to the woman I counseled with and I told her what I heard. She had no clue, other than the Bible reference of the disciples rowing out the boat and letting down the net for a big catch. So at this point, in 2005, I was still clueless on that. Ok, back to Pastor Dan. I go to the church, I sit down and near the end of the service I hear God say to me, "I want you to go down and talk to him." I said, "Oh no." I didn't know this man, he didn't know me and what the heck am I going to say to him?!?! I heard Him say again, "I want you to go down and talk to him." So the pastor starts playing the piano and singing and I thought ok, I'm home free, I can't go down and interrupt him, so I ain't going!!! WOO HOO! So I sit there and I said to God, "The only way I'm going down there is if he stops playing the piano and walks down off the stage and asks for people to come forward." All the while, I am thinking he will never do that, he is closing out the service singing. Well, guess what. He STOPS playing and walks OFF THE STAGE, and asks for people to come down if they would like prayer. I thought oh for the LOVE OF GOD! I got up, legs like jelly, and thought here we go. I walk down and I get to the front of the stage (there are like 500 or more people in this place) and I go up and stand in front of the pastor and I said, "You don't know me and I don't know you, but God told me I was to come and talk to you this morning." He said, "Ok, let's see what He has to say." So calmly he says this and I am like, are you kidding me? By now I should know that God has all of this under control but I still am new to this! So the pastor takes my hands and he bends his head and then he looks up at me and says, "You are to row your oars and cast out your net." I dang near fell over. My mouth hit the basement of the church and I couldn't talk. Then I managed to get out what God spoke to me in 2004 and the pastor said, "Stefanie, you are on the right path. God wants you to know that you are on the right path. You have taken every step perfectly even though it has been difficult, but don't stop going, don't give up. Keep going." That was it, I started crying, I walked back to the door to get out and out I went. I went home and thought NOW WHAT!
To read the rest of the story and the journey from natural to supernatural, go to:
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze188hw4/ and read the free e-book.
|This iReport is part of an assignment that we created with : Women: Share your stories of change|
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