My husband and I have always loved God, even as children, and as adults we felt the need to know Him through finding real spiritual encounter. My husband was raised by a Christian mother and a Jewish father. I was raised in the Catholic Church. We both left the faiths of our childhoods as we grew up because we knew there had to be more. After much searching we became interested in Native American spirituality. That interest began a journey that led us to meet a Lakota Elder named Buck Ghost Horse who was raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He had received a vision to teach all nations about the spirituality of his people. He taught us carefully and well about the ceremonies, the culture and the ways of his people. We often participated in the sweat lodge, which is a prayer and purification ceremony. We also took part in other ceremonies for healing and social purposes. The high ceremony is called the Sundance, which is an annual life renewal ceremony – a 4 day ceremony where the dancers fast and dance in the sun, becoming a living altar for the prayers of the people. It is a difficult and rewarding spiritual path and one which requires significant sacrifice of the people in order to gain spiritual favor for healing and provision.
Over the years my husband rose to significant stature and responsibility within the community. I was preparing to participate in a ceremony that was important to my next step within this group. We related to them as our family. We loved them, ate with them, prayed with them, laughed and cried with them, suffered and rejoiced with them. I loved this sacred old way of respect and honor and bravery. I thought I was happy. We had invested over 20 years of our lives learning and living these traditions.
Then I got a phone call. My husband wanted me to go to dinner with him and Ed and Colleen Klein. Well, Ed was an Evangelist! Jared had been in relationship with the Kleins for some time but I had kept my distance. I felt a social obligation toward my husband to accept, but there was nothing in me that wanted to go. I didn’t want them to try to convert me. I didn’t want to hear all about Jesus. I didn’t want to try to answer probing questions about my life. But I said yes for my husband. I figured it was only one night after all.
So we went to the Klein’s and drove together into Portland. Their son, Joshua joined us, which was a nice surprise. I enjoyed his perpetual expression of amusement. To my surprise It turned out to be a very pleasant evening. Colleen and Joshua were kind and charming and Ed told story after story about the miracle power of God! I had no idea such things happened in Christianity these days! I thought he was surely a man of God and I respected that. Soon the evening was over and I was grateful to go home. We returned to their house and declined their kind invitation to go inside to continue visiting. So Ed said “Let’s just pray before you go.” So we joined hands right there on the lawn in their side yard and Ed gave thanks for our evening together and he blessed us.. I don’t know what else he said because the Love of God poured out over us! I felt like I was having a long, cold drink of pure water after being parched with thirst! But I hadn’t even known I was in the desert! It was WONDERFUL! And It made me SO MAD!!!!!
I got into the car and slammed the door!!! The Love, I said!!! The Love!!!! I didn’t want it! I KNEW where I was going and this was not on the agenda! I had a plan for my life!!! But I couldn’t ignore this! I told Jared we had to go to the Bible studies to find out about this love. So we went and we learned. Ed had taught us that we are God’s righteousness on this earth. That we are His glory! That He loves us and sees us! That we are His hands and feet on this earth. That it is His good pleasure to take care of us and that there is NOTHING too big OR too small for Him to care about. That He knew us before the foundations of this earth and that He knitted us together with the brightest of colors in our mother’s wombs and that He knows every single hair on our heads. That his thoughts toward us are more than all the sands on all the shores.. That He loves us with a perfect love and desires union and communion with us in great and personal intimacy. We were taught that we could call upon the Lord according to Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me and I WILL ANSWER YOU and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”
We learned about the finished work of the cross and the perfect sacrifice of Jesus – I could see that THE NATIVE WAY WAS A PRE-CHRISTIAN RELIGION AND THAT WE HAD BEEN TRYING TO DO, THROUGH OUR OWN SACRIFICES, WHAT JESUS HAD ALREADY DONE PERFECTLY.
As we learned we continued to walk with one foot on each path and the tension between the 2 ways was growing. Then one day we were praying for someone’s healing and Ed said, “Someone here does not believe in healing.” I wondered who it could be because it was just a small group of us – all believers. But the question persisted until I realized it was me! It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God. I believed! I believed in His goodness and power! I believed in the testimonies and the sacrifice of the cross and in the resurrection. I believed in the Holy Spirit being poured out for us. I believed I was forgiven and I was beginning to believe He loved me. But I realized that in my heart of hearts I doubted whether or not God would hear ME when I prayed to Him. Ed taught us that The Word says to pray without ceasing but suddenly as I faced DOUBT the thoughts within it became clear: WHY would He hear ME among the millions and millions of voices calling and crying out to Him for help? Why should He pay attention to me? And If He didn’t hear me, maybe this wasn’t meant for me after all. The old way was hard, very hard, but it was a rich and full spiritual life…
This realization of doubt surprised me and brought forth a kind of inner crisis. The time had come and suddenly I HAD to know! I had to know if these teachings were real, if He really loved me as an individual and if He heard me. Something happened and DEEP CALLED OUT TO DEEP! FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART A CRY ROSE UP IN ME AND I CALLED OUT TO HIM!!! FATHER!!! I NEED TO KNOW IF YOU CAN HEAR ME!!!! IF YOU CAN HEAR ME I WANT YOU TO MAKE IT SNOW TODAY! IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, I WILL CLOSE THE DOOR AND WALK AWAY FROM THE NATIVE WAYS AND I WILL FOLLOW YOU ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE!!! IF YOU DON’T, I WILL LAY DOWN THE BIBLE ONCE AND FOR ALL AND RETURN TO THE PATH THAT I HAVE KNOWN AND HAVE HELD SACRED
My natural mind kicked in and I thought, well, it IS November, so even though there is no rain or snow in the forecast it’s not a big thing to ask… That should be easy for God, right?!
But something also happened inside of me – I was excited! I felt excitement and expectation come to life inside of me like a spark! And I started watching and waiting in anticipation! I watched all day long. I didn’t even want to go to town until I realized He could make it snow there as easily as at home. I made dinner and watched. I ate my dinner looking out of the big glass doors. I Put the kids to bed, no snow. Said good night to my husband, but still no snow. It was getting late. As it was nearing midnight my heart sank, it was so heavy, and I thought, “well, I guess that’s it then…” I got up and started drawing the curtains closed across the big glass doors when I heard, “If you close the curtains, you are closing the curtain on Me.” What?! Was that Him? I paused a moment to considered what just happened and to realize I had a choice. I could have partnered with disappointment and walked away just then but I thought there was NO WAY I was going to be responsible for missing Him and wondering if it was really Him for the rest of my life! This decision was NOT going to be on ME!!! So I opened the curtains back up just in case… And I saw that EVERY flat surface on the deck was sparkling like diamonds! I couldn’t believe it!!! It had all been plain and dry just a moment before!!! I ran outside rejoicing and wondering at what I saw! When I looked closer I could see that there were tiny frozen balls stuck tight to every flat surface! It was beautiful!!! It wasn’t snow… But it was really amazing! So I rejoiced and marveled and thanked Him mightily. I really did… I went to bed wondering how to think about this and reconcile this because I knew that God answers prayer in His own way. And this was definitely an answer! No doubt about that! Even though it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. I prayed, “Lord, help me understand what this answer means!” Then a thought came to me! I thought that maybe, just MAYBE there was a snowflake among the frozen balls!!! What if He DID give me a snowflake?! I only needed one! So I got back up and took a magnifying glass out with me and began to search. I looked and looked. They were frozen balls all right. And then, there it was! A perfect, intricate, 3 dimensional, 6 point star!!! OH!!! THE JOY!!! YOU CAN HEAR MEEEEEEE!!!!!!! HALLELUJAH!!!! OH HOW I LAUGHED AND CRIED! I STARTED TO DANCE AND I SAW HIM – HIS BEAUTIFUL FACE! THAT SMILE – FILLED WITH LIGHT!!!!! HE WAS LAUGHING WITH ME AND HE SAID, “WELL, WE’VE GOT HER NOW!” AND HE CERTAINLY DID! I LAUGHED AND DANCED EVEN MORE AND THEN IT BEGAN TO SNOW FOR REAL! THE MORE I LAUGHED AND CRIED AND REJOICED AND DANCED, THE HARDER AND HARDER IT SNOWED!!!! IT WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!
After a time I went to bed and as I lay there I marveled at what had just happened, in awe of Our God. I said, “ WELL LORD, NOW THAT I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME, I HAVE SOME THINGS I REALLY WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT.”
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Prov 3:5-6