My Journey into the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams.  Yes, and on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God’s kingdom].” Acts 2:17-18


As I’ve already written and explained a little bit of my story of WHY I am a Christian, I also felt led to write a little something to say that my journey into more of God did not stop there.  Here’s my personal story of when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit.  May it be encouraging and inspiring for your own journey into more of God.


Since I became a Christian, and once I really started getting to know God, I always experienced Him (and still always do) by reading His Word.  I never felt disappointed in my experience of God, and I was always very happy in my relationship with Him.  However, there was always this one nagging question on my mind:


What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and is it for me? 


I read in Acts the stories of the disciples waiting in Jerusalem until they received it – that for some reason, Jesus thought this was so important that they stayed and waited before they went out into all the world to preach the Gospel, which was His original mandate to them.  The disciples waited and He followed through on His promise, coming like the sound of a mighty rushing wind and with fire, equipping the disciples to serve and minister more than they ever had before, with a boldness as well as an effective power that actually made a lasting difference.  They began to have a dynamic relationship with God that came with His authority, allowing them to hear His voice clearer and walk more in step with Him (just like Jesus did).  Miracles happened everywhere they went, and their preaching was not just a matter of talk, but of power!  God was bringing His disciples closer to Him than they ever thought was possible, even though they had walked closely with Jesus IN PERSON for three years.  His Spirit was illuminating things of His Word and things in His world (people that needed to be healed and assignments that needed to be fulfilled) to them in order to bring more of His Kingdom to the earth.


Now, reading about this in your Bible is one thing, but I also had friends that had experienced God in this way and who actively walked in the gifts of the Spirit (prophecy, tongues, praying for healing)!  These things weren’t only words on a page in history, but real, genuine, personal stories and interactions with the God of the Universe that empowered people to draw closer to and be used by Him in a deeper way.  These things were still happening today!  As I was surrounded by these friends, I first thought that they were just more spiritual than I was, but as I got to know them more, I realized that they were completely normal.  They just believed God.  This led me to pray: “If this is from You, God, then I believe it.  If I believe it, then I want it.  I’m not going to hold back – I will take as much as You are willing to give me.”  I wanted to know and be empowered myself, so I began to search through the Scriptures to find out what God says about this baptism.  This is what I learned:

“I (John the Baptist) indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11


John the Baptist says here that after the baptism of repentance in water, Jesus is the One who is going to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire (just like the disciples in the Upper Room).  Then, Jesus Himself tells us this:

“If you, then, being evil [that is, sinful by nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” Luke 11:13


He wants us to have an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, along with the gifts of the Spirit, even more than we do!  He says He specifically wants us to ask for it, and He will give it!  I realized that if this was true, He was going to give this to me eventually if I asked Him.  I KNOW my God is not a God who holds out on me, or dangles things that are not for me or that He is not wanting to give me in front of my face to tempt me.  I just knew that, for some reason, I was having to wait for it.  Jesus says to ask and continue to ask, so, I waited, and I prayed, and I asked…for nine months.  Obviously, not every day, but every time I would think of it, I reminded God what I was waiting for, and I reminded myself that He would give it.  What happened next is one of the most beautiful stories God has given me in my walk with Him thus far…


Towards the end of the nine months, I went to a prayer/worship night where one of my best friends came up to me and asked me if there was something I wanted prayer for.  I wasn’t thinking about this topic at the time, so I said no, but she felt like God gave her a picture (just an image in her mind’s eye) of my heart that she wanted to share with me.  She said that inside of my heart, there was a box, and inside of the box was something like a marble.  She asked me what the marble could be, and asked (in a completely loving, non-intrusive way) if there was something that I was possibly keeping in my heart from the Lord.  I couldn’t think of anything at the time, but right when she said the word “marble”, I heard in my spirit, “Pearl, Mother of Pearl.”


Super weird, but track with me…


I then get home and tell my Dad on the phone about the picture from my friend, and he said, “Amanda, I think the box is a Treasure Box” – even before I had told him about the Pearl!  So, like any child who is seeking and wanting to learn something, I began to ask my Heavenly Father.  I asked Him what the Treasure Box meant, as well as what the Pearl was in my heart.  I also did some Googling.  😉  This is what I found:


Treasure Box – a box in which to keep all things regarded as valuable and precious

Pearl – jewelry that originates from a living creature, also called nacre; shimmering and sought after, tough and resilient, relatively soft and easily scratched


The amazing thing I learned about Pearls and Mother of Pearl is that they are created over time from mollusks that internally build layers in order to protect themselves!  This constant effort from the mollusk insulates them from infection, parasites, and damage, sometimes creating Mother of Pearl, which is a calloused irregularity inside of the shell, and other times creating an unattached, spherical structure that is much prized by humans as a Pearl.  I still didn’t fully understand it, but this prompted me to ask the Lord again, “What is the Pearl inside of my heart?”


About a week later, I went to church with my family for their Sunday night service and Pastor Steve Collins was preaching.  Referencing a beautiful story in Matthew 26, Pastor Collins said: “The woman BROKE her alabaster jar at Jesus’ feet.”  Immediately, I heard the Holy Spirit ask me: “Why did she break the jar?”  I genuinely wondered why.  He then said, “So she would never be able to pick it back up and take it for herself.”  It was now forever broken at His feet, and surrendered to Him.  That was all He needed to say to me.  On the way back home, I told the Lord that I was breaking my Treasure Box before Him, and whatever the Pearl was inside, I was giving it unreservedly to Him.  It was then that He spoke to me again…


“The Pearl is the best of you.”


…WHAT.  How can one sentence that seems so simple and small, be so profound that it actually changes your life?  I realized in that moment that I used to be afraid of the Holy Spirit.  I was afraid of what He would do to me, or make me do, and I didn’t really trust His heart or character.  Therefore, I had shut myself out to Him doing something deeper in my life without even realizing it!  I had kept the most vulnerable parts of who I was separate from Him, and instead, let merely the knowledge of Him replace my experience of Him.  Knowledge is wonderful and absolutely necessary, but if you could also have experience to back it up, would you not take it?  Both knowledge and experience of God are essential – especially in times of doubt or confusion.  Wanting to experience God is never bad, or wrong to ask for.  Why would He be disappointed in you for genuinely wanting to seek and know Him more?  The Bible says, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).  Don’t ever let a lie keep you from your destiny.


God did not call what was inside of me due to my actions of protecting myself from going deeper with Him a calloused irregularity (like the Mother of Pearl), but He called what I had to offer, and in fact who I was, a precious and valuable Pearl that He desired.  So, I told the Lord that He could have the best of me.  I was giving Him full permission and access to the most vulnerable, and as He said, “the best” part of who I am, and I was not going to be afraid.  I was surrendering my heart and my life fully to His will.


I wish I could say that immediately at that moment, God showed up and gave me what I was praying for, but no…I simply began to ask the Lord for greater depth in our relationship with greater fervency than I ever had before.  For seven days I locked myself away in my room any chance I could get and prayed and sought His face alone.  I was asking for God’s gifts to be awakened and activated in my life, knowing that He was going to answer me, and seven days later, through the prayer and laying on of hands of a friend, He met me in one of the most powerful moments with Him that, to this day, I have had.  It was always about encountering His love.  Because I sought Him first, He encountered me in a completely new way.



I believe that the moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have access to His Holy Spirit.  He comes to dwell inside of us (to literally take up residence inside of our hearts) and we begin to be led by His desires and into a life of purity and holiness the more that we submit to His will.


After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He appeared to the disciples and said, “Peace to you! [Just] as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you.  And having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit!” (John 20:21-22).  The disciples ALREADY had the Holy Spirit living inside of them, because Jesus had given Him to them once they believed!  However, what is amazing to me is that He still told them, rather “commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised” (Acts 1:4)!  He said, “For John baptized with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with (placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).


This shows me that there is an immediate deposit of the Spirit inside of us once we believe in Jesus (in His death and resurrection), but that there is also a deeper fellowship with His Spirit that takes place by praying and seeking.  It is for those who want it.  Sometimes it just takes asking and continuing to ask.  The disciples at the time didn’t even know what to ask for, but once they encountered God in this way, they realized that this was a direct fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29 (brought up again by Peter in Acts 2:17-18).  And this wasn’t even the last time!  We see that there is a continual refilling of the Holy Spirit throughout the disciples lives in the book of Acts that proves that the more they wanted, the more God poured out.  The more they asked for, the more He gave.  And this is still happening today.


Once I prayed to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, God not only opened my eyes to show me how much He loves and cares for me in order to answer my prayers in this way, but He also opened my eyes to the Scriptures in a way that I could never understand before.  His Word came alive in my life as I began to see myself in it, and realize that the promises of more of His Spirit were always for me.  I began to understand more of the gifts of the Spirit, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, and see how God was, and is still, giving them to me to be used when and how He desires.  In fact, I believe they were already mine, much like the disciples in the Upper Room who had already received the Holy Spirit.  God just wanted me to wait and pray for them to be activated in a deeper way in my life for His glory and my story.  He was waiting for me to be hungry enough so that He could fulfill my hunger and expectancy for more of Him.


I’m still learning, and I’m still growing, but I am continually opening myself up to more of Him, more of the facets of His Spirit and His Word, and I have seen Him fill me in a way that I did not think was possible for me (see my testimony post on Why I’m a Christian).  I believe that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (1 Peter 1:3), but there are still such deeper places to go in our constant pursuit of the more of who He is, and there is even greater fellowship with Him that is possible for us.


I will leave you with this: If this is something that you want or are wondering about, why not ask God to take you on a journey into more of Him much like I did (and still do every day)?  His heart is kind, and He loves you more than you know.  He will never hurt you, or make you ashamed or embarrassed.  You can never lose when you are seeking to know Him more.  🙂


Some Helpful Resources:

  • Experiencing the Spirit by Robert Heidler is a book I read the week before I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Written by a Baptist Pastor who previously didn’t believe in the gifts, but who was radically touched by God, I picked it up and couldn’t put it down for three whole days.  When I finished reading it, I had all of my biggest questions answered about the gifts and what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was.
  • Hosting the Presence by Bill Johnson is a beautiful book that is all about living in closer communion with God. It talks about how the “gifts are free, but maturity is expensive.”  God’s gifts are for everyone who believes Him enough to ask for them, but there is still always more to grow and mature in once you receive them.  We are continually on a journey into more of Him!


Blog Pic: Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas

Why I’m a Christian

When I think back over the years of being raised in a Christian home, with loving parents that understand and accept me, who are proud of me and have always taught me about God and His love for me, I can understand why people would think that I am a Christian because I was brought up that way.  I can understand why people think that I am joyful because I am a positive person.  I look at the glass half-full (I always have) and I see how someone could think that I am just a friendly, happy person that doesn’t really have need of much proof or that I am simple and don’t require much thought to believe what I believe.  I can understand that someone could look at me and think that I just simply have childlike faith, that I don’t read or know much about philosophy, or that I don’t have much of an understanding about the way the world works or about politics or other religions.  I can even understand how someone might look at me during worship and think, “She’s just feeling the music”, “She just likes to dance and sing”, or “She’s just an extrovert that feels comfortable on a stage.”  Why I am the way I am is just a little something that I want to expound upon today.


Elementary School:

I was brought up in a Christian home.  I have always been a part of a church – even before I lived in Texas when my family was in Paris and London for my dad’s job.  It’s just the way I was raised.  However, I never felt God.  I never felt Him, understood Him, loved Him, or knew Him.  In fact, I was very afraid of Him.  I was afraid of the largeness of who He was.  I was afraid of the things He thought of me, the way He was looking at me down from Heaven.  I was afraid of the things He would say to me because I didn’t feel comfortable with Him.  Even in elementary school, I was afraid to die.  I was afraid of being before Him and not knowing what to say or do, having nothing to prove that I was good enough to be saved or go to Heaven.  I was too afraid to move or pray or think about it.  I didn’t love God, and I thought I never, ever would.


However, one day, my mom told me that when she was a little girl, she didn’t love God.  She questioned how she could if she didn’t know Him.  She then prayed and asked Him to help her to love Him more.  This got me thinking.  First, I was amazed that my mom had explained my exact experience without ever knowing that was how I felt.  Second, I had never tried this before.  I wanted to believe Him if He was real.  I wanted to know Him if He was real.  I wanted to love Him if He was real.  I have always had a little bit of FOMO, so I was willing to test this out and see if it would change anything.


Middle School:

What’s funny is this really only opened the door.  I began to have a thirst for knowledge, to really want to understand the things I felt I believed, though nothing really had changed.  Even though I didn’t really understand much, I had a deep desire to, and I was open.  Then, I ended up meeting a girl who hosted a Bible study at her house through her Methodist Church.  She invited me to it, and I started to go.  Every Friday for 2 and a half years I would go to this group with friends and read the Bible, ask and answer questions (typical group discussion stuff), and hang out.  As I kept going though, I began to realize that no one (especially me) was really learning, growing, or changing that much, and it didn’t really seem that anyone had a desire to.  One day however, in our Bible study through James, I was really struck by James 1:23-25: ”Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do.”  I realized that it’s not just knowledge that is supposed to fill me up, back me up, and make me strong in what I believe.  It’s practically acting it out.


High School:

I ended up leaving that Bible study because, among other reasons, I wanted to really try this.  I wanted to see if I could learn and grow in a way that was actually according to the Word that I was supposed to act out.  And for that, I had to separate myself.  This was an extremely difficult decision as all of these people were truly my only friends at the time, and when I soon realized that they simply moved on, I was left totally and completely alone.  I was on MySpace at the time (yeah, this was 2007), and I was so beyond depressed.  Depressed enough that I was afraid to hold knives in the kitchen because I didn’t know what I was capable of doing to myself.  I felt I had nothing to live for and there was no purpose to my life.  I was super friendly and “happy” at school, where no one would know there was anything wrong, but at home, I was completely despondent.  Then one day, I got fed up with everything.  I was on MySpace, looking at my old friend’s pages and comparing myself to lives I didn’t have, reading about and seeing pictures of how they had moved on without me and were having fun, and I had had enough.  I turned off the computer and ran upstairs to my room.  I sat on my bed and I talked loudly and openly to God.  I remember saying, “God, if You’re real, this is how I feel right now…” and proceeded to explain every single detail of my life up until that point.  I explained how lonely and angry I felt.  How unimportant and insignificant.  How passed over and ignored.  How it seemed I didn’t have what everyone else had: boyfriends, cool clothes, exciting experiences, and unique/funny personalities.  I spoke out loud until I couldn’t think of anything else that was hurting me.  Then, I was silent.


What happened next is something I can’t really explain adequately, but I know that it happened and it marked me.  I heard God.  For the first time in my life.  And I didn’t hear Him say anything spectacular.  It wasn’t Scripture.  It was a three word sentence that I had never heard anyone else say before.  “Delete your MySpace.”  That was it.  It wasn’t outside of me.  It was inside of my head.  However, I knew that it wasn’t me that said it.  I would have never thought that due to the fact that my MySpace was all I had.  That was my one link to my friends, and really, to culture and community in general as every day after school, I would just come home and immediately get on the computer.  The only thing was that it had been killing me.  Slowly but surely, I was becoming more and more isolated, even though this thing was supposed to keep me more and more connected to the world.  It didn’t take me long to realize that I had a decision to make; a risk to take…and I was going to take it.  I let go.  I immediately went downstairs, and almost without thinking about it, I did it.  I deleted all I had left in my life that described and held who I was to a whole bunch of people who didn’t really care, and I decided to take a chance on Someone who I didn’t understand or really know how much He cared.  This was the beginning of change for me.  Instead of spending time reading or hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions and experiences, I started to read, and I mean really read, what the God of the Bible had to say.  I read with openness and a willingness to learn and listen and believe and trust.  I wanted to hear what He had to say and was tired of trying to figure things out on my own about Him.  If I was going to take steps in this direction, I at least had to understand what that meant.  I had to give Him a chance to change me.  I had to let Him in, and be willing to embrace whatever that looked like.  That is, if I was going to be intellectually honest as a seeker.


This is when more and more prayers began to be answered.  I was genuinely wanting to know the answers to my questions and I was expectant to hear them.  I was also willing to accept what I heard.  I’m not talking about from my Pastor, or from my parents.  I’m talking about straight from God’s Word to me.  People have their opinions and their independent conversations.  However, if this Bible was something that God had truly given me to know and understand who He is and what He is like, I was going to open myself up to learn as much as I could from it, while allowing myself to truly think it through.  I didn’t understand everything, but I believed and I wanted to learn more, so I prayed for God to give me an opportunity to learn more of His Word.  Then, almost a week later, a leader in my Youth Group at church reached out to me for ice-cream.  She told me that I stood out to her, that she saw me as a leader, and that she wanted to offer the opportunity to disciple me if I was willing.  I so was because I knew this was the answer to my prayer.


We met every week for 16 weeks to go through the book of Romans in the Bible.  For the first time, I began to really understand who Jesus was.  I learned what His death meant for me.  I used to think that talking about Jesus’ blood was gory and dramatic, and that the phrase “Jesus died on the cross for you” was super cliché.  I didn’t think that “sin” was that big of a deal.  I wanted to learn more things about the Word of God that were more important and that I could really grab hold of.  However, being open to God and God’s Word, I learned that my philosophy was wrong.  Jesus’ death was not some isolated incident that I could move on from or ignore.  This was a one-time act that my entire life, and truly the entire purpose of my life hinged upon.  My life has no meaning apart from His death on the cross.  Why?  Because there is nothing, and no one that can save me or make my life complete on this earth.  Save me from what?  My deep seated longing to know why I’m here and where I’m going.  I can live a normal life – a monotonous, day to day, simple life.  However, where am I going?  When this is over, what’s going to happen to me, and will what I did here mean anything at all?  Will it last?


Then there was the sin thing.  I hadn’t done things that were that bad (obviously, as I already said, I was raised in church and in a Christian home.  I was public schooled, but never did or wanted to do anything crazy).  I wondered why sin was such a big deal.  Then, I learned that everyone has sinned (lying, cheating, stealing, being jealous, hating), and that no matter how small it is or who it was done against, every time we sin, it is not really against another person.  It’s against God Himself.  We are disobeying His law, which is summed up in the Ten Commandments.  The only thing is, we can’t keep it.  If you think about it, no one, no matter how hard they try, is or can be perfect.  It’s impossible.  Romans 3:10-18 says that there is no one who is good, no one who has ever fully followed these commands, and no one who can.


Then, here comes Jesus.  He is fully human, yet fully God (I’m not asking you to think about or question the philosophy here, but to be open to the possibility).  He says that He chooses to die.  That no one can take His life from Him, but He willingly and voluntarily lays it down.  Out of love.  Why?  What does that mean for me 2,000 years later?  If He is perfect; if He fully and completely – perfectly fulfilled the Law of God in His life on earth, then He can choose to be my Sacrifice.  He can choose to die so that I can experience forgiveness from my sins and be free from having to fulfill a Law that I was never, ever even close to being able to fulfill.  And why did I have to fulfill it?  Because if I didn’t, I was going to die in my sin.  I had no hope.  Nothing I could do was going to be good enough to save me from my destination, which was dying separated from a perfect God who could not accept me in my imperfection, no matter how much He loved me.  So He died.  He died.  He died for me.  If He was the One to die, then if I could believe and accept His sacrifice, nothing could ever separate me from His love again.  And He gave me time.  He gave me the time and ability to listen and learn so that I could fully come to believe and accept Him.  He always has and He always will.



It’s been 10 years since I first began my real walk with God.  I was raised in church, but I wasn’t a strong follower until I met Him for myself.  Until I heard His voice for me.  Until I realized that He wasn’t mad or disappointed in me for not knowing Him, but in love, He was waiting until I was willing enough to let Him show me.  And that wasn’t the last time either.  I have been set on a (day to day) lifetime of discovering more of who He is.  I read the Bible every day, not to gain knowledge of it or facts and figures, but to really know Him.  To know His character and what He thinks, how He thinks.  I talk to Him every day, and I have heard His voice many more times over the years as well as had many more and more impactful experiences with Him.  Each one better than the last.  And I have fallen deeper in love with Him than I thought was possible for myself.  I didn’t know I ever would or ever could, and yet, I am now the one leading worship, singing songs of genuine adoration and love to a God that I have never seen.  But I know Him.  I feel that I know Him better than I know my best friend on earth.  And I love Him.


You may not understand fully what all this means, but I want you to know that I believe what I’ve written here wholeheartedly.  This is not jargon, or these are not cliché or meaningless words, but words that have been crafted out of a heart that believes.  And I want you to know for yourself what I know.  That I am saved and set free from loneliness and fear of being alone.  If you are in a place where I once was, give yourself the freedom and ability to seek Him.  Even if it means cutting other things out of your life.  Otherwise, how will you ever really know if you aren’t willing to give Him a chance to show you?  You never know until you seek.


“What I say to you in the dark (privately), tell in the light (publicly); and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops [to many people].” – Matthew 10:27


Blog pic: On the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland