I didn’t go into a lot of detail in Part 1 about the time God spoke to me. But what He did was assure me that I could take my time on my journey to spiritual freedom. See, during my whole life in the church, I was constantly led to believe that my salvation was never secure. If I sinned after asking for God’s forgiveness, then my chance at eternal life was taken away. The rapture could happen at any moment, and only those whose sins were confessed and forgiven would go to heaven. The worst part was, almost ANYTHING could be a sin: a bad thought, a negative attitude, a swear word…even watching a suggestive movie or listening to secular music. I was a young adult attending a public university while struggling with lust. How could I ever live up to that??
And God knew I couldn’t. But He still considered me His daughter. He saw the love and desire in my heart for His presence, and He honored that. It contradicted everything I had been taught about salvation. So I began to look into the scriptures for answers–specifically, the teachings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. And that’s when I truly discovered grace:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
However, even though I now knew that my salvation was secure, I still needed to get free. I was angry, depressed, hurting, and a slave to manipulative relationships. I knew I couldn’t willingly continue in this lifestyle and still call myself a Christian.
That’s when God gave me a promise: If I could get free, He would bring my future husband into my life. At the time, I knew who that was. He just wasn’t interested. And who could blame him considering the emotional wreck I was?
So I took one step at a time. I cut the bad influences out of my life. I told old boyfriends to get lost–not easy, especially when they tried to come back! Gradually, I began to respect myself again. My heart began to heal. I began seeking God’s help to forgive those who had hurt me in my childhood. I was on the right path.
But it wasn’t all joy and roses. During these months, a demonic presence began to torment me. I would wake up in a cold sweat, convinced that shadowy figures were watching me from the darkest corners of my bedroom. I once had a nightmare so terrifying that, at 20 years old, it made me crawl into bed with my parents. These incidents continued for well over a year, and I felt helpless to stop them. Whenever I was in the presence of these demons, I couldn’t even open my mouth to pray.
I was still following God, still reading my Bible. But I became depressed over these demonic visitations. God felt so far away. I started to wonder if He cared.
Then I was invited to attend a Women’s Encounter. It was a special weekend church retreat held once a year for women in the community. There were Bible classes during the day and services at night. I signed up to go thinking it might help me.
But once I was there, all I wanted to do was leave. I felt exhausted, frustrated and discouraged. I didn’t even want to socialize with the other women.
Then, at the final service, God shattered all of my preconceived notions about experiencing His presence. I always thought that I had to feel something: a weight, an elation, a loss of my senses. After all, most of my faith experience at this point had involved some kind of emotionalism. But none of that happened. God showed me that I could experience Him with my physical senses–emotions not needed.
I responded to the altar call that night, still feeling like God was out on Jupiter somewhere. I began praying with a woman from my church, waiting to feel God’s presence bubbling up in my soul. But I felt nothing but a cold void inside of me. It was so infuriating. The other women were praying, worshiping and speaking in tongues. I looked like a fool standing up there at the front of the chapel, the only person not experiencing the presence of God. I stopped praying.
I heard someone singing. It was nice. Very nice. Beautiful. Heavenly, in fact. Arresting. The sound grew louder, more intense. It was the most beautiful singing I had ever heard. Who was that?
By this time, my prayer partner was staring at me, alarmed. She asked me if I was ok. “I hear singing,” I mumbled blankly. The pastor’s wife from my church came by. The woman told her, “April hears singing.”
As they started to investigate the source of the singing, the other women began to hear it, too. Now, this was a small chapel. There were only two standing speakers that provided sound for the room. One woman was playing the keyboard and singing. The sound wasn’t coming from her. Another woman was singing nearby. It wasn’t her, either. We checked the CD player. Not that. In fact, the sound wasn’t coming out of the speakers or from any of the women. And more voices were joining in.
Soon, I could count six distinct voices. Some of them were clearly male. Four were coming from the front of the room to the left of the speakers. One was coming from the middle of the room. The other was coming from the back of the room. And the sound grew more intense by the minute. I could feel vibrations in my chest. This went on for 15 or 20 minutes.
And the sound. My God. There was nothing like it. I remember hearing Charlotte Church sing when I was a kid. This blew her out of the water. These were operatic voices with no vibrato. Perfectly pure. Divine. These were angels singing.
I didn’t run around the chapel. I didn’t leap or wave my arms. I didn’t shout in tongues. I didn’t fall out or roll on the floor. Instead, I simply sat and listened with my jaw on the floor. Many of the women were crying and praising God. Thirty-five out of the 38 women at the service said they heard the singing. The next day, some of them reported seeing wings and other visions during that time. I heard a deep, thundering voice speak at the peak of the singing, but what it said, I can’t fully recall or express it in English.
That night, the pastor’s wife prophesied over me and said, “Your pen will trample upon the injustice of the church.” A few weeks later, she said she didn’t remember ever saying that.
After that, the demonic visitations stopped.
I know some people won’t believe this. It does sound crazy. But bear with me. There’s still more to tell.