A Testimony
of a Religious Experience

of a Religious Experience

                 

My encounter with God, Jesus, and the Afterlife and how it changed me forever...

                 

    
    
    This is my story. Yours may be different from my own. You may find some similarities that put you at ease just as I feel when I read other people's stories of God. That connection is my hope. That each person’s story will make us feel that much more connected to everyone else. It is what we “do” with that connection that is the most important – my hope is to build a better world for tomorrow with it. We need to help each other to get to that point, to be in community, and to live as honestly as we can. Soon you can join up as a member of this website, and together, let’s come up with great ideas or reuse old ideas to lighten other’s loads, help the poor, the weak, and the downtrodden – as well as support each other. This needs to be a community and interfaith effort. This life I live does not belong to me anymore, but to God and I could never be more joyful of that fact.       

God bless you on your walk, 



Caroline 

                          A Religious Experience    

  
     There are experiences that change us forever - from a dysfunctional childhood, to dating some of the world’s richest men, to seeing God in the eyes of my newborn nephew, then hitting my emotional rock bottom and coming back to God. I finally learned to grow up and love myself as I was and seek my worth in God instead of people, places, or things.     

    My life started down the wrong path as I grew up from a child into a woman. I believe it was a gradual descent. It all started with me caving in to the demands of the people around me, slowly losing who I was, and becoming something that I would later despise. I despised myself not because I was doing bad things to people, for I wasn’t, but because I was doing bad things to myself. It’s the classic sociological study of what happens to many women. When I was a child, I was a vibrant, strong-willed, intelligent girl. But through what society teaches us who to become, coupled with my Dad’s illness and the subsequent decade of him being very angry from it until he died, it changed me.  My family suffered the repercussions of my Dad’s illness – he became very verbally abusive during this time because he was in so much pain. This is true of a lot of ill people. We learned very bad habits and lived in denial for another decade after that.

Life before Meeting God and Jesus

   At 19 I met a man who promised me everything and had enough money to deliver it. The world that I was introduced to was one big party. Everything was first class and we never had to wait in line for anything. I very quickly grew to love the power and prestige that a $100 million brings. By association I was at the top of the socialite scene and many people coveted what I had. It seemed like everyone was becoming my friend because of what they hoped to get from me. I even received threats from jealous women who wanted to be with my boyfriend. I knew he wanted to marry me, but I pulled back. In the end I couldn’t marry a man whose own family members admitted he was groomed “to have whatever he wants whenever he wants, including women and wine, so expect that he will cheat on you and come home drunk.” What I didn’t realize was that I was already too deep into that way of life and that I myself had been “groomed” to live that kind of life. I was part of the problem for myself.

   For almost a decade I rather consistently dated men who were big-spenders, flaunting their money and their ego. For five of those years I dated a man who was much wealthier than the first boyfriend I spoke of, but because of the previous pain of telling everyone about who I was dating, I tried to keep this relationship sacred by keeping it mostly a secret. He was more than happy to do so. I don’t know why I kept it going so long in this discrete manner. I guess I was afraid of the unknown. We cared very deeply for one another and I believe loved each other, but the only way we would have moved toward marriage was if I gave up wanting to have children, and I was unwilling to do so. He was also a very heavy drinker and did various other drugs, and somewhere deep inside me I just knew that I would not survive that. I had dabbled in drugs before and drank a little, and was afraid he would invite me deep into that world and I might comply out of desperation for love or momentary weakness. He was very well-known and successful in the world’s eyes, being CEO of Mary Kay, and building the company from scratch with his very famous and beloved mother. He had a sharp instinct for business and had other companies. I used to love to hear him talk about which company he was going to buy or sell. But being one of the richest women in the world just did not appeal to me with the price I would have to pay. I would also meet another man who I would date for over ten years, eventually promising possible marriage to me, but with the same vices as the previous man I spoke of, so keeping my emotions on a rollercoaster. It was of course, what I had been groomed for all my life by my family and society, to become “the good little wife”, being what the man wanted me to be, just without the marriage license. I did realize this is not what a good marriage is all about. I was really no different than a lot of housewives and the inner pain some of them struggle with when it comes to their identity. In these men’s eyes it was a great set-up because they got all the big perks and kept the control over me since I had doubts about marrying them. I really thought I was saving myself from the pain and constraints of what I thought marriage with them would be. But in the end I did have a lot of pain because they could and did leave me high and dry, with no future, no family, no children, and used to a way of life I couldn’t afford. Later, I knew I had done it to myself as well, and that knowledge made me able to experience the pain that I needed to heal from.
 
Leading up to my Religious Experience
 
     It was when I was almost 30 and had reached the goal I had set forth for myself at that age that I realized something very important was missing. As far as society would deem, I was at my “best”, but I was not really happy and fulfilled nor was I ready for that next step of marriage and children, of which I so deeply wanted. Something had to change. It was at first a twinge of a feeling. I had been so busy trying to live life that I never allowed myself the peace of keeping still with myself for very long to notice it. Then my nephew was born. As I held him in my arms and looked into his eyes, I felt something I scarcely had allowed myself to feel in a long time. True, deep, feelings of love and connection. God was beginning to finally reach me. My direct Experience with God that was to follow came about from a multitude of other things that lead to this Quest and an emotional rock-bottom. As well, I was sick and run-down in a foreign land,
London, was by myself at that point, and had not eaten very much. I had been there for a total of 21 days, living out of a small carry-on piece of luggage and a hanging bag that contained only about four dresses, a pair of shorts, and two shirts. Contrary to what I had been taught about how important all our worldly possessions are to our comfort and enjoyment of life, I found myself to feel vibrantly free without all these things. The things that I had treasured so much really weren't treasures at all. It is not to say that I did not treasure relationships as well, I did, but not on the level that I was now beginning to understand. I believe all these things led to me being open to something different - to being open to the divine. But not in the way I had been taught before as a Christian. Christianity had been used to play a lot of head games with me before, as with so many other people, instead of telling me the truth, and I was about to find out why.
 
My Religious Experience
 
     I was sitting up in the middle of the night, perspiring heavily and my heart beating forcefully. I’d had yet another terrifying nightmare. Vacationing in
London had been completely wondrous until I got sick with the flu the last couple of days. I had thought about the helicopter ride which whisked me over the Clock Tower of London, which houses Big Ben. It had felt like a fantasy. I enjoyed observing from a different perspective a city I had mostly seen in storybooks from my childhood. I was fascinated to look down at all the side streets and the people going about their day. But for now, if I could just stay up till dawn I'd be free from the nightmares I told myself. I felt compelled to pick up a pad and pen and start writing. Afterwards I would realize it was the Holy Spirit trying to reach me, trying to break through that wall of lies that I had built up around my soul. It was in those next days that I started to look at the world around me very differently. Things that had seemed ordinary before now were very peculiar to me. I had questions, my curiosity grew to a deep thirst for the truth, a truth that I would soon be given and would never forget - as if branded on me for eternity.
 
     I felt drawn to stay at a quaint hotel close to the
British Museum. Little did I know what was about to happen to me would forever endear me to this place. With it’s ambience of a country hotel on a London side street, complete with gardens, it felt like a sanctuary, it felt like home. On that particular day when I spoke to my mother, she said something odd that she would later not recall. The words, "You're like Alice in Wonderland", her reply to my excursions thus far, prompted me to look again at a fax her friend had sent me on places to go. I had previously only read a few words from the first paragraph from bottom to top - I like to read backwards like that sometimes. And there it was, some of the only words I had read were "Alice in Wonderland" at the museum. The museum that was just about right outside my window. Before in my life I would have never cared about the correlation, but now was different. As I packed up my purse to go on my quest, I felt a pulse vibrating within me and around me, warming my skin and the air around me.
 
     Walking up the museum steps I could feel the aura of all that was ancient and old, of people and civilizations of past - the imprints of their souls still lingering - calling to us, beckoning us to listen to them and their wisdom. Inside, I took a deep breath and filled myself with that scent that only a museum or library has, the scent of knowledge - knowledge everywhere. I immediately looked for and found the room with the
Alice in Wonderland memorabilia in it. Its presentation was very spiritual in nature to me. I found that peculiar and thus wanted to buy from the museum store any and all information on Alice in Wonderland. With my purchase in hand, I headed back to the comfort of my hotel room to read through my new treasures.

     Reading back in the room, what I felt was not the spirit of Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, pen name Lewis Carroll, but oddly the spirit of Alice Liddell, crying out to me in her pain. The original
Alice story, "Alice's Adventures Underground," seemed to delve deep into her psyche. There was a profound sense of innocence lost. I felt connected to her and sensed that this book was indeed one of the most spiritual books of its time. Back home, as I would later come to find out with further research, Lewis Carroll and Alice's relationship was quite disturbing, as was Lewis Carroll himself. From the video I bought at the museum, it said he took pictures of the Liddell girls without their parents present, as they played dress-up with children’s clothes he provided from his college room, as well as took them on afternoon excursions alone with his pastor friend. According to Wikipedia, many biographers believed him to be a pedophile. He was known for drawing and taking photographs of nude and semi-nude girls. He was also well known not to generally hang around adults, mainly only little girls. It doesn’t really matter if he did have romantic relationships with adult women, as we all now know that pedophiles can be interested in both adults and children at the same time. When Alice was 11, it was believed he asked her to marry him. The family broke all ties with him at that time. How amazing God is that He allowed me to sense this pedophile behavior way before I ever read or saw anything discussing it.
 
     I had started to understand the message that was being sent my way – that an adult man from my childhood had molested me, as I uttered the word for the first time. That is when I came to God - with all my past childhood and the effects it had on me and the part I played in it. On that day in that room, I went to my knees and spoke to God for the first real time. No other prayers I prayed as a Christian before matched the depth and sincerity of my prayer now. I cannot say exactly why I had a "Moses and the burning bush" experience as I did, but I can best explain what happened next.
 
God and Jesus’ Message to me

     It was the most profound and enlightening experience I have ever had. Kneeling, I told God that I would not go on another day without him in my life - not suicidal, but dying to the self in order to be living for the soul - living for God. I told him I was ready to do whatever it took to right my past and my heritage, that I was ready to accept that I would go to hell if that was my destiny and my heritage from the sins of the fathers, as I had subconsciously thought before. But as I know now, things that I had subconsciously thought were being brought up to my conscious mind during the experience - things that were untruths that I had been retelling myself for years, as they were told or expressed to me. It was at that moment that God directly spoke to me and told me to look behind me. As I turned around, I saw my life flash before me - quick, yet understandable - like old home movies. It was then that I saw the waves of hell lapping up against the images - and all the pain came rushing back to me in that instant. He told me that I had already lived in hell - a hell on earth - for all those years, but that now I had the opportunity to live a heaven on earth, following His path. It had been my choice all along - and I accepted.

     As I turned back around, the most amazing feeling came over me - as God in full spirit entered the room, His love could not help but be projected and absorbed all throughout me - a feeling of complete and utter love - I felt as if I were radiating like the heat of the sun, and it was then that I knew I was in the total presence of God. At that moment, God showed me a glimpse of the afterlife - in all its splendor and glory. With its auras of spirits and sparks of light, it was still incomprehensible to my human mind, as he said it should be. I felt a depth to the part of the afterlife He showed me, like a portal to another world, as if I could reach out and touch it. There was such a tremendous amount of strong, yet peaceful energy emulating from the gateway. The spirits seemed wise and felt safe. He told me that as glorious as it is, I was not to concern myself with the afterlife, just to know it truly exists for everyone, and that hell does not, except for the different stages of “heaven and hell” here on earth, determined by such things as if you are following God’s path for your life. To concentrate on the here and now, and that what you do and how you live your life on this earth does determine things in the afterlife for you. That was when God began to explain to me all of the untruths that had been told in His name. I picked up a copy of the Bible in the hotel drawer as He explained it to me. The central theme He told me was to read the Bible from His point of view - from everything He was revealing to me about His nature - and to not stray from that. Anything other than a loving, disciplining nature was not of Him. Anger and punishment was not Him.
 
     God told me to remember that the Bible was written by humans - with human failings and human imaginations. That God is not a “he” or a “she”, but both male and female together and so much more. In the Bible when Moses asked for His name, God answered, “I am who I am.” He did not give a male or female name because that is not who He is. Our human language is so archaic that I believe when prophets of old tried to relate this message, that most people didn’t know how to communicate this without confusing people, as they still do today. The same goes to explain here and now how I see God to be speaking to me - I may use the words "see" and "speak," but I do not mean with the eyes and the mouth. I mean with our sixth sense, our spiritual sense - outside the realm of seeing, tasting, touching, hearing, and smelling. This is our spiritual language. He also speaks to me in word pictures - some of which cannot be translated well into human language - and rightfully so. I am human. I am not God. Only God can correctly express some of these things at this stage of our evolution and in this life, as we become more spiritual beings. That is why, God told me, it is for each and every one of us to come to Him, each separately, in order to be given new life and learn this spiritual language from the source. Just look to nature to see the spiritual language that goes on between animals, or a dog that senses danger in a seemingly impossible way. As humans, if we listen to our spirit, we can sense danger coming miles away as well, and there are countless stories of this happening.
 
     That is probably the most important aspect of all of this - God has told me He wants all and everyone to come to Him separately - to be infused with His knowledge and power. Just as God proceeded to answer every question I ever truly wanted to know the answer to about the world and Him, He will do the same with everyone who comes to Him in this life. As miraculous as it was, and how bad I want to tell everything, we are each to go to God on our own for the answers. And as I know now, He is doing this with more and more people, because people are starting to understand His true nature.
 
     It is a movement which I see occurring all around me - a movement toward the true God and away from the ego and selfish ambition - so that we can all see we are from one race - the human race and that every living thing matters to God. It is a state of being - a higher level of understanding - of how this earth and our lives are to work according to God to maintain balance and harmony. It is opposite of this “Book of Revelation” mindset of destruction and chaos and God changing the plan and coming physically down to earth in order for us to have peace. God told me he would never and has never physically come down to earth. That is not part of His plan. This earth is a school where we are to learn faith and understanding in the physically unseen - in the soul - our connection and pipeline to God and each other, our interconnectedness - and how to work it properly in order to do God's work. To those of you who think otherwise, who don’t want to fully grasp what it means to have “faith in the physically unseen”, I ask you to “let go and let God show you the way”. There are so many things we still don't know - but the answers lie in simplicity. We are trying to make this world way too complex in order to be happy when true happiness comes from the simple things like being with family, friends, and nature. The more and more complex we try to make this world with not only all the "things" we possess, but more importantly with all the ungodly ideas we possess, we will go further and further away from God and inadvertently cause the destruction of our world through not taking care of our earthly home, or using some nuclear, biological, or other weapon we haven’t even invented yet. That is why, I believe, God is coming to us full force - He is trying to reach us all in order to save us from ourselves.

     With the Book of Revelation from the Bible, God told me that there was no such thing as “a time to come when He would destroy the earth,” but that man would destroy the earth unless He was able to reach “us” through spirit to help us find our way. That’s what the story of Revelation was back then for them as well. It was a story written of human hands of a man to relay a message. Metaphor was used back in those days, as was embellishment, but it was poetic license in order to prove a point, as we do today. Just as I tell of the struggle between good and evil in my perception of what God told me, colored by my experiences and knowledge of today's world and everything I know about science, so did the men and women of before, and so will the men and women after. But the main point in these stories is that God does exist and that God does communicate with us. That is the legacy that we were left, and that is the legacy that we will leave.

     It was then that God and Jesus both spoke to me together. At this time, Jesus appeared to me in spirit and said he was very sorry for what had happened. So much pain and suffering and death have been caused in the name of Christianity - because a few people didn't get the message right. This is when God told me the example of whispering a secret to one person, then they go down the line, and the person at the end comes up with a distorted message. I have, in my religious search, found in writing and recently in person those that belong to another route from Jesus - as scarce as they may seem - and it brings me hope and light. It is the Gospels found in recent years that reiterate that this group of people and school of thought from Jesus did exist. I am just sorry that this knowledge is not more prevalent among people. It shows what little way we have really only come. To now know that Jesus really didn't say a lot of the things that were being attributed to him in the way they said them is such a relief. God told me to use the gift of perspective - His perspective - in order to discern whether Jesus said it or not - does it go against his true character or support it? It's that simple yet so easily misconstrued and tainted with our own egos.  I believe Jesus was the son of God just as we are all the sons and daughters of God. That was his message. Remember we Christians call God Father. He also was the Messiah just as the Messiah is within each and every one of us. He is not a person “out there”, but the deliverer and giver of peace within us, within our soul, of God.
 
     I believe Jesus came back and spoke to the disciples and other people not in body, but in spirit, the way he did with me. I know from my experience that it feels like he is as much physically there as he could be, but that he is not. It is a different level of being. I can now see how hard this is to translate. Many scholars from various religions agree that Jesus came back in spirit. I believe that is one of the reasons why his name and message was carried forth, and not the name and similar message of others who were said to be the “Christ” back then, as there were several. I know we can be honest with ourselves about this and still keep our faith in God - and still be Christians.

     If the whole point of the Bible is our faith in God - not in man, and the Bible was written by spirit-filled human hands - they were human hands nonetheless, and we can observe the stories in the Bible as human experiences of God told by people just like you and me, in other words, not perfect. That way we don’t replace our own actual experience of God with what they’ve told us. And that is to say even as I write this, question everything I have to say and ask God yourself for the answers. My words, just as the words before me, are just a guide. It is you who has to do the actual work for yourself as the Bible says, “…each one should carry his own load.” Have faith in God to take you through that experience and trust what He has to tell you. Don’t be afraid of it.
 
     I do believe a truth does lie in Christianity, but we must seek it ourselves. I don't blame the leaders of the churches today. I believe they were either afraid of the truth and the changes it would bring or didn’t know the truth and were too ashamed to admit it. It can be easier to let things be the way they’ve always been regardless of how wrong it seems. I'm just sad that so much pain and anguish has come from their mistakes. But we made mistakes too by not confronting them in love and instead either leaving the church or staying and not being honest. Being a "Christian" means following Jesus’ teachings - knowing and living what he really stood for, and living your higher purpose. No more, no less. I urge you to look up the full definition in several dictionaries and elsewhere and see what you get from it. We all have a choice of what perspective we are going to live our lives by - I choose God's perspective and not man's. I choose the humility of truth.
 
     After my religious experience with God was complete for that time, I felt as if I had aged 100 years, that if I looked in the mirror, I would see a gray-haired old woman, I would still feel hot to the touch, and that objects around me were now holy objects. This feeling lasted for quite some time and still lingers to some degree. It is to those people who might even slightly doubt it happening that I say to them, you just don’t “see”, the Almighty and Powerful “Presence” of God is not something to be questioned because it is unquestionable. You just know. What I experienced was with every cell of my body, every part of my soul, and every piece of my mind. Unequivocally the “Highest Purity” of Reality I have ever witnessed. Other people who have experienced God have come away with a similar sentiment. I now get the stories in the Bible that try to relate these experiences, and I laugh because I deeply understand where they are coming from and what they are trying to say. I wish this experience or one like it to every human being on this earth now and in the future. I can’t imagine my life without having had it. It has changed me body, mind, and soul.
 
     Now, it is when I pray out loud and deeply that I am best able to communicate with God. Throughout the years it has been those direct and specific answers to prayer that can still stop me in my tracks in awe and wonder, as I am taken back to that
London summer day when I had my first real experience with God. One such instance was when I had prayed to God out loud that if he wanted me to continue to help with a particular cause, to please send me a lobbyist in that field. I have not to my recollection met any lobbyists ever. About two weeks later I was swimming and sunning at an apartment pool an hour away from my home. A woman kept trying to talk with me as I lay out. I was not interested and was in my own little world. Then I remembered reading about “divine appointments” and I stopped myself from my daydreams and conversed with her. She happened to be an unpaid lobbyist in the exact field I was praying for and was very successful at it – knew all the necessary congressmen and women, was in contact with all of them, was in the papers a lot, as she later showed me articles, and was working on getting a bill past. Wow! I began to reflect on the mighty power of God and on the calling God told me I had accepted long before I was ever born. How amazing this path for me is! The prayers of coarse that I speak of are not selfish ones. They are Godly prayers pertaining to my ministry.
 
Life after Meeting God and Jesus
 
       It is my life since that day I first met God and Jesus and was “born again” that has never been the same. Even though I was raised in a Christian home and was in church choir as a child, I am now a better Christian for it. I get it when it is said there are two parallel universes on this earth – one with God and one without, and I have been in both. I truly believe the “old me” died and the “new me” was born. I did a 180 degree turn with my life’s direction. Information that I had never known before, but necessary to my ministry, flooded into my mind and my heart in moments as I felt a “gate” being opened. It was the most incredible thing to have your mind and heart instantaneously saturated with knowledge about God. I truly felt like a new creation! As I would later realize, it has taken me far longer and been a harder road to incorporate all these changes inside of me into my physical life. But I am on my journey and every day is a new opportunity for spiritual growth. It is ok for me to struggle with where I am at and have bad days, I am human.

    I sometimes question God about how He will bring His and Jesus’ truths to light to the masses. It’s not an easy task but God can do it. I have to remember I am one of the ones to bring people to God so He can explain it all. That’s part of His plan and the bigger picture is God’s kingdom. I have the stories of those that have come before me who have done their work for God’s kingdom, and I see their joys but also their troubles and torment. Sometimes I wish I could only see their joys. I try to focus on the positive, but reality will set in at times and I realize the incredible scope and gravity of my mission. Thank God I have persistence and tenacity. Good going God. My heroes are people like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. Reverend King, an extraordinary man of God, regarded Gandhi and his teachings so highly that he visited India and studied Gandhi. He even fastened his “1963 March on Washington” after one of Gandhi’s peaceful marches. Gandhi once said when asked why he had a picture of Jesus up in his hut - I am a Christian and a Hindu and a Moslem and a Jew. Well said. These are the people I want to be like. I now know what it means to be enlightened and I accept all people who are seeking God. We are all on different parts of our spiritual journey, learning and interpreting in different ways as we go along, and that’s ok. We just “know” when we meet someone of a different faith and hear their testimony that they are a Godly person and have a right to their own path. When I met one of the Holocaust survivors and he told of his story, I saw his faith in God. I like to say when God looks down on his people praying, he doesn’t see the color of their skin, their race, their gender, or even their religion – he just sees his people praying and answers accordingly. It is up to us to listen to the answer by meditating after we pray. Many of us just pray and never meditate for the answer. Conversation with God is a two-way avenue. We must listen. I don’t discriminate because someone interprets God a little different than me. We all were made beautifully different by Him for a reason – we all have something to offer.      I think about all of God’s children who have come before me or are here now to change the world for the better, and it brings me hope. I get “energy” from hearing or reading their stories again and again. My passion stirs and I feel so alive. How incredible! I feel connected to them in a way I don’t even feel with some people around me. I do have those social activist friends who I do feel that deep connection with, but not everyone is called to this mission. Those of us who have been called to seek and save those who can’t speak for themselves, the weak, the oppressed, the hurt, the hungry, and the poor must rely on each other for strength. We get compassion from our other friends who have their mission to comfort and console. We all work together like a well-oiled machine.     
     One of my fears is that people will not “hear” messages like mine and will suffer unnecessarily because of that, that I have not done my job, my mission set forth by God, to help guide people to their own experience with God and to save people from their bondage. I have worked on myself and my character flaws to become a better person, the person God knows me to be. I have researched much about spirituality, mainly in Christianity. I have spoken to many pastors and friends about this experience, but with most of them, did not get the kind of encouragement to proceed. Even though that has been rough on me, it is ok because the few pastors and friends who do encourage me are all I really need. I have spoken to rabbis and other religious leaders, researched religious books, studied the Bible, and have visited a local seminary.
 
     In spite of my fear of public speaking, I have made myself speak in front of groups of people as God had told me. I help out with a local shelter, serving in different areas where needed, and that has been one of the most rewarding experience of my life! – I have taught a class for teenagers, I have spoken at area churches and businesses about the shelter, and have helped out in the children’s program. I help out at a local church, leading a class and I love it. I have led or helped out with missions projects all over the community with different churches and organizations and I love that as well. I feel a strong need to give back to society that which has been given to me. Not just about my experience with God, but with the gifts God has given to me to share. They are not mine to hoard and to accumulate all the ideas and possessions for myself, but to share. I get that. I attend church or church activities on a regular basis now. That is the center of my life.

     Unfortunately there is not any one church that encompasses all the things God told me, and that can be frustrating. I am headstrong for God and thus can boldly place questions to people that might make them a little uneasy yet they still respond kindly. These are the people I like to talk with. I have also had people be abusive in their debate when they have no rebuttal, “hitting below the belt” by saying I’m not a Christian or I’m going to hell if I don’t believe exactly as they believe. I hear this frequently among the denominations. With the way these particular people sound, we must all be going to hell except for them. No room for grace there. Although as you can see from my religious experience, I don’t believe in hell since God told me heaven and hell are here on earth and it’s your choice, those comments are still meant to degrade and belittle me into submitting to their way of seeing things. Major control issues going on there. These people don’t realize how odd and hypocritical and how unlike Jesus they really sound. They sound like the Pharisees, the people who Jesus debated against. I have been to over 40 churches, and at many all I see are the Pharisees. I know there are others there who think and believe differently, because I have spoken to them one-on-one, but they do not speak up in groups. “Evil will flourish where good men sit and do nothing.” We have turned Christianity so around that it is barely noticeable to those who are Christian and more importantly to those who are not. I can and do try to lovingly confront the issue when I see it. It is not easy, but truly loving everyone, even those who are angry, in denial, or unresponsive is a divine responsibility for all of us.
 
     As for church activities, I like when I can go to a church party and know there will be no drinking, no drugs, no one will cuss at you or try to touch you inappropriately – that’s nice to know. It feels more safe and respectful, yet I do realize I still need to keep up my boundaries, as people can still be inappropriate verbally, and not everyone has truly good character. Everyone is at different stages of character growth and thus levels of maturity. I also don’t drink at all now, out of choice, and I like it. I really don’t see the need for it anymore. It has been ten years and even though I didn’t drink much by the world’s standards, usually one, maybe two drinks, it was too much to me and I didn’t like myself much the next day when I had a headache and was slightly nauseated. I choose other ways to unwind or relax such as hot baths, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. I feel so much better now!
 
     I have also made it a habit to seek the truth in most everything I do. God had told me the way to find my path was to always seek and tell the truth, no matter how hard it is. I have had to go through the muck by doing so, but that is the only way. I haven’t always done it perfectly, and I have suffered for it, but the truth really does put you where you need to be. Sometimes we hang onto unhealthy relationships, careers, and ideas by lying to ourselves and others about how we truly feel in our soul, and that only stops us from living the fully joyous life God intended for each and every one of us.
 
     Slowly but surely I have proceeded forward down the right path, making mistakes along the way, but correcting them if possible or accepting them if not. Now when I think I have so far to go, I only need to look back to see how far I have actually gone. I am so very different than that person on a lonely
London summer night. I am ready for the next step God has for me, ready for more responsibility! I know I can be a beacon of light for so many people. I can’t imagine how many lives I have already touched without me even knowing. As long as I do my best to speak the truth in love and keep working on my character growth, for we are all a work in progress, I will be able to do God’s work to a higher degree.
 
A Hope, a Prayer, and a Vision for the World
 
     It is my hope and prayer that Christians and people of all religions will be able to see that many paths lead to God. There will never be one world religion as some would say, we are too diverse and that is how God made us. However a person chooses to worship, there are Godly consistencies among all the major religions of the world, but there will also always be Godly differences. Those Godly differences are what we need to be embracing and listening to. They make us who we are and we are beautifully made in God’s eyes. I am not speaking of the ungodly differences that exist in every religion, for it goes without saying that these are not acceptable. Barbaric or disrespectful ideas about how to treat women, for example, exist in every religion, including Christianity. This abusive treatment needs to and will change. It is in God’s will to treat everyone with respect and dignity, regardless of your class, color, or gender. If we all just tried to understand each other and what makes us different, we would be more at peace with the world at hand.
 
     It is my vision to develop a forum where people who have had a direct experience with God can go to help those who want to have this experience as well, so they too can find their purpose and have their questions answered. Whether through the internet or in person, a place everyone can feel safe and secure to delve into this spirituality. I hope everyone can go through what I call “The 12 Steps for Life.” I had innately gone through these 12 steps when I met God, and I believe they are within all of us. 

A Call to Action

     This is a call to action for every man, woman, and child on this earth. To be who God has made you to be in love, kindness, and decency. To embrace the goodness in each and every one of us so that the badness will be loved right out of us, and to give guidance to each other on how to get past our specific temptations of badness. To be lovingly honest with each other and maintain boundaries and standards of integrity. To help each other out when we see a need, to support each other’s calling by God, and to see that none of this involves violence, hatred, or deceit.
 
    I urge you, with every fiber of my being and all the strength God has so graciously bestowed upon me to write these words, listen and contemplate what I have said here, and then ask God yourself, at the deepest level of prayer you can find within you – ask God for “His Direction”, and then together we can build a better world, a world that God intends for us to build. The Bible says, “…With God all things are possible.” The time is now.
 
    Are you ready to change the world for the better, or have you already started?


 A Poem    

    
God told me I would be a great leader someday    
            
… I said not me            
   
God told me I would bring people out of bondage   
    
Who some put the chains on themselves     
            
… I said not me            
   
God told me I would lead people to righteousness    
    
And help them find their own true spirit            
 
           … I said not me      
  
  Well then who? Then who will it be?      
    
I turn to the mirror and say            
            
“It is me, I will do it!”           
 
    When God calls on you…    
     
What do you say when you look in the mirror?      
           
“Not me” OR “I will do it!”    
      
           
       
- Caroline Pye