India was still very much in our conversation but I was struggling. I had two beautiful daughters and an amazing husband, but something had died inside. I just couldn’t pull myself out of it. There I was, living my dream, being a pastor’s wife but I wasn’t happy. Life was full and I was busy with kids. I had made the decision to breastfeed any and everywhere so I wouldn’t miss out on anything, but that didn’t help either.
I had lost all spiritual passion. There just didn’t seem to be time to sit and pray or read the Bible; and if there was time, I had no idea where my Bible was. I hadn’t read it for about two and a half years. There was no desire. Tony would ask me to pray with him and I didn’t want to. He started to wonder if he needed to stop being a pastor. It just didn’t seem to be working.
There wasn’t really anyone to talk to about it. Everyone was busy and there wasn’t much they could have done anyway. I couldn’t explain it and I couldn’t get out of it. On a couple of occasions, I went up for prayer after a meeting and the only way I could explain how I felt was, “Something has died.” I was holding things together, counselling people, having friends around for dinner and was generally a nice person in public. With Tony and God, I was cool and indifferent. We just weren’t connecting. We were living on different planets.
On one of our trips to Durban to visit Wilf and Val, Tony “dragged” me to Victory Faith Church to hear a man, Michael Eaton. I really didn’t want to go. I was so switched off, but as I listened to him speak about the grace of God, something started to change in my heart. It started to warm up and I felt a movement that I hadn’t felt for a long time. Grace was the thing I needed. So much of what he said cut deep. Simple things like, “If you never read your Bible or prayed again, God’s love for you would still be the same.” I had become hard on myself and forgotten the love of God for me. I had put too much emphasis on me doing instead of me being. If I couldn’t do, I couldn’t be. I had it all wrong. I cried all the way home in the car.
I was running a ladies coffee morning for moms with young kids. I had all the right words for them and they always left encouraged. I always left feeling empty and spent. I invited Jean Guthrie to do an “Inner and outer beauty,” talk on one of the days. She did make-up demos and talked about beautifying our inner parts. After the demos she prayed for any ladies who wanted prayer. I watched from a distance; happy that my friends were getting touched, but feeling that God had left me forever. I had asked for prayer many times before and nothing had happened. It wasn’t for me.
I was clearing up cups, trying to look busy. Jean called my name and I pointed at myself and said “Me?” There was no other Linda there. She asked me if I wanted everything that God had for me. Like a good pastor’s wife, I said, “Yes.” She looked at me in the eyes and asked, “Really?” My eyes welled up and she gently put her hand on my head.
My mind went back to Pastor “Banana Fingers” who would lay hands on us and push us to the floor. I would firmly put one foot in front of the other and resist falling down with all my might. Somehow, I knew this was different. As Jean prayed, I felt a warmth go from my head to my toes. As that happened she said, “See, Linda, that is the Holy Spirit.” I knew it was. I had missed Him. It had been so long and my heart had been so cold and hard. I relaxed and took it all in. He gently put me on the floor where I lay, unaware of anyone or anything else.
It was as if all my fighting had stopped. I held up my white flag and surrendered to the grace of God.
See Post 66 for more background on my spiritual struggle.