From the mailbag (unedited): woman experiences 'illumination'


To Spirit Daily:

Back in 1991 at age 30, I came down with a mysterious and painful illness that doctors couldn't diagnose. They agreed that I had many symptoms that could be linked to a variety of ailments, among them multiple sclerosis, lupus, etc. But they couldn't say for sure what the problem was, and prescribed medicines for the main symptoms, which were unremitting pain and stiffness. Unfortunately the pain didn't go away and the medicines didn't work. Over a period of two and a half years, I became increasingly depressed as I became unable to work. Doctors began to suggest that my pain and other symptoms were "all in my head" since they were unable to diagnose me. I began to consider trying to end my own life, which up until then I had lived only for my own pleasure and wants.

Around this time, I began to read the Gospels at length. I didn't plead with God to cure me as I had before, instead, for the first time, I was more concerned with reading about the spiritual promises of God and in finding out more and more about His great love for us and His plan for our lives and eternity. While I wasn't yet a Christian and had not been baptized, I wanted to know Jesus and make a change in the way I had been living. I went to the public library and checked out books on comparative religion and spirituality. I prayed every day for a long time, often late into the night, as my husband was working in another state at the time and I only had myself to look after. For about eight months I lived this way, only leaving the house to visit family, go to the library, grocery shop and attend mass.

One night in October of 1993, I cleaned up the kitchen, got a cup of tea and settled down for my nightly devotional reading. I was about two hours into it and reading in the Books of Acts, Romans, the Gospels and also was reading excerpts from The Prophet by Kalil Gibran. I remember I was crying because of the beauty of the words, when I heard a noise, like a mini-explosion in the kitchen, and the sound of something shattering. In the kitchen, I saw a heavy glass that I used as a pencil holder in fragments on the countertop, broken into curious little squares. I checked the windows, walls and doors for a possible projectile that could've caused the glass to shatter (there had been occasional drive-by shootings in the vicinity of my home recently) but nothing. Feeling a little anxious, I went to bed. 

I fell asleep after a long prayer. For the first time ever, I prayed that His will would be done in my life rather than my own. I slept deeply, which was somewhat unusual. All of a sudden, I was awakened by a very sharp blow to the left side of my neck. It cracked my neck over to one side, and I heard myself say "Owww!" as if from a distance or down a long tube. Immediately after, or perhaps simultaneously, a really loud noise sounding like a door slamming (but seeming every bit as loud as a sonic boom) came from a direction in the room where there was neither a door or a window. The room shook. I was shocked and awake when I began to seemingly leave my physical body and arise. 

I do not have a very clear memory of exactly all that transpired while I was in this "altered state." I say "altered state" because I don't know for sure whether I was truly awake, or asleep or something else. I was mentally alert at the time, because I remember certain things very clearly, but I was not using my eyes much to see. In fact most of my memories are of emotions and impressions, not of things actually seen as one sees them in the world. One of the things I know clearly is that I was ascending into the air outside my physical body. Creatures were in the air with me--I have the impression now that they were angels, but I can't clearly remember. They were saying things to me, seemingly imparting information, and there was music. I looked up and saw a huge star or light above me. 

This star or light was huge and blindingly brilliant, but the main characteristic of it was that it was pouring out LOVE. The love coming out of that star was overwhelming and like nothing I had never experienced before. It made me acutely aware of how small my own ability to love was, that it was drowned in the ocean of this great love like a grain of sand. I knew that at all costs, I wanted to go to the light which I was sure was God's dwelling place. So I did. I ascended faster and faster, and at some point, I stopped ascending under my own power, because the star was actually pulling me in. The closer I got to the light of the star, the more the love poured out upon me. Finally, in a great burst of joy, the light seemed to fill me completely up and began to pour out of me. I felt like I had grown to one hundred feet tall, and a song was pouring out of me along with the light. I felt like I had known this song forever, but it certainly wasn't in English--I was singing in a tongue that felt much more familiar than English (which is my mother tongue). The song was a hymn praising God, but I can't tell you now what the words were. The strange thing was that the song was coming not out of my throat, but seemingly out of every single cell in my body! I cannot accurately describe the extreme bliss of that moment. Rapture would be a good word for it.

Suddenly, something shocking happened. All at once, I began to burn. It felt like I was in a fire which was consuming me entirely. I thought to myself that I was surely about to be annihilated, and a pang of fear struck me. And then the strange thought came to me that I didn't care, that I loved God so much that it was ok by me if he wiped me out of existence forever. I saw my absolute dependence on God and that I was helpless in His hands. He could kill me or let me live, whichever He wanted and I just didn't care, as long as I could be in the presence of that love of His until my last conscious thought. At a certain point, I blacked out.

And shortly thereafter, I woke up in what seemed like heaven. I was joyfully happy in the presence of the Lord (although I can not remember any specific faces or titles or any beings I saw). It was a place of absolute happiness. At some point though, it was explained to me that I could not stay, that I had to leave. I heard myself plaintively say (as if from a long distance away) "But I don't want to leave!" at the same moment that in fact I was moving away from that beautiful place. Instantly, I was back in that joyousness--in His mercy, I was given a last few more moments in the place I now consider "home" before softly, my soul descended back to my body, and I woke up in my bed. For some reason, when I woke up I was filled with a fear and dread--a terror like no other. When I looked at the clock it said 3 a.m. exactly. I got up, turned on all the lights in the room and then went back to bed. 

Since that day, my life has been different. Immediately, my point of view changed. I had no desire for material things that had once been so important to me. I would have given all my once beloved jewelry to the church if it would not have hurt my husband's feelings. So instead I joined RCIA and was baptized and confirmed. I wish I could say that my conversion was immediate and complete. Instead, my progress is slow and fairly steady, with occasional lapses that make me very ashamed in the face of the great mercy that God has showed me. In times of stress, I now feel the Lord's presence very closely--and I can actually feel power supporting me when I need help to gain some spiritual goal. My life changed so much right after that experience. I was finally diagnosed not more than three weeks later with a treatable illness. No more pain, no more disability. I now know that the Lord is real, and that He wants us to live our lives in love. He wants us to know how much he values each and every one of us, and that He wants us to live lives of service to each other in humility.

I wish I could say that the Lord told me secrets or gave me clear visions. I have had numerous "mystical" experiences since then, but I have learned over time to honor them while not desiring them or taking them too seriously. This is because even Satan can masquerade as an angel of light to deceive us. I have been harassed by unseen forces, shaking my bed at night. This has stopped now for the last two years, for which I am grateful.

I once wondered to myself if the great loving light I saw could be Satan masquerading. But I know that that is not the case. As Jesus said, a house divided against itself cannot stand--Satan cannot love--it is not his nature. If he loved, then he would not be Satan. 

Thank you for this opportunity to tell of my "experience." I want to assure you that I am an average person, college educated, raised without a religious background, and not a user of drugs or alcohol other than the occasional drink on holidays. I think it is possible that this experience of mine was the warning spoken of by the prophets. I was bewildered afterward and for several years, while I tried to make sense of what had happened. I went through a period of religious wandering that descended into New Age and Eastern mysticism for awhile, all because I didn't know anything about the long history of prophecy in my own adopted church. My hope is that others who read this will file it away in their memories for reference should the "warning" happen to them. May the Lord bless and keep you and your readers.

Your sister in Christ,
Laura C.

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