I was raised in a Christian home by parents who were incredibly active in a church where I have quite fond memories of growing to know God and the bible. I began the journey of knowing God more personally when I was 10-years-old. I remember going to bed one evening angry. We had guests and my parents gave them my room instead of one of my brothers. I threw a fit and as I lay in bed God showed me my sin of anger. It makes me laugh as I recall it. All the sins I engaged in and He used that one to show me what sin was. I cried and cried as I realized that I was actually full of sin, yet I was overwhelmed as God somehow showed my 10-year-old mind and imagination that He was without sin and wanted to save me from mine. I received His invitation and knew the next step was to ask Him into my heart — something my baptist upbringing prepared me for. I woke up the next morning and couldn’t wait to apologize to my parents and share the good news – God saved me last night!
I was water baptized at our church shortly after that experience and as the years passed, I was water baptized a couple more times. Why so many? Perhaps I expected something to happen when I was lifted out of that water. I knew what had happened on the inside, but perhaps I was looking for something else to happen on the outside. Something that not only my heart could believe in, but my eyes could see. I remember my parents telling me before the third water baptism that it would be the last. I hoped it would satisfy whatever it was I was looking for, but when I was lifted out of that water I felt no different from the two other times before it.
By 2008, twenty some years later, I can honestly say my heart was still seeking a baptism. By this point in my life I had encountered, discovered, tasted, seen and known God in ways that still thrill me to think about today. But something was missing. I didn’t know it was missing, the way you know facts and data, but I felt it was missing, more like intuition. And when I read the bible, especially the part where Jesus promises a specific baptism to His Disciples, I felt that was it.
“And being assembled together with them, Jesus commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John baptized with water but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
I didn’t know anyone who had encountered God that way and by this time I had traveled the world and visited many churches of many different denominations and somehow always got into conversations with pastors and church leaders about this disciple baptism. I was indulged a lot and prayed for from time to time. Many of those prayers revolved around people asking God (more like preaching to me) that I would believe that what I had received from Him at age 10 was the baptism I was still seeking. Oh, I wanted to believe! I wanted my restlessness to finally settle and if my unbelief was the problem, I wanted to surrender it. But by age 32, I was either still not believing or I was believing for something I had not yet received. Which was it? I was not sure, but I had resolved that God was the One who could answer me and I wasn’t leaving until He did.
That’s a pretty bold statement for a 32-year-old wife and mother of two tiny ones. With a few weeks until Christmas, my husband and I agreed that once the holidays ended I would go and make my inquiry of the Lord and I would not return until my heart was satisfied.
Nothing could have prepared me for the moment when my husband and two children dropped me off at a friend’s home in Cerritos, CA before they headed back home to Phoenix. Waves of insecurity, doubt and fear overwhelmed my restless soul. “Don’t come home until you receive what you came for,” my husband encouraged me. I needed those words. I had his support and I was grateful for his confidence, yet those words seemed to push me over a cliff I was suddenly too scared to jump from. I kissed him, kissed my kids and stepped out of the car. I felt alone and scared and the feelings increased with each step I took towards the front door.
This was the first time in my life that I would make an inquiry of the Lord and not leave until I received an answer. Leading up to this day I had committed myself to praying one hour each night. These prayer times were specifically dedicated to asking God about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and waiting for Him to respond. An hour was a big commitment for me and most evenings it was cut short due to surprise ailments that seemed to sneak up on my kids as soon as I closed my door. Though these evenings of prayer were often filled with distraction, they made me hungry. They made me want. And reading scriptures and stories of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit made me hope. At this point, I believed the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was real. I believed it had happened for others and I believed it was still happening. I just didn’t know if I believed it would happen to me.
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” Luke 11:9-13
I woke with vigor and expectation in a room that was quiet yet filled with promise. I had questions, but at this moment I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I didn’t want to waste time. I had come for something and my returning to my family was dependent on my receiving it. With my face to the floor (my preferred prayer posture), my bible and journal spread before me and worship music playing over me, I began a new kind of waiting. I was waiting with my whole self.
The day was filled with scripture reading, praying, singing, crying, believing, doubting. My hunger for Jesus’ words and promises increased. My sensitivity to my own heart and thoughts was heightened. Who was I that the Creator of the Universe would respond to my plea? I was becoming more and more convinced that it was He who had placed this plea within me. Every promise of Jesus that I read only deepened my desire and made me feel I was right where I should be – pleading and longing to believe for more.
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
Journal Excerpt –
January 1, 2009: I don’t know how to be baptized. Every promise is Yes in Jesus, but I feel I don’t know how to receive so I press into prayer and I wait for Jesus to bring my heart into a place of receiving. You bid me, “Come,” but I am fearful that my heart is too hard. That I am too impatient. I’ve had an elaborate mix of emotions throughout today. Show me how to surrender this time to You.
Journal Excerpt –
January 2, 2009: Today’s morning prayer time was significant. They are always hard – the battle to believe Jesus will do the work in me to prepare my heart for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Today I began with belief outweighing my doubt, but after a few hours I began to doubt. I knew that doubt was the very thing needing to be exposed to be rid of, but after time it began to weigh heavily upon me. I cried and cried and then took a break by watching some Kathryn Kuhlman on YouTube. She said something that struck me: “I wasn’t born with any talents (most are born with some) so I told Jesus I didn’t have anything to give Him but my love and I would love Him with all my heart. And if He wanted to use this empty vessel of mine, He could have it.” I was struck by how many talents I have placed my affection and confidence in: my voice, my appearance, my personality, my charisma… I began to repent for all the skills, talents and gifts I have found my identity – even in understanding and articulating the Word of God. I repented for all that came to mind and became tired. Repenting can feel like an endless battle, so I decided to sing, “How Great Thou Art,” and even spend some time praying for my family back home. When I finished praying, I felt Jesus speaking to me. I began to plead, “empty me out, empty me out, get rid of all self so that I can be FULL of You! I don’t want a little portion, I want a big portion. Empty me completely so the Holy Spirit has room to fill me full!” I felt Jesus tell me that that is what He is doing. Jesus knows me. He knows that I don’t want a small portion, so He’s emptying me out so He can pour in a greater fullness of the Holy Spirit. All of my whining, crying and anger wouldn’t make Him stop short of the process of emptying me out. He knows what I need.
Journal Excerpt –
January 3, 2009: Waiting on the Lord, it’s just that – waiting. There’s nothing glamorous. My empty room and a carpet floor. I kneel and I wait. This afternoon I made myself tea before starting. I put my clothes on hangers. It was all silent. I was delaying the waiting, but finally I knelt and was struck with this thought: I don’t have a thing to bring Him. I’ve used up all my ‘tricks’. It’s just me now and I’m left with all my poverty. I don’t have much hope. I don’t have worship. I don’t have an offering. I am poor, so poor, but God bids me, ‘Come’. He bids me, ‘Wait’. Where else do I have to go? I’m poor and naked and nothing tastes good any longer. I long for things this world cannot provide. The only One who bids me ‘Come’ is Jesus. He’s the only one who’s not put off by my poverty. All I can do is wait. All I can do is sit by the Master’s table in hope of the crumbs. But it’s my Redeemer I wait for. He’s the only One who bids me, ‘Come’. Poor, wretched me. With nothing in my hands and nothing on my tongue, but body pierced with wounds and He bids me, ‘Come’. I have nothing for You, Jesus. I am wounded and have nothing for You. But You bid me, ‘Come’. The glory in waiting is that it unclothes you.
I had lost my vigor. I lost my hope. I couldn’t even muster a smile. Day-by-day, a layer I had placed my confidence in was removed until there was only my nakedness left. I had not known until then that much of my faith rested in the layers I had draped upon myself over the years. There was a layer of charisma. A layer of appearance. A layer of ambition. A layer of a skill… Layer-by-layer, day-by-day they were lifted off me until all that was left was me – poor, naked me. I laid on the floor, conscious of the nakedness God was revealing to me and the body I saw, was covered in wounds. Wounds representing pain I caused myself and pain caused by others throughout the years of my life. These gaping wounds strung across my body. Not only was I poor, but I was wretched in sight.
As I lay there, I could feel eyes of compassion upon me. I could feel a gentle gaze. And then, in my imagination, I watched a scene play out like a movie. In this scene, I spent days, weeks and years trying to heal myself, but with each touch, the wounds worsened and my pain increased. Suddenly I heard a voice say, “One touch from your Redeemer and you will be healed.” I knew it was Jesus so I repeated aloud what He had said, “One touch from my Redeemer and I will be healed.” Then, another scene
began to play out. I saw multitudes of wounded, naked and bleeding people. I could see them trying to bandage and cover their wounds as well, but the more they tried, the worse the wounds became. Next to them I could see a beast. This beast was enjoying the affliction of the people. He was entertained by their efforts to heal themselves and he was glorified in their pain. I looked at the beast and told him, “One touch from their Redeemer! One touch and they will be healed!” When the scene was finished, I was renewed in my waiting and told my Redeemer, “I will wait.”
I was sure the baptism would have happened on day three, especially considering the powerful encounter I had experienced with God. “One touch…” That phrase repeated over again in my mind. Jesus was wooing me and increasing my expectation while showing me that this time of waiting was well worth it. Though I ended the night renewed, there was a disappointment I could not deny. When would it happen?
On day four, my heart and attention was especially drawn to John 14 and 15. The love affair between Jesus and His Father was mesmerizing. The way Jesus only did what He saw His Father do, and The Father continually seeking to glorify and lift up His Son. There was a vulnerability and dependence displayed by each of Them towards one another that was enchanting and alluring. As I read and reread Jesus’ words, I felt a pause come upon me. A weight in the air around me where it seemed Jesus and the Father were walking me down a new pathway and had paused to make sure I was aware of this moment. The verses that were being highlighted in my heart were suddenly carrying a new tone, a literal one. And as I read I became aware of a profound invitation and a great cost.
I was becoming more attentive to the process of cleansing Jesus was doing within me. He was preparing me for the gift of the Holy Spirit which He longed to pour upon me and inside me. Proper preparation had to be made and I needed to understand Who I was receiving and why. Jesus wanted more than my love, He wanted my life and He would not take it from me. I had a new cry that began to voice within me. I didn’t want to just be part of the Family, but I wanted to join in the Family Mission. I wanted to be employed as Jesus was and with the same conviction, the same drive and the same values in hand.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty
to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19
This was the Family Mission and this is what I wanted to give my life to. But I would need another member of the Family to lead me and empower me in the same way He had done with Jesus. I needed the Holy Spirit.
“There is a cost,” Jesus told me. “And I want you to consider it carefully, Kandi.”
“For which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’. Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand. If he is not, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:28-33
I spent a long while sobbing, crying out, pacing back-and-forth, considering the cost. The weight of this cost was laid heavily upon me – I felt Jesus was allowing me to feel what I didn’t understand so that I would know what I was saying “Yes” to. Although I felt the Baptism was to come in my saying “Yes” to His invitation, it took much time, for my heart was pierced. I knew I wouldn’t want the life that was connected to saying “No”. I wanted more of Jesus and He was in the Yes. Many images raced through my mind of what Jesus bestows upon those who say “Yes”, upon those who answer His call. I saw people being set free from oppression. People being healed of sickness and disease. I saw families being restored to love, joy and unity. I saw a multitude of people around the world (I knew it represented the nations) coming together in unity and people giving all they had to take care of the needs of others. Every time I closed my eyes, new images appeared. Finally, I turned and stood with arms raised high and I cried out, “Yes! Yes, Jesus! Yes! I will be Your disciple! I will be Your disciple! I will carry my cross and follow You! I will be Your disciple and I will make disciples!” My body began to tremble and I had to sit. My legs first, my torso followed and then my arms and hands. Every part of my body was trembling in a different pattern than the other. The trembling turned to shaking and increased in intensity. Suddenly, it all stopped. My right hand then began to shake with the same intensity as before, back and forth. As it shook I could feel a warm, thick substance coating my hand. My other hand began to shake and I could feel the same thick substance now coating it as well. They stopped. My legs then began to shake again and in the same manner, moving side to side and then changing patterns. My torso shook the same as all others, changing patterns frequently. Everything stopped once again. “Holy Spirit, come in Your fullness,” I cried as though He was waiting for my consent. My entire body shook again, even more intensely than before. I felt He was affecting every part of my body and every part of my body had its own individual time under this power. There was no pain, though the shaking was incredibly strong. I was overcome with a great peace and I could feel the love of God in a way I hadn’t before. After quite some time, it all stopped, though it would return later. My mind was perplexed, yet my spirit in awe. While under this surge I had the following revelation.
Jesus gave up EVERYTHING and this is the price I must pay to be His disciple. Greater love has no man than to give up his life, for his friends. If I am to be His disciple, I must give up my life as Jesus did. Only then will I receive every promise in Jesus. Only then will I receive whatever I ask in His name. It is no small thing what Jesus will give me, and it is no small thing what it will cost me. Jesus gave up His life for His friends and all authority in heaven and earth was given to Him. I must do the same and will receive the same. Being His disciple is not easy. Making disciples is not easy. It is not cheap. It costs the same thing that Jesus paid – everything. And in return I will receive everything.
Journal Excerpt –
January 4, 2009: Now I know – I don’t have to worry about missing the Holy Spirit. He is completely other than me. It is not me hyped up. When He comes upon me, He is completely separate from me, but using my body as a vessel. He is a Person. He is Power. He is not me. I was scared I would miss Him. Before now I thought the tiniest feelings needed to be submitted to or else I would completely miss Him. He is not tiny. No. I couldn’t miss Him. He is other-than me. He is He and now He is fully inside of me.
In the days to follow I was priviledged to wait and pray with friends as they sought for and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Their experiences and journey were as unique to each of them as there are people in the Family of God. Although the principles I’ve shared are universal, the application and fulfillment will be unique to each person seeking this Promise made by and given by Jesus.
HERE is a letter I wrote to a friend a few days after I was Baptized by the Holy Spirit. It was the encouragement she needed to receive the Baptism shortly after. A note about the shaking:
I don’t know why I shook the way I did as I was being Baptized in the Holy Spirit. I know that God is all-powerful and it doesn’t surprise me that my body would have such a strong reaction as the Holy Spirit was being poured into me. I’ve prayed with many and have met with many who have been Baptized and every experience has been unique to each person. God is a good Father and He knows how to satisfy the longings of all our hearts. The gifts and experiences He has for each of us are as unique as we are. I hope my journey has stirred a hunger that will drive you more deeply into God’s arms – the safest place to be.
Footnotes:  “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
 “But she answered and said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.’” Mark 7:28
 “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14
 “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5
”Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
 “If you love Me, keep My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him,
for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.”
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them. Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:15-27