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Dec 20, 2022 1184 David Hambley
Encounter

Life Changing

It’s time to let go & let God take over your life

I’m a 76-year-old cradle Catholic who grew up in an inter-church household with a Catholic mother and an Anglican father, so I never had the problem of the Orange and the Green. I am a European Chartered Engineer who accepted Jesus quite late in life.

Born during a time when the Catholic Church still demanded children of mixed marriages be baptized and brought up in “the faith,” I attended Catholic schools, learned about the sacraments, and duly made my first Confession and received First Holy Communion and Confirmation. I was even an altar server and remained a dutiful Catholic living at home until I left school and started an apprenticeship with a major electronics company. The apprenticeship led to a new job in a new town. After moving away, I started experiencing doubts about God and religion. Though I attended Mass regularly, I remember confessing that I thought I was losing my faith. The priest told me to pray about it. This I did badly, as I thought at the time.

Turning Point

Eventually, I fell in love with and married an Anglican woman. Life went on. Pauline and I had two boys who were baptized Catholic, and I continued being the same old “dutiful” Catholic I had always been. In 1989 I attended the Renew program at our parish. This was to become a major milestone in my pilgrimage to the Lord. Through this program I learned the importance of loving myself, for if you can’t love yourself how can you love anyone else?

Three years later, members of the parish ran a Life in the Spirit seminar, like the ALPHA program but without the pasta. I joined up because I wanted to do something to improve my prayer life. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was letting myself in for. During the penultimate evening I was prayed over for the baptism in the Holy Spirit although at the time I did not understand what this meant. Afterwards, standing in line for refreshments, I knew something important had happened.

The next day I was spiritually at 30,000 feet and it took me several days to come back to earth! I had become a Christian! I dusted off the Bible my wife had given me and I discovered the Word of God. This was the start of the disappearance of my lingering doubts about God. When I joined the parish prayer group I found strange people called Charismatics and struggled to make sense of their praying and singing in tongues. I told God I was not sure about this tongues business and then discovered the Lord’s mischievous sense of humor when shortly afterwards I received the gift myself.

Clearing the Mist

The Lord also revealed why I had been given the gift. My analytical mind often gets in the way of prayer, so the Lord gave me the gift of tongues to allow me to short circuit my mind and pray from the heart. My faith has become stronger and deeper. I am a reader at Mass and feel honored to be able to proclaim God’s word. I still find it difficult to pray, so the Lord again manifested his humor by seeing to it that I became the Intercessory Prayer Group Leader for a group of Christians from many Dunfermline Churches who feel drawn to “do something about the homeless.”

Since these experiences, I have experienced an almost complete healing of bad memories I have carried since childhood. I say ‘almost’ because I realize that, like Saint Paul, I have been left with a thorn in the flesh to guard me from the sin of pride.

We all receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit at our baptism and should unwrap them at our Confirmations. But I didn’t unwrap mine until my renewal some 30 years later. Since then, the Lord has made use of my gifts of discernment, prophecy, and healing. God has also disabused me of the false notion that focusing on Jesus would be disloyal to the Father. I had always felt close to the Father and the Spirit, but now Jesus has been revealing himself to me as my brother and friend.

Spiritually, I am not the same person I was thirty years ago. Yes, I get tired, worried, and frustrated. I am only human. However now I feel a deep inner peace regardless of what is going on at the surface. It was God who took the initiative in my life to bring about these changes. I only had to cooperate with his grace.

I thank you Father for the Gift of Your Son Jesus, my redeemer, and Your Holy Spirit without whom I can do nothing. As I continue my journey of life, may I always remember that You are with me at all times. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

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David Hambley

David Hambley is a retired chartered electronics engineer. Married for nearly 50 years, he lives with his wife and 2 sons in Scotland.

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