When it comes to my walk of faith, non-denominational doesn’t begin to describe it. Though those are the churches I gravitate to, my experience has been broadened from birth by having a Jewish father and a Christian mother, by circumstances and by the Holy Spirit. Paul was this way, too. Though raised a devout Jew, he later developed a Heinz 57 approach to accepting and embracing people of all backgrounds.
I’m prone to dreams and visions. In my 20s, while living in NYC, I asked for and got a vision of God’s love that lasted three days. Everywhere I went I saw people as if looking at them from another dimension; I saw their hearts and I heard their thoughts. Most were rushing, rushing, rushing, and the Lord said, ‘they are rushing to the end of their lives.” I felt the heart and soul of God, calling to them, wanting them to turn and listen. I couldn’t have shaken that living holographic experience even if I had wanted to. When it lifted, I was forever changed. I was able to love others in a new way. I had been working in investment banking and freelancing as a writer. My employer had offered to pay for an MBA and I had gained acceptance at a reputable university. But my priorities were changed. I felt a call to the ministry. In retrospect, I understand now that I was simply being called to reprioritize everything I had ever believed and understood.
So, in the 90s, after attending a Pentecostal Bible College for two years, I began to go to seminary while starting several outreaches in another city. There were families and singles getting help with physical needs like food and clothing, toys for the kids, vocational assistance, even family counseling. What a joy it was to be the one to deliver a first bicycle to a child. Or hook them up with a volunteer who would take some children out for a movie and ice cream. Not to mention give counseling to families and see them mend broken relationships. So many stories, so many supernatural moments of grace and glory. It was during this time that I became the pastoral leadership for a large food kitchen and pantry in the city’s downtown. Eventually, I gave into discouragement as I encountered opposition and barriers to being a church pastor in the denominations I would have considered, both for being a woman and for being divorced. I transitioned to where such barriers were not in place, working at non-profit agencies and hospitals, with increasing responsibility. But I operated in much the same way, relying on the Lord to show me how to harness resources, inspire, teach and collaborate with others to help people out of desperate circumstances and dire need. He always came through. Always. It was and is also true in any venue that you and I can bring people only so far. They must also learn to rely on Him for themselves.
Living in reliance on the Holy Spirit develops that ability. It’s very much like building a muscle: it takes practice to get clarity. At first it can be like groping in the dark. Seek the Kingdom and the guidance will get stronger. The balance of how and where you will be called to spend your time will be different from other people, yet the principles of the Kingdom will be the same. There’s that theme of diversity again.
We’re never gonna be perfect, yet it is my hope that you, dear Reader, know that you are loved by the One who made you, when you read my books. That these stories of mine inspire you to follow the Almighty’s leading to do much of what you were put on this earth to do, somehow. It may not be what you’re thinking you should do, or what others have told you to do, it will be what you hear you are to do as you fellowship with the Father through the Holy Spirit. That experience is the greatest blessing.
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Danyelle Wolfe Read