I was born on October 25, 1979 as Tyra Tamar Bosworth. For as long as I can remember I have been a Christian. I’ve always gone to church regularly, Vacation Bible School, I even went to church camp in the summers, you name it, I did it. In the fifth or sixth grade I was baptized and have since then grown up following Christ. And I really honestly thought I knew Him. In high school and college when life got tough I always pulled out my Bible to seek comfort. I was never much into praying that often to be honest, but occasionally I would. After I had our youngest child and we decided it was best for me to stay home with the kids full-time I started attending Bible studies. And honestly that’s when things really started changing for me. I started seeking a relationship with the God of my religion, taking Him off the shelf of my life and turning Him into the shelf on which everything else in my life now sits.
There were several big milestone moments along the way that really changed me. The first was when I made the realization that God is in control. (1 Peter 3:21b-22) There are no such things as coincidences in the life of a believer, because Jesus has complete authority! Well, this really changed my perspective on life a LOT. No coincidences in my life means that everything that has ever happened to me or ever will happen to me has a purpose. Everything! Which made me start thinking back… everything Lord? Everything? Hmmmmm…..
Then there was the day that changed my life forever and I’ll never forget it as long as I live. The day God spoke to me. ME! Well, more accurately, it was the day that I recognized my Shepherd’s voice for what it was. I was sitting at my dining room table doing my Bible study and I couldn’t get my friend Jill out of my head. She had, at the time, three rowdy boys and she was in a state of frustration with them, she needed a break! So I started praying for her and crying out for God to send someone to lighten her load for a while. And I kid you not, clear as day I heard (not with my ears, but with my heart in my head) “Well, YOU could take her kids for her!” I prayed something like “Hey, yeah, I COULD do that… wait a minute! Who said that???” It was then, in that moment that God finally came to life for me. You see, He’d always been there, had always been active, had always been talking to me, but I wasn’t listening for His voice and He wasn’t REAL to me. He was some guy up in heaven unreachable on His throne. Someone I could send messages to and read about, but know Him, like I know my husband? No, that wasn’t the God I had learned about my entire life. But that day, I realized that all those things I’ve read about in the Bible, they’re real too! They’re not just stories, they’re the Truth. And the things that God was willing to do for all of them… He’s willing to do for me too! For YOU! Yaweh sent Jesus so that we could have LIFE, and LIFE lived out to the fullest through a relationship with Him – made possible by the Holy Spirit. It’s through the Holy Spirit that two-way communication with God is possible. The Holy Spirit can only speak what Yaweh tells Him – He is the internet cable between God and humanity.
About a year ago I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and I now speak in a language that my brain doesn’t know. Yet my spirit, my tongue and the rest of my body sure do. I was having trouble writing that morning and a friend of mine came by to drop off some note cards she had for me. She asked if she could pray for me and the book. So I sat down at my desk and she laid her hands on my shoulders to pray, but she couldn’t think of any words to say. She didn’t know what to pray. So she asked if I would mind if she prayed in tongues. Now, up to that very moment I thought that was something reserved for Bible times, I had no idea it was even still possible today! I said “sure” in absolute amazement and she started praying. The most beautiful sounds just poured out of her lips like a gentle rain, quiet and peaceful and a little like bells. It was a language my ears had never heard before, but my spirit sure had and it responded! It knew and understood every word she spoke even though neither one of us had any clue what she was saying! When she finished, my whole person felt tingle-y and peaceful, like I’d been touched by an angel or something it was amazing. A little later that day she called me about some off the wall thing and the conversation turned to her prayer and how awesome it was to hear her pray in the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”) And she said “You know, you can pray like that too.” “WHAT!?! Really? How?” “You just ask Him.” (Luke 11:13 “If then you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”)
You see, everything God gave the apostles, He wants to give to us too. The apostles needed the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to tell the world (including those who spoke other languages) about the good news that an intimate relationship with God Almighty is possible! You see, it’s not ALL about heaven. Sure that’s a big part, but it’s not everything, there’s MORE! God doesn’t just want to talk to us when we get to heaven, He wants to talk to us NOW! He wants a relationship with us NOW! When Jesus died on the cross, He “gave up His Spirit” (Matthew 27:50) essentially releasing the Holy Spirit to come and dwell literally within our bodies. But only when we desperately want Him to. God doesn’t force us to have a relationship with Him, it’s all up to us. When you’re baptized in the Holy Spirit it’s like going from a dial-up internet connection to high-speed! It’s not really all about the speaking in a different language, that’s just simply giving the Spirit a voice. No, being Baptized in the Holy Spirit is a whole new level of complete-surrender and intimacy. You become much more sensitive to God’s gentle nudging and to His voice. And with practice listening and obeying it just keeps getting louder.
I didn’t just want to be Baptized in the Holy Spirit, I needed to be! As someone called to public ministry, I needed to surrender my mouth (especially) and my whole body to God. But I couldn’t reach my promised land by crawling on the ground like a caterpillar. No, just like a caterpillar isn’t made to roam on the ground his entire life, I, just like every other human on earth, was made to fly! We can only get to our promised calling by surrendering our lives and our bodies to the One who made them in the first place. So just like a caterpillar wraps itself up into a cocoon I asked the Holy Spirit to come and wrap me up in His love. To change me from the inside out and make me into what He intended me to be. And when I started to emerge from His tender hands, I just wasn’t the same anymore. Just like the caterpillar, my transformation took a lifetime, 31 years to be exact. 31 years of learning and growing until the time came when God called and said “You’ve been a caterpillar bound to the ground your entire life… How would you like for me to teach you how to fly?”
Siiiiiiigh….. and now, I am!
— Tamar Knochel: The Butterfly 🙂
“I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezekiel 36:26-27
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11