Below, is the text of an MS Word file, which was posted, years ago, on the website of an IANDS group.
Howard Storm - IANDS Conference 1998
What happens after the near-death experience. I am happy to be here. I want to thank all the Salt Lake City chapter and volunteers that worked so hard to put this beautiful conference together. Everything is running so smoothly and professionally.
I would also like to thank the national IANDS people who are here, and as far as I am concerned this is just a real pleasure for myself and I am assuming for everyone else.
When Elaine and I talked, we talked about the transformation that takes place after the NDE (near-death experience) and that is going to be the emphasis of my talk. The transformation, or what happens after the experience, and how does this affect you.
I have told my near-death experience story hundreds of times, and I know this is going to sound like an exaggeration, maybe thousands of times. I do it several times a month sometimes more. It has been thirteen years, so I don't know how many times. I tell it several times a month publicly, and sometimes privately I will tell it several times again.
The only reason I can tell it at all is through the power of the Holy Spirit. When I go to tell my story, it comes alive again. It is just the most amazing thing, I have no interest in speaking of it, I have heard it so many times, but the Holy Spirit takes over and it is like I was telling my story for the very first time.
A little boy took his friend to church, and the friend had never been to church before, this was a baptist church.
They went into church and the friend said, "Why do you have those candles on the table up front?"
And the boy said, "Those represent the light of God and the light of Christ. We light those at the beginning of the service to show that the light of Christ is with us."
Then the friend said, "What is that heavy brass thing that looks like a T or an S?"
The boy replied, "That is a cross and represents that Christ died for our sins."
All during the service the guest asked questions of his friend, who was a child, the meaning of this and that, and why does the minister wear a robe, and why is the choir singing, and things like that. When the preacher got up to begin preaching his sermon he took off his watch and put it on the pulpit like that (takes off watch and puts on table). "Well now, what does that mean?" says the guest.
The friend said, "That doesn't mean a darn thing."
Be forewarned! (Says Howard Storm.)
Many of you are familiar with my near-death experience. For those of you who aren't I am going to give the super abbreviated version. When I let the Holy Spirit take over I can take just a few minutes or it can take two to three hours to tell the story and that is still a very condensed- abbreviated version. If I were to tell you the whole thing it could take days or weeks. There are some parts I have never told any body, and I don't really know why. It is just not time to talk about it and maybe it never will be the time. I experienced things and was told things and, I guess, some things are just for my own edification and I never will be able to talk about them.
Let me give you a brief outline of what happened to me.
In 1985 I was a professor at Northern Kentucky University. I was a full college professor but I was a real arrogant, like so many college professors. I will tell you why, when you have a real expertise on a topic, more than anybody else in the whole world, and if you are a full professor, you know more than anybody else in the whole world about something about that big (using a little bity voice), and you've got it. There are very few people who can challenge your authority. And you've got the wonderful opportunity to stand in front of a classroom of bright, young people and tell them what the truth is. That is a very heady ego experience, almost as ego enhancing as being a preacher. (Laughter) It is dangerous for many faculty, and I include myself. I got to the point where I thought I knew an awful lot about life and what I was doing.
I was raised in a protestant New England home in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. I rebelled against my family, and all that, and ended up by going to college and learning about existentialism, which is of course atheistic, and becoming a sort of socialist/communist. This was at Dennison University which is where Dickins went. I remember being intrigued by him. He would take me off in the evening and we would go to bars, this was when I was seventeen years old, and drink draft beer and smoke Camel cigarettes and talk about how stupid everyone was. Because they believed in God, they believed in Heaven and Hell, and they believed in democracy. It was a real seduction. If you remember the Star Wars movie about the dark side of the force. I was really turned over, but I did it all knowingly. Mr. Dickins didn't do anything to me that I wasn't begging for, which was to give me a sense of arrogance, a sense of contempt for everything that I had been raised to believe.
As I went through college I discovered the true philosophy of the United States of America. I submit to you that the true philosophy of America is to take care of yourself. Get everything you can get, and live for pleasure, and don't go to jail, if you can possibly help it. And so I was intelligent enough to push things to the limit without ever breaking the civil law that would put me in prison. And many people in our society, I would say, the majority of people in our society, live that kind of philosophy of life. It is my firm conviction that this is not a God fearing society nor is it a Christian society by any stretch of the imagination. This society is basically a hedonistic with a philosophy of pure materialism, and that is who I was. And it was reinforced by the culture, every day in every way; the radio, TV, the faculty that I hung out with, the students, that I was able to influence, the books that I was reading all reinforced this.
So this contributed to bring about a catastrophic medical situation which was my stomach, actually my small stomach, which burst and the hydrochloric acid and enzymes and bacteria that make up the digestive juices were leaking into my abdominal cavity and I was digesting myself. The result was excruciatingly painful, the worst kind of pain I had ever experienced in my entire life.
At that time we were in Paris. I was taken to a hospital where there was, unfortunately, no surgeon who was available do anything for me, because they had left for the weekend. I was in a room for ten hours. When I told doctors in the United States later they told me the situation was like having a burst appendix, where if you get to it quickly it is no big deal. But if you leave it it quickly starts to develop into a really bad case of peritonitis and if you live long enough it would be fatal. The thing went from bad to worse and a nurse came in around 8:30 that night and told me they were unable to find a doctor to do anything for me. They would try to find a doctor the next day.
I had been given no medication and I had not been seen by a doctor from the time I left the Emergency Room to the time I had been taken to this other hospital, a surgical hospital. If you ever get sick in Paris, get on the Concorde, just don't go to that hospital. I highly recommend to avoid that hospital.
When the nurse told us that there was no doctor available I said I was dying, my wife was listening, and I had told her for several hours that I was dying. My wife believed me, I believed me, my roommate believed me, and we said our goodbyes and I went unconscious.
Probably, in a very short while I awoke and found this object on the bed. It bore a remarkable resemblance to my body, which I couldn't believe was me. It was like I was seeing ghosts. I didn't believe I was dead, it never occurred to me that I was dead. I knew that something very bazaar was going on. I tried to communicate with my wife and my roommate, Monsieur Fleurin, and they were unresponsive to me. I became very agitated, I heard people outside the room calling me, "Howard, come with us, come now, we have been waiting for you a long time, it is time to go." I thought they were hospital personnel and they were going to take me to have the surgery I needed and had been begging for, and my wife had been begging for all day long.
They led me down the corridor, which became darker and darker. There was no time so whenever I refer to time I misspeak myself. But this period of the walk with the people, from the corridor in the darkness, took quite awhile. Like walking from Salt Lake City to Provo, or something similar, it was a real long walk, and real slow. When I finally got to the point I would no longer go on, I told them I wasn't going to go with them any further, they started to push and pull at me and I began to fight back.
I felt as though my stomach was gone, I didn't have any sense of time. When they began to fight and claw, and tear, and push and pull it hurt exactly as it would in this world. Matter of fact, my senses hurt a little more, actually the pain was a little more exquisite. The more that they hurt me the more it encouraged them to inflict more pain. They got some kind of gratification out of inflicting this pain on me. At this time, it seemed to me that they were almost devoid of any physical sensation so they were trying to derive sensation from my pain. The greater pain was to the cruelty, and humiliation, and the consequence of defilement of me which was much worse than just being ripped to bits. I found myself lying on the floor of that place, and I heard my voice but it did not come from my throat, it was the weirdest thing, it felt like my voice came out of my chest.
My voice said, "Pray to God." and I thought, I don't believe in God, I don't have any idea of how to pray. A second time, my voice, recognizing my voice, said, "Pray to God." I thought, I don't pray and I don't know how to pray even if I wanted to pray. I had forgotten how to pray, in fact looking back it was probably twenty-two or twenty-three years since I had said a prayer. A third time, and somewhat more emphatic I heard, "Pray to God". I was wondering. What were those things that I had learned, those phrases, those magical incantations, when I was young, that I said. Not really meaning to pray but trying to remembering them and accidentally a few of those phrases came out of my mouth. Something like this, "Heaven. . . For amber waves of grain . . . and purple mountains majesty . . . I pledge allegiance . . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . . Forgive us our sins. . . . And I realized this was coming out all wrong, I don't know how to do it, but the interesting thing that was happening to these people. These are not demons, by the way, I am trying to emphasize this by saying they are people in this darkness. These people reacted with extreme hostility to the words that I was saying. They spoke in a language that was far more vulgar and obscene than anything I have ever been exposed to in this world. But the message was very simple, there is no God, nobody can hear you, and if you don't stop praying we are going to really hurt you, like what they had done to me. By the way, I didn't tell you what they really did to me, you don't need to know. It was like, wow, I can get them back! I can make them angry, by mentioning God, just trying to think of phrases, something that refers to God. Believing at the time that prayer had to be a memorized thing, I didn't know that you could pray from your heart, that you could just address God, I believed you had to have something memorized. I was trying to remember, and as we spoke together they retreated away from me being unable to bear the mention of God. They retreated into the darkness and left me alone. This is the part of the experience that is hard to talk about because they left me alone in that darkness for an incalculable amount of time.
I thought about what has happened to me, what I had done with my life, what it all meant. In the briefest possible terms, this is what I had concluded, after having had months, years, an eternity to think about my life. I thought my life was a complete waste. I had not been a good son, I had not been a good husband, I had not been a good father, I was a mediocre teacher, in a mediocre school, in a mediocre university, and that I had no joy in my life. I had lived selfishly and manipulatively for my own gain, and what had I accomplished. I had a few fair weather friends, but basically my life seemed to be pretty pathetic. It occurred to me that I had died in that Paris hospital and, dimensionally, when I had died, I was no longer visible to my wife and Monsieur Fleurin anymore. And that these people that inhabited this other dimension, that I had gone into, when I had died, they were the garbage men and women of the universe and they were taking me down the garbage chute, into the garbage heap, into the sewer, of the universe, into the cesspool, where I could live with like minded people there for all eternity. And it was right, and just, and proper, and I didn't have anything in the world to complain about, because I belonged to them. They were my soul mates and they belonged to me. That didn't make me real happy but I knew that that was the truth, the undeniable truth, that they too had lived selfishly, and arrogantly, and manipulatively all their lives never caring more about another person than they cared about themselves. And certainly never giving a thought to there being a God, a Supreme Being , a Higher Entity, a Higher Power, a Greater Reality. They denied that because their idolatry was self worship, and we were soul mates. The reason I had to say that was because it is really painful to have to admit that about yourself. I am not proud about that at all but I am telling you that because that is just the way it was. As I thought about my fate, being with these people, forever and ever and ever, this has nothing to do with time it means there would never be any reality for me other than their reality. which was outer darkness, hopelessness, dispair, pain, anguish, and just sort of gnawing at each other, that was their reality, and that would be my reality.
I sank deeper and deeper into a state of despair and then came an unbelievably beautiful, welcome, vivid, memory into my mind of myself as a child sitting, probably in a Sunday School classroom, a little child singing "Jesus Loves Me". All I could remember was, "Jesus loves me la, la, la . . . Jesus loves me . . ." over and over again. The thing about that memory was, I could feel in a very vivid way that there was a time when I was a little person when I believed in something other than me. I believed in something good, and whole, and wonderful, and amazing. I didn't know anything about Jesus but I knew that I had believed in something as a kid. And if I ever believed in anything good, and true, and out there, that cared about me, this was the time. Like a person, out there, drowning, you know like they say you come up and down three times, I felt like this was my last chance. I called out, in the darkness, with all the strength I could muster, "Jesus, please save me."
Not having a clue whether there really was a Jesus or whether he was capable of saving me, but hoping with everything I had that it would be true. And to my complete astonishment, first a tiny light appeared in the darkness, and then this overwhelmingly brilliant light. As Dr. Ritchie said, last night, if you took 10,000 welding lights and put them together . . . , but that still wouldn't describe the brightness of light. In this world that light would just consume everybody, you would all be vaporized by the light, but it is not that kind of light. It is the light of love and instead of vaporizing you it gives you life and it gives you love. Out of that light came arms which reached down and touched me and gently picked me up and as I was being picked up I was being healed and made whole. I was so horrible, because of all wounds and gore all of that stuff disappeared. I was picked up and embraced by this man, who was within this light. You don't have to ask me about him because, I can never describe him any better because his brilliance was all I ever saw. I addressed him as Jesus and he responded as Jesus and as far as anything I know that is holy, and as God is my witness, it was Jesus Christ and that is the end of that story.
He is my best friend, he is my Savior, he's the one that loves me, he knows me, and when he was there it was like he knew everything that had ever happened in my life. All those things that I am so ashamed of that I have never told anybody. I have never told my wife, my mother, my sisters, I would never tell anyone, He knows it, didn't necessarily like it, but he loves me anyway. All the times I blasphemed Him, and I am talking hundreds of times a day, I blasphemed Him, He really doesn't like that but He still loves me and He knows everything about me, and He accepts me just the way I am. It's unbelievable! Just unbelievable! So I did the only reasonable thing I could do in a situation like that, I bawled all over Him like a baby. Like I snotted on Him, and I cried on Him, and I throbbed on Him, and He rubbed my back. It was like He was going, "There, there, there, there." It was sort of like a mother with her child. Just trying to give me comfort and love, and they took me out of that place. As we were moving toward heaven, I want to be real clear, I never got to heaven, we were going towards heaven and I felt the power of God, and the holiness of God, and the love of God, emanating out of heaven. I thought to myself, and I have to clean this up, I thought I am a filthy rag, I don't belong here, He has made a terrible mistake. And with that we ceased our movement towards heaven and he spoke to me for the first time, speaking directly into my mind, he said, "We don't make mistakes, you belong here."
I thought, wow, not only is he cool, and he flies, but he talks, this is great-and he loves me. We began to converse and the conversation was real simple. I would think and everything I would think he would understand. One of the things I thought, I said, "You understand everything I think."
And He said, "Yes."
I said, "What if I think something I don't want You to hear?"
He said, "I'll hear it."
I thought, what if I thought of something I didn't want Him to hear? He started laughing and thought it was funny and the magic word was "breast". I thought "breast" and He heard that and He thought that was so funny that I would think of that, as something that I would not want Him to know that I would ever think about. He looked to the light in me because I was so intimidated by Him and He was trying to tell me something. He was saying there is nothing you have ever done, there is nothing that you have ever thought that I don't know so you don't have to hold anything back. You don't have to hold anything back because I know you better than you know yourself. Then He called some of His friends forward and we had a life review. His friends were angels and there were about seven of them.
My life review, as we started, was chronological. We didn't do every moment of my life, we would do a scene, it would be a three dimensional scene, of my life. We would experience it from different points of view. It was interesting because I never experienced my life from the perspective of having lived it through my eyes. The life review was from the perspective of other points of view. Sometimes we would actually hear and feel the feelings of my mother, or my sister, or my wife. Sometimes we would even see the consequences down the road or the things that built up to it. For example, I always thought my father was an insensitive, cruel man and I would see how he would work twelve hours a day, as a salesman, getting rejection, after rejection, after rejection. In "Death of a Salesman", Willie Loman was my Dad. He lived in a world where he would make twelve to twenty calls a day and be lucky if he got one or two sales a week. He would come home burned out, and angry, and because he was in that kind of a mood I would reject him. I would turn away and reject his need for my love. That would confirm my feelings about him and I saw how I had participated in the family dynamics. I had always thought that I was the victim of a bad father, and I found out that my father was the victim of a bad son. It was a shocker! In my whole life there were never situations where I could really blame people. As we went through my life I would say, "Hay, wait a minute. Let's go back there." I got put on the football team, I was a sophomore, I was on the reserve football team, but I started in the Westfield game. But they didn't show that, they said it wasn't really important. What we want you to see is some incident with your sister, some incident with your mother, or with a friend, some act of compassion.
As my life review went on it became clear that the only thing they were interested in was whether I treated other people with compassion or not. And as my life went on I saw increasingly more sophisticated ways of becoming more manipulative and self-centered. It hurt terribly to see that. It hurt worse because, here was my new best friend, the best friend I would ever have, in the whole universe, and all He wanted me to do was a few friendly acts of kindness. Instead, I turned my back towards people and it was killing Him. I could feel His pain. He was so disappointed, and the angels were so disappointed, they also let me know that they were conduits of God's feelings. God was disappointed because God had created me to perform a few simple tasks in my life and I had rejected them. To love my family, to be a good person, to be a good God fearing person and I had rejected all that. That is all that God wanted me to do, to learn about love. He had given me a few people to interact with in the whole universe. To give love and to receive love and I had rejected the assignment and the learning opportunity, for the sake of my fame and fortune in this world, which is a total joke. It was unbearable, I begged them to stop showing me my life. Many times I said, "I can't take anymore of this, I can't take anymore of this."
They said, "You have to see this through."
When we were done I was so relieved and they said, do you have any questions. I said I've got millions of questions and they said to ask whatever you like so I asked them every question, at that time, that I could think of. Every single question I asked they answered simply, kindly, straightforwardly. Even to the point of producing the situation, I asked them about the holocaust and we were at Auchwitz. We were experiencing Auchwitz and I can never talk about that because it was so awful. I started to get the point that I had to be careful about what I asked because they were going to show me. I asked them about the future if the world keeps going the way it is going. And they showed me that and that was awful. I asked what would it be like if we changed our ways? And they showed me a beautiful picture. I asked them some personal questions, I asked some biblical questions, I asked Jesus lots questions about himself. About what he had done and what he hadn't done. All the answers were straightforward, and all the answers particularly the ones to Jesus were all fascinating answers but still haunt me to this day. Let me give you an example, I said to Jesus, are the things that are written in the Bible, which I was completely ignorant of since I hadn't had any interaction with the Bible since I was a child. I asked, "Are all those things in there about you true?"
He said the Bible is not true about me at all. I asked how that was, and he said, "I've done so much more in this world that the Bible is just a little tiny glimpse of what I did when I was in this world. Just a little tiny glimpse to sort of wet your curosity, but it doesn't begin to cover what I really did in the world."
I thought, wow, and I think about that all the time. When people come to me and say, "Pastor, are these stories about Jesus doing this and that, are they true?"
I tell them that they tell them enough that they need to know. That there is much more truth that there a lot more, it is just a little, bitty, baby introduction to Jesus and his work in the universe. When we were done with the questions and answers I said I want to go to heaven. They said, "No you have to go back. You have to go and do the things that God created you to do in the first place." I can't go through this whole big argument because of time, but, first of all I had been created to love my parents, to love my two sisters. And eventually to learn about love by being given a woman who, to this day, is my wife Beverly. To learn how to love her, and protect her, to receive her love, and to grow in love and to learn about love from each other. That we would be blessed, and in fact are blessed, with children, to learn more how to give and receive love and nurture love. And to love the work that God has inspired me to do, and my colleagues, and my students. I will tell you what, I'll go to heaven, you take care of my family. (Laughter)
I knew that my family would be in much better hands with Jesus and the angels taking care of them. They said that actually they had been taking care of them because I had not been doing a very good job and it is time that I started taking care of them. So we talked about a lot of things about why I should be allowed to go to heaven, the final argument was, "I can't go back because if you send me back I will die of a broken heart. Because no one has ever known me the way you know me and no one has ever loved me the way you love me." I am referring to Jesus. I said, "I've never known anybody like you, as good as your are, anybody that knows me the way you do and still likes me, if you send me back I'm going to die back there."
They said, "Don't you know we have always been with you, we will always be with you?"
I said, "Is it going to be like before? I'll never hear you, never see you, never touch you?"
They said, "Yes, it is going to be like that."
And I said, "If You send me back I'll die, I can't go back!"
They said, "If you'll pray, once in awhile, you'll know we're around. You'll probably never see us, or hear us, or feel us but you'll just know that our love is with you. If you pray." And they talk a lot about prayer, and contrition, and forgiveness, and coming real out front with God, real honest with God. Then getting quiet and just centering on the goodness of God and the love of God. They talked about how to pray, when you get into that state where you could possibly be receptive to the Spirit of God to be around you. I said, "If you promise." And I made Jesus and every angel promise, they all had to promise in turn, that they would help me make it here.
And so with that I was back. And when I was back immediately I went from unbelievable ecstasy back into this body of pain. I was like a fish out of water, gasping. I couldn't get by breath and the pain was just overwhelming, it was just screaming, knockout, incredible pain.
The nurse, who had just finished telling me that they couldn't get a doctor, came back and said the doctor arrived at the hospital and they were going to do the surgery right away. They bodily removed my wife from the room, and I was being prepped for the operation. As I was being wheeled by my wife on the gurney, out of the room, to go where the operation was to be performed I said to her that every was going to be wonderful now. She burst out in tears, she thought this was like the condemned man talking, but I really meant it. After the surgery I woke up and I was lying on a stainless steel table with drains in it, I was stark naked and I looked down at my chest which was covered with sort of a brownish, cinnamon colored paint, I don't know what it was. (Someone in the audience called out the substance was Betadine.) I was covered with the stuff and there was a little railroad track, I still have the railroad track, covered with fifty-six staples, they were washing me with a warm sudsy water, they would scrub, then they would take this really cold rinse water and rinse off the really warm water. It felt like, ooh, oww, ooh, oww. I looked at the nurse, and there are tubes and stuff, because I had a tube stuck down through my nose, I didn't feel like I could talk so I started moving. The nurse looked at me, she was very concerned, and said in French that I wasn't supposed to be awake. She called for the doctor and the doctor said he can't be awake. She went over to the doctor and said that his eyes were moving. As the doctor was coming over, I really didn't like this man because he should have been there hours and hours before instead of waiting until now to do this. So I didn't want to talk to him, I didn't want to deal with him so I closed my eyes. So he chews out the nurse and told her in French not to bother him with this silliness again because he couldn't be awake, he was under the anesthetic. So the nurse bends over and looks into my eyes and I open my eyes and say, "Hi!" And she leaps back. So I said to her, with this tube down my throat, which really hurt, and I said, "Is this heaven or is this hell?" I wasn't sure.
She then said, in French, "I don't understand what you are talking about."
And I said, "I know, it's all right." and I closed my eyes and a great sadness came over me. The next time I was awake I was in this area, laughingly called, a recovery area, of the hospital.
The next day, which was Sunday, my wife came in and she said, "Howard."
I said, "It's all love, it's just love, it's like you took a dive an ocean and it is all love. Just let yourself go and take all the love in."
She said, "I'll come back later when you're feeling better." I was in this terrific pain. Because I didn't know how long I would be around and how long I would be able to communicate. I wanted to get my experience across to her and it was quite evident that my wife thought I was hallucinating.
It was very frustrating. After that day I would try to tell her little pieces of the experience. Because I would get so emotionally distraught, I was so close to it, the emotions were extremely raw Then my wife would get upset and tell me not to talk about it because I would get so upset. I told her I had to talk about it and over the period of a week I told her the entire experience. I knew it was going to take quite awhile for it to register as the truth.
Meanwhile, I would like to tell you about the transformative part of the experience. I kept wondering if it had really happened or if I had somehow fabricated the experience in my mind. I know in my heart that the most significant part, what is true and real, that it had happened to me. I also know that nobody is going to believe it. Did I manufacture this is a function of my brain? Did I really go these places and see these things?
On Tuesday, I was brought up to the room. Monsieur Fleurin was taken for tests around 11:00 o'clock and I was left alone. I was wide awake, this was shortly after 11:00 a.m., the sun was streaming in the window, no curtain, I am lying there in my bed and I hear a voice. It said, "You can't get well in this hospital, so have to go back to America. Go home Monday." I lift my head up and look around the room and there is no one there. So I said, "Great, now I am hearing voices." The voice said, "Believe!"
It said believe, and I said, "Oh great, now I have got to believe."
My wife showed up at 2:00, the beginning of visiting hours, my wife is a wonderful person and a very successful attorney. Do any of you watch "Law and Order"? You know the new woman they have on "Law and Order"? That is my wife. She is verbally assertive and aggressive, she has the most incredible mind I have ever know, I worship this woman. I never want to go up against her.
My wife said, "If you ever leave me you will have nothing, you won't even have your shoes." And I believe her. ( Lots of laughter.) So she comes into the room at 2:00 in the afternoon which was the beginning of the visiting period at the hospital. I am going to give you verbatim what transpired.
I said to her, "Go get plane tickets because I have to go home Monday." I am scheduled to be in this hospital for a month because I have had major abdominal surgery. I am doing really badly, by the way. I find out a few days later that I have a collapsed lung, extreme peritonitis, and I was diagnosed as having non A non B hepatitis, I don't think I had hepatitis C because I am still alive. I had no liver function, my SGOT's and SGAT's were 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000, my bilirubin went up to 380, I was in bad shape. I told my wife to get plane tickets because we had to go home Monday.
She says, "Okay, dear." She walks out into the hall, goes to the pay phone, that was in the hall, and with a couple of francs places a collect call to Iowa City, Iowa, to her Mom and Dad. She says she needs a couple of thousand dollars because we have got to come home right away.
My Mother and Father-in-law said, "Give us your number and we will call you right back." They call their banker in Iowa City, who had just gotten back from a disastrous trip to Paris, France and had to have money wired over in an emergency. He tells them to tell Beverly (Howard's wife) that the money will be at such and such a bank in ten minutes.
They call Beverly back, she comes into the room and says, "I have to leave for a few minutes, I'll be back in a little while, I have got to go get the money." She comes back a couple of hours later. She had done a completely ridiculous thing, she had gone by the American Embassy for help, which was completely futile and wasted time. She went to the bank, got the money, went to TWA and bought two tickets, with cash, for 8:00 Monday morning. She comes into the room, holds up the two tickets, and says we are going home Monday morning.
I said, "Are you crazy, I'm sick, I'm supposed to be here a month, how am I going to go home on Monday? "
She said, "You just told me a little while ago that we were going home Monday."
I said, "Oh, that was somebody else. You don't believe anything I ever say. Why did you believe that? Are you out of your mind?"
She said, "Do you want me to take the tickets back and get the money back?"
I said, "Don't sell the tickets. Something has happened."
She said, "I don't know what you want me to do. First you wanted me to get the tickets. Now you want me to get rid of the tickets."
I said, "Just hang on to them."
On Saturday morning when the nurse came in to take my temperature, at this hospital when they take your temperature they take it rectally, I had been watching the converter which showed my temperature to have been running between 104 ½E and 108E. I was soaked all the time with sweat. They were giving me no medication. I was doing really badly, so lying in that room Saturday morning I said, "Thanks a lot, we can't afford to pay my Mother and Father-in-law back $2,000, you tricked me to believe, and I am never going to get home. I just want you to know that I don't appreciate it."
Here I am, pouting, sitting alone in this room, and the voice says, "Believe." Here it is that believe thing again, I hate this believe thing!
When my wife came to visit me on Saturday she brought my clothes, soap, and my shaving things. I had never been bathed or shaved since I came to this hospital. I really reeked! She brought towels we didn't have towels, we didn't have blankets at this hospital. Sunday morning I wake up and I feel great! I get out of bed. Saturday afternoon they had taken the last of the staples out of me. Sunday, I bathed myself, I washed my hair and this took a lot of work because I was using the sink in the bathroom. The day before I couldn't even sit up, I feel just great. I bathed my feet, I bathed my hair, I shaved myself, I brushed my teeth I get all cleaned up. My wife shows up and I am sitting there all pretty and clean and raring to go.
We go walking out to the nurses desk and the nurse starts yelling at us. I tell her she is wrong, not me, I am being released today, it is your mistake, go get the doctor. She runs and gets the doctor, the doctor comes and asks what is going on. I tell him that I am going to be released today and where are my papers. He says, "I'll release you." He just wants to get me out of there so he goes to get the papers. He releases and so we then go stay at my wife's hotel and that is where we wait until we can go to catch the flight back to the United States.
Our flight between Kennedy and the United States was delayed four hours. I am sitting in the Kennedy Airport, and I have been up for hours, and I knew I wasn't going to make it. I could feel this really bad feeling coming over me. I told my wife I had to go to the bathroom. I was in a wheelchair so she took me to the door of the bathroom. There I ran cold water over my hands and face, I wanted to get the sweat off me. I wanted to get clean before God, because I didn't want God to see me dirty.
I then said to God, "God, let me go home! I don't want to die in this airport and I don't want to die in New York City. I just want to go home." When I came out of that bathroom and I told my wife I was going to make it. When we got to Cincinnati and I got off the plane we went to St. Luke's Hospital.
My family doctor was there, he had been apprized of the whole situation. Jack Grover is the most saintly person I know, was at the hospital and he said, "I don't know how you ever made it here." I told him I had some powerful friends.
He looked at me funny and I thought, "He is going to send me to the psych ward if I tell him who my friends are." I did not know what Jack's faith was and I didn't want to find out at my expense. I was in that hospital for quite awhile, and everyone that would come to see me, every doctor, every nurse, every specialist would tell me I was critical. (I was having all they people come to see me.) I stayed critical for five weeks.
I would tell them about Jesus and angels. I would ask them if they knew they were holy men because they were doing the God's holy work and he had given them the gift of healing in their hands. I would tell them there were angels all around them and they were smiling at them. At this time I was really opened up and I could see angels and demons all around me. I could see people's feelings. I was in a real strange place, I was also crazy and out of my head. I found out later that I was the joke of St. Luke's Hospital. People used to come and see me so they could see what the crazy guy was going to say next.
I am in the hospital and I am not getting well. The problem was that I didn't want to get well, I wanted to die. My family didn't believe me, my mother didn't believe me. My sainted mother didn't believe me! She didn't want to hear me, my kids didn't want to believe me, no one wanted to believe me. My few friends, that came to visit me, weren't interested in anything I had to say. They just wanted me to stop all this Jesus stuff. I thought, "I'm out of here." I have no place or am of no value of anyone in this world. I am going home and the way to go home is to die." So I am willing myself not consciously but unconsciously to die. I know I can't kill myself so I will just die.
My weight dropped to 165 lbs., It was a weight loss of almost a hundred pounds in just a few weeks. I was going bad quick, and as I was going the angels would come and speak to me. They would tell me that I need to get better. I just kept telling them I wanted to go home, I didn't want to get better. I would be conscious and awake and there would be an angel in the room. The thing I always hated was that they would never hang around for anyone to come in and see them. I kept wishing that a nurse would come in and I would say, "You are not going to believe this, but there is an angel in here and we have talking for about a half hour".
And she would say, "That's nice Mr. Storm".
I really want you to get this message. This is how God works, and this is one of the things I learned. There is a new night nurse on, she is 22 years old, she is blond, and she is really cute, cute, cute, and I just love Lisa. My wife hated to come to the hospital because all she would hear about was this third shift nurse called Lisa. How kind Lisa was, and how sweet Lisa was, Lisa understands me, and Lisa gave me a sponge bath, and Lisa was so pretty. My wife would think, great, I have been knocking myself out and all I hear about is Lisa.
One night Lisa comes on and, I can't hold down water chips, if they put ice chips in my mouth I have dry heaves for two hours. I am taking nothing, I am just being fed intravenously. I am getting real bad, my eye sight is just about gone, I can make out greys and shapes. My mental functions are just about gone. I have no strength. I don't get out of bed, I am just lying in bed, I am fading away. Supposedly I am on a liquid diet, you know, broth, jello, and tea, I am not taking water and I will have none of it. I will take nothing by mouth and haven't for weeks. Lisa comes in one night and says, "You need a milk shake with raw eggs and protein supplement in it. I told her just the thought of that made me sick. She asked me my favorite flavor. I told her it used to be chocolate. She said she would go down to the cancer treatment center where they had really good gourmet ice cream where she would make me a milk shake with milk, and real ice cream, and raw eggs, and protein and she said she would bring it back and make me drink it.
This is not on the chart. You realize that Lisa could be fired. I told her she was nuts and that if she did this she could be fired and he would get sick and throw up all over her and it would be a disaster. Then she used the magic word, no one had thought to use this word before, and she said, "But I am going to make the milk shake out of love. And you are going to drink it." I didn't know what to say because she had used the love word on me.
She comes back a little later with this giant milk shake, with the protein supplement and eggs, and ice cream, I didn't know what to do with it. She sits with me while I sip the whole thing down. It must have taken a couple of hours. Because she is looking at me with those big old love eyes talking about love I know I have to drink it and I have to enjoy it. The next day I start eating and I got well.
God did something. The angels aren't just supernatural creatures, sometimes angels are people, people like Lisa, people like you and I to whom God give some kind of strange directive to. When I spoke to my wife and told her to get those plane tickets. It was totally out of character for her to do this. Later when I asked my wife what made her do it. She said she didn't know why, she was under some sort of supernatural compulsion to do it. I don't know why. I said it was so unlike her and she agreed it was completely unlike her. She said she had to do it but I had to do it. I don't know why Lisa would go against all the medical policy, jeopardizing her job and my health to get me that milk shake, but she was under some sort of compulsion and did it. It turned me around. Somebody had to break the cycle of self pity, and suicidal morbidity, I was in. She just used the love word, which nobody had bothered to use on me.
Time went by. I went home I was trying to build up my strength and said I wanted to go to church so badly because, it was given to me in my understanding, that is where the light of God and the spirit of God was being spoken about, propagated. I did not know where to go to church because I had not been in a church for my adult life. I kept praying for a few weeks and the answer I got was, "Go back, go back." This made no sense to me. Did this mean go back to being an atheist? It didn't make any sense. Was there an atheist church I could go to? It seemed crazy.
I was talking to a woman and I explained that I didn't know where to go to church. I told her that I kept hearing, "Go back." It sounded crazy. She told me that I should go back to where I was planted. And she repeated this. I didn't understand so she asked what church I had gone to and I told her I had been a Congregationalist. She said she went to a Congregational Church. I asked her the name of it and she said the Christ's Church. When my wife got home I asked her if she knew a Christ's Church, she said she did and that it was about 3/4 of a mile from where we lived. It was where my daughter sang with the high school glee club, where they gave all their performances that I never went to, where my wife had to go. I said we will go there Sunday. On Sunday I wasn't quite ambulatory yet, so my wife got me cleaned up and dressed and we got into the car. Darn it! We had to park across the street in the parking lot. It was the closest we could get. By the time I walked through the parking lot, across the street, and up the stairs, more stairs than you can imagine, I am struggling putting all my copious pounds on my wife, all my 160-70 pounds. She is dragging me along and I look like death warmed over. When we get inside the service has already started and they are singing, "A Mighty Fortress is My God". The ushers open the doors from the Narfex into the Sanctuary, I look around and the place is filled with golden light. There are hundreds of angels filling the place. All the beautiful golden angels and they are listening to and taking in the praise to God that the people are lifting up.
I did what any sensible person would do in a situation like that. I dove into the carpet, like taking a dive off the high board. I just dove into it. The ushers were getting a little panicky because they thought I had a stroke or something. My wife is leaning over me saying, "Get up, get up, get, up!"
I was saying, "Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!" This church is like a main line church. If I had been in a Pentecostal church I would have been made pastor. They get me into a pew and I know that the closest I am going to get to heaven in this world is in a worshiping congregation. I am not suggesting that Christ's Church in Fort Thomas is any better than any church or any other group of people worshiping God. I am saying that wherever two or three are gathered in my name is God, Christ, the angels are there, participating, enjoying that experience. I have experienced that many times in many places since that experience. I am crying my little heart out and my wife is saying to me, in her little stage whisper, "We will never go to church again!." She is saying, "You blew it, you blew it this time."
I am crying, I couldn't get up for the hymn, I couldn't get up for the prayers, people are looking at me and thinking, "That poor man!"
Well, the next Sunday we went back because I spent all week telling my wife, "I'll be good, I promise I won't cry and won't say, praise Jesus and all that stuff." My wife takes me back and, of course, I lied I did all the same stuff over again. They sort of kept us in the back right section where the undesirable people sat in the pews.
In time the pastor came to visit. He was excited about getting a real college professor in his congregation even though this one was a real nut case. He began to assimilate me into that church. I am getting a little ahead of myself because I want to tell you about one other experience with one other religious person I happened to meet.
The only religious person, that I could think of, that in my entire life, in my entire circle was a nun that I had as an art student in 1972-73, as an art student. Her name is now Sister Dolores, they stopped using saints, it used to be Sister Patrick and she hated it. Sister Dolores had sent me at Christmas time, birthday, Easter, weird cryptic cards saying weird things like, "I am praying for you. God loves you." I would think, whew, Sister Dolores, sent me another, like somehow I would be tainted with the message. She and I had kept in contact with some phone calls, and I had done some art lectures for her American History classes at the school she taught at. So I thought I would call Sister Dolores and tell her what happened. She was the first person who heard my whole story besides my wife and my family. She just sat there and listened to the whole thing and when it was done she is just sitting there with that little nun habit, she wore a full habit, and her little nun posture. She never moved, she never fidgeted, she just looked at me with her little nun eyes.
I said, "Sister, do you believe me?"
She said, "Of course, I believe you, I just have one problem. I don't know why it took so long."
I said, "What do you mean, it took so long?"
She said, "I've been praying for you, since 1972, every day. That God would get your attention, that God would give you faith, and I don't know why it took all these years."
So I say to you, watch out for sisters, for any man or woman of faith that gets a case for you and starts praying. Their prayers will move heaven and earth.
In this church, of a couple of hundred people, that I started going to, I found a group of people that were no better than me, no worse than me. Some seemed to be better, nicer than me and some seemed to be not as nice as I was. The one thing that everyone had in common was they were all trying to learn about God, about how to be a better person, and I thought that was so extraordinary. The other thing I thought was so extraordinary was, nobody ever asked for my curriculum vita, no one ever once asked to see my publication record, no one seemed concerned whether I could get on the tenure track into the church or not. They just welcomed me! "Oh, hi, welcome. Happy hymnal. Do you want to be part of a bible study class?" These people didn't seem to know about me, they just accepted me. They didn't know that I was the most foul mouthed, God bashing guy at the university. I found out they actually did know that but it wasn't of interest to them, they just accepted me, not for who I was or what I could do for them. They didn't seem to care that I had degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. That didn't mean anything to them. All that it meant that I was there on that spiritual path, the same spiritual press they were on. And they assimilated me into the church which is a very important part of any community. And they loved me. I graduated in time from helping to paint the nursery to being a Sunday School teacher. Later I was actually admitted into a lay ministry program. Eventually from the late ministry program, in 1988. . .
One evening, I was sitting with my wife in the living room and I said to her, "You know, I still want to go to seminary."
She said, "I know you want to go to seminary. I know, why do you want to?"
I had to work my way through college and my wife worked, I got three degrees, I got a B.F.A. and a M.F.A. It was a seven year process of waiting on tables for both of us, out there in California. I was tenured after three years. made a full professor after about eight years, and I was a department chairman. You can tell if a university is doing real well because after you become a chairman you start making some real money. Anyway I was making some serious bucks at N.K.U. She asked, "Why would you want to give this up so you can be pastor of some church?"
I said, "Because I need to give all my time and attention to the service of God."
She said, "If you keep your job you can go to seminary for a couple of years and see how you like it."
In my last year at seminary all the other students had placements as student pastors, the third year, of seminary, you are supposed to be serving a church in a sort of semi-quasi part-time full-time basis so you can become a full-time pastor. I didn't have a church, I didn't have a clue, and I go off to Washington, D.C. to do mission work, rehabbing is basically the worst neighborhoods in the city. So basically I said to the group I was in, "Will you pray that God will find a church for me? I don't want to be the only one in seminary who doesn't have a placement." So they all started praying for me.
Two days later my denominational guy in Cincinnati calls me up in the evening, in Washington D.C., and tells me there is a church in Cincinnati that needs this pulpit supply for a couple of weeks. Are you interested? And I said, "You bet I'm interested. I'll . . ." He said that I would preach on Sunday, period, for $50 a week. It wasn't much money but it's not much of a job. You just go in and preach a sermon and you leave. I said, "I'll do it."
When I got back to Cincinnati, my interview was the next day, I drove into a declining neighborhood in Cincinnati, as I pulled into the parking lot I said to God, "I don't want this church. Why are you making me come here?"
The people were looking out the window as their student-pastor drove up, this committee of six people, and they said, "There's our new pastor."
After they interviewed me I went into the Sanctuary up into the pulpit. I put my hands on the pulpit and said, "Okay." This was between me and God, they couldn't hear this. And I said to God, "Okay, God, I'll do it. If this is what you want for me this is where I'll be." And that is where I've been ever since.
They began to conspire to make me their pastor from the day they saw me. And they didn't even particularly like me, or anything. It was just, God had laid it on their hearts that this was the guy. They were taking this big chance on me because, here was this big art professor in his 40's who never served the church, and they are ready to hire me. I'm taking this declining church in this declining neighborhood. There were about 70 people coming to church there and no children. My first Sunday, I love to do this children's lesson in the early part of the service, so I call for the children saying, "Will the children please come forward." I got one kid. So I do a nice little children's lesson for one kid. The next Sunday I get two kids, and a few weeks later I get three kids and then I get four kids. Now I average 20, 30, 35 kids a Sunday and the church has doubled in size. I have started a program now to double the size of the church again. The church is never going to be a spectacular. It is a little protestant church in a bad part of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The important thing is, in this community, called a church, com-unity, come unity, coming together with unity. The unity is to love God. The first thing we do is love God. Then to serve the world as Christ served the world. So that is our purpose, to love God and to share Christ's love with all people. That is our purpose. Sometimes we fight, and sometimes we get alone, the main thing is that we are all learning where the rubber meets the road. In the reality of human interactions, how to do charity. Charity comes from the Latin word meaning act of love. The action of love. We are trying to learn how to do that, the action of love. We are trying to learn how to love one another. We are trying to learn how to be Godly people. We are trying to learn how to lift each other up when we are down. There are people in this church that say they never could have made it without the love and support of the people of this church. And we've let people go, when I say we've let people go I mean, we've let people go to heaven. I have a service that I do that when people are dying we go and we let them go on and they go. I could tell you a lot of stories about that. There is no point in hanging around here when your work is done. There is just pain and suffering left and it is time to go.
We raise up the children in the faith, and we reach out to the community. For me, my terminal homesickness, I wanted to die because this wasn't heaven, I am over that. The cure was being engaged and involved in a community of people seeking God. I am very aware that this is not heaven, I am painfully aware of that, but I am aware that this is what I need to be doing. I am in exactly the right place at the right time, God's will for me to learn what I need to learn, to do what I need to do. What I am supposed to be learning, and I submit to you because this is what they told me and it was clear that it was not just for me. There is just one lesson in this whole school and that is to learn how to love. That is God's will. So if you say we are here to learn God's will or we are here to learn how to love, it is the same thing. That is what we are here to learn. Do you know why God made this world and why we are here? It is because perfect worlds with perfect people on other worlds out there. But those people have never been given that special blessing that you and I have been given. Which is the ability to choose to do or not do God's will. And we are of such great value to God because we make those choices.
The angels do what God tells them to do. And they say, "Yes, sir, right away sir, how high do you want me to jump, sir."
And then he made this weird creature, us and we reply, "Umm, I don't feel like it, no thank you. I want to do it my way." God has given us this special ability to make choices. What you have been given, and there is a word for it, it is called "freedom of choice". Do you know what that freedom of choice will allow you to do? When you go to heaven it allows you to participate in the creation with God. Because, God has freedom of choice. And God has given each of us, not only in the divine image and likeness, meaning we have creative capabilities, we have rational capabilities, we have compassionate capabilities, we have the capacity to say yes and no. We can say I will and I won't. We are here because God doesn't want our submission, he want's our love.
God wants me to say I am going to do it, not because I am afraid of the consequences, (you won't like me if I don't do it) but He wants me to say yes, because I love God so much that I would do just anything to please God. As I grow in my love for God I realize that the greatest way I can please God is to be like God was when He was with us, to be like Christ. So everything that is came from spirit and this material world is a fabrication of God in heaven, out of spirit. We have been put in this material world so that we can better participate with God in the spiritual running and harmonizing of the spiritual an material multiple creations. Not just this universe but all the other creations.
The lesson here is to love. That is the will of God and how you are supposed to love is the most simple thing in the world, this is what they told me and this is what I am learning every day how to do. That is to love the person you are with, whoever they are, whether it is a parking lot attendant, if it is your mother-in-law, if it is your daughter who is off doing her own thing, and treats you with contempt, if it is the people you work with, your job is to love them. Just them and love them with everything you've got. To love them means to respond to them in appropriate loving ways. What are those ways? Those ways are the ways Jesus would have loved them. Jesus had a lot of ways to love people. Read the scriptures and you will find He said to some change your ways, some of his ways were real tough-harsh love and some of His love was real gentle and human. When you read about Jesus's life you begin to learn there is a whole variety of ways to love. Jesus loved the people He was with and He showed the disciples how to do that love. They showed other people. And the people that they showed who they showed, who they showed, are trying to show me in my church. So we are in a direct link with Jesus and the apostles and being part of that Christian tradition. We are guided by the spirit of Christ that is within each of us and is somehow enhanced and magnified when we gather together into community. I am absolutely convinced of this. That you can't do this on your own, you have to do it in community. Whether you call your community a church, whether you call your community the hospice group that you work for. Whether your community is the
Friends of IANDS chapter you work with, this has to be done in community, it cannot be done individually. When we do this work you get more help and more guidance, and more help and more guidance.
I will conclude my talk on time as I promised I would. Can I tell you one more story? I really want to tell you this story and I am out of time then.
A few years ago, I went on an eight day summit retreat at a Jesuit place. When you go to a Jesuit place you are really serious about making a change in your life. The Jesuits are hard core, hard core people. I love St. Ignatius Loyola, if you ever want to read a book read his Spiritual Direction book. It really gives you such insight on how to discern the spirit of Christ as opposed to the spirit of Satan. And at this retreat I spent seven days in silence, praying all the day, reading the bible, reading inspirational literature, being really good. No contact with my wife or anybody, no phone calls, and I felt like I had gotten nothing out of this retreat. I feel like it has been a complete waste. I felt like, "God, how about just a little tinkle on the phone, just a few goose bumps on my spine and I will go home happy." And I got nothing. This retreat has been a dry wash out. I am sure all of you know what a spiritual dryness is. It is like, "God, I thought we were friends and . . ."
My spiritual director, this was the day before we were supposed to leave. Said to me, "I like you but you never let me get close. Whenever I try and get close to you you back off."
I said, "Of course I back off. I am a professional and that is what professional people do. Professional people keep a professional distance. And I am keeping my distance from you because I can't handle all your problems."
And she said, "That is exactly what I mean."
I said, "Well, I am sorry you feel that way, goodbye." I am a pastor of a church. I have 300 people to care for. And I need a professional distance from these people or they will consume me with their problems. So I am working myself up into a little self-righteous anger and I can't go to sleep. Now it is dark, so I go into the chapel. The only light in the chapel is that eternal light in the red jar hanging up by the altar. That is the only light in this whole room. Because it is this hip Jesuit place it has chairs up front and mats in the back that you can take the mats to use. So I am sitting on the floor, in this completely dark chapel, with a ½ candle light glowing in this whole room. I say. "God, there is too much suffering in the world. I can't take all this suffering. I'm just going to be a pastor of a church and not take on all the pain of the world. That would be crazy to take on and that woman was crazy to suggest it."
All of a sudden the stations of the cross, which are done in colored ceramic tile, on one wall. Do you know what I mean by the stations of the cross where they go through? There are fourteen stations which represent the passion of Christ on His journey to Calvary. They light up in technicolor. And I think, "Uh, uh!" There are things, little things way off, from me to that wall, and they are far away, all of a sudden become brilliant and vivid. And all of a sudden I see Jesus being kicked, I see Him being punched, I see Him being scourged, I see Him being tripped. I see Him being crushed under the weight of the carrying the cross bar, I see Him being mocked and ridiculed, the crown of thorn and being nailed on the cross and then lifted up. I am seeing all these things and all of a sudden I realize someone has taken on all the pain of the world. He knows more about pain than I do and I start crying. As I am crying I feel someone standing in front of me and I look up and there is Jesus just the way he looks in the pictures. The kind of Jesus that you would imagine he would look like, kind of Jesus. He is standing in front of me, and I am crying, kneeling on this mat. And I said, "I can't take the pain of the world."
And He said, "I know, I already have." He said, "Whatever you can't handle give to Me and I will carry it for you." Eventually I looked away and He was gone.
That is my key, my secret, that I have shared with you. I don't tell it very often, because that story is so sacred to me. It is not something that I would entrust to many people. But there are a lot of health care professionals, a lot of helping professionals here. What I am suggesting to is that God-Christ wants you to take on other people's pain. He wants you to help other people. But He also knows how weak and frail we are and what He is saying is, "You take, and you give it to Me." So when my father was dying last December I went down to the Trappist monastery, at Gethsemane, Kentucky, which is several hours from where I live. I went up on a mountain top to a snow covered field, in December, to a statue of Jesus and I said, "Jesus, my Dad is dying and there is nothing I can do. It is breaking my heart, it is breaking my mother's heart. I don't know what to do."
And as I laid before the statue of Jesus, all crumpled up, he said to me, "Give Me your Dad." This is one of the hardest things I have done in my life.
I said, "Okay, my Dad is Yours now. He is no longer mine. I give him over to you." And with that all my pain and sorrow and suffering went away. And my father died a few days later. And I felt really good about it. I was able to be there for my mother's grief, and my sister's grief. I helped my mother out because I thought, "My Dad is with Jesus." I thought, "My Dad is with God, he is okay, he's fine." I gave over what I couldn't bear, what I couldn't handle and that is the key, that is the secret. My wife says, "I don't know how you do it. You have so many sick and suffering in church." And I tell her I don't do it, Jesus does it. That is the whole secret and that is what I am asking you to do. Give it to Him. He wants all your pain, He wants your sorrow, He wants your grief, He wants your hurt, He wants your guilt. He wants all the ugliness you have done in your life, He wants it all and He will take it and carry it for you. So that you can be the Christ-like child of God that God created you to be.
Thanks very much.