After 11 years of serving and worshiping in a denominational church, I found myself an outcast among the congregation because I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Hurt and dejected, I felt as though a spear had been thrust into my heart. My whole world crumbled.

People I loved turned away and told me to go with my "own kind." The baptism had made me different, and to the church I was unacceptable.

I could have wallowed endlessly in my pain, but the Holy Spirit lifted me and began a work in me that exceeded my understanding. I moved out from beneath the heavy shackles of the bondage I'd been too blind to recognize.

Late one night, the Lord gave me a vision of my body covered with leeches. As I watched, salt was applied and, one by one, the leeches released their hold.

When He revealed the meaning of the vision, I could see that the leeches represented the people who were draining my life's blood. They were clinging to me, holding me back and keeping me from the promises God had to offer.

But then God opened my eyes for me to see that leeches are drawn to blood--for survival. I had become the hope of survival for these people. The salt stood for His healing and restoration being applied to my wounds.

I'd been in the depths of despair, but God's love soothed the pain and filled me with new life. It hurt to be shunned by other Christians, but through my experience Christ has changed me.

He's drawn me onto His potter's wheel and begun a new work through this. He's molding and shaping me into His image.

Is it painful? Yes. Do I enjoy it? No, not all the time. Is it worth it? Definitely!

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Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit