I Needed To Find Out Who God Really Was – Larissa’s Story
Both my parents had very strict Catholic backgrounds so as a child I knew of Jesus. I was a reluctant attendee of a Presbyterian boarding school during high school but as a teenager I wanted nothing to do with God or religion. I thought religion at best, was a fantasy and at its worst was a tool of control and manipulation. I wasn’t interested.
Despite my disdain for Christianity, spirituality intrigued me and I became heavily involved in witchcraft. One night I was confronted by the most amazing vision. For a few weeks prior I had felt like I was being ‘attacked’ in the night hours and ironically I would wake up praying the Lords prayer! On this particular night I went to smoke some pot but I felt this still voice say to me ‘don’t smoke it.’ It took all my will power to obey, but the moment I surrendered a clear vision came alive in my room. Everything around me was a beautiful blue and sitting before me was the most perfect vision of God. I knew after this experience that I needed to find out more, to find out who God really was.
A few weeks later I attended my nieces Catholic baptism followed by a communion service at my grandmothers aged care facility. For the first time the words that had seemed so meaningless before had life and substance.
That evening I sat alone in my room. Despite the glimpse of truth that I had had during the day the nighttime filled me with despair and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Life had not unfolded the way that I had hoped it would. At 21 years of age I was a drug addict, an alcoholic and living on welfare. I was contributing very little to the world because I had nothing to give. I suffered mental health issues; I was living as a victim, and felt powerless to overcome any of it.
“Jesus Christ is the Son of God and you have been chosen!”
These words came as a thunderous and audible voice in my room. The words took up every inch of space as they filled the air with power and truth. It was as though the very walls were shaken and my body vibrated with this all-consuming sound. I fell to the floor.
The presence I was encountering gave me a sense of joy that I’d never known but at the same time the intensity of the light made me completely aware of my own darkness. My real life was being exposed and I felt inadequate and overwhelmed, unable to exist before this presence that had filled my room. So I poured out my entire life, in all its brokenness and mess and begged to be set free. I pleaded to be allowed into this life that I was experiencing all around me but did not have living inside me. By the grace of God, that night, I was set free.
and in my selfish lifestyle. The real me was called that night because it was my authentic self that Christ was after.
I was chosen just as I was but realised that I could not stay there. I made the decision to fully commit to Christ. I packed a backpack worth of things and my guitar and spent the last of my money on a bus ticket out of town. I ended up in a small coastal town and was taken in by a kind Christian couple who opened their home to me. I joined a Bible believing, spirit lead church community and learnt how to live for Jesus without the drugs. I learnt about God’s Word, the power of intercessory prayer and warfare through weekly meetings with a group of older ladies in the mountains and about prophecy through another weekly Bible College group that I was a part of. I was discipled and loved, and through the counsel and ministry of the Holy Spirit my life was transformed.
As I write this nearly 20 years on I am astounded at the adventure Jesus has taken me on! I’ve been in ministry for over 16 years and travelled all around Australia. I am in a loving relationship with my ‘what a babe” husband and am enjoying all the joys and challenges of life with our 20 month old baby girl. I am part of a vibrant and healthy local church, have a great network of friends and am building a flourishing coaching business. Every week I get to work with Christian women who are influencing the world and who continually blow my mind. Life is very good, I feel on call and on purpose!
I love my life and am living the abundance God saw for me all those years ago. He has healed my heart and now I can honestly say ‘all is well with my soul.’
I am fully alive, fully present and thriving! Of course life is not without its challenges, but I meet these challenges today as a whole person. I can honestly say I am experiencing the John 10:10 abundant kind of life because I have discovered that the key isn’t to have all my ducks in a row. The key is to have my internal world continually transformed by the Holy Spirit.
To share all the ways God has brought this healing and wholeness into my soul would fill many posts but I’d love to share a few. I’ve learnt how to invite the Holy Spirit into my wounds both in the present and into the memories of my past. I read and study how to renew my mind with life giving thought patterns, how to take my power back, how to become visible and find my voice. I’ve discovered how to connect with my core beliefs and identity and change the areas that weren’t serving and supporting me in God’s plan. I take communion regularly and particularly in times of trials to remind myself of the resurrection power that is available to me and I show up just as I am in my prayer times before the Father. I’ve submitted to the transforming process in times that seemed more intense than I could bear and at other times when it felt like nothing at all was happening.
I’ve also discovered the profound power of spiritual and life coaching which has revolutionised my relationship with God, others and myself.
I am living proof that Jesus came to set the authentic ‘you’ free, the ‘you’ that has potentially been buried or hidden away. The broken, awkward, messy, sinful, confused ‘you’. This is who God calls, anoints and appoints. Getting in connection with the state of your heart and soul is how you will get in touch with the true calling of God for your life. Yes, it is the more courageous path to take but I know first hand that it is only in being your true self that we will ever be able to experience the abundant life that Jesus has provided for us.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Facebook: Larissa De Michiel
Instagram/ Twitter: @larissademichiel
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