Updated: Jul 25, 2021
Hi, I thought I'd share my story so that if it can be of any help or encouragement to others it is available for that reason.
I must say I'm kinda scared to share my story being so new in this step but who wouldn't be? Especially with all the things we may have been taught in the past by our parents and church leaders. And for what may be said to us by those who oppose our choice, but if we have the Truth to stand on and not our flesh God will give the grace to see us through and to bring us to where He wants us.
I must say that I did not grow up in the Holiness movement. I grew up as an Old Order horse and buggy driving Mennonite in western NY. My story can be found at:
(I eventually want to add this part to my story.)
Let me first clearly state what I want to hold on to as a Christian because it is Biblical principles:
Relationship with Jesus.
Holiness in heart and life
Hunger for God's Word
Growth in the Spirit
Pure conscience before God and man
These things are all in the Bible but so many verses have been cherry picked to use to support man's opinions and beliefs and taken way out of context. By the way if you have the ability, study what the culture was like in Jesus's day. It is very fascinating and will help you understand why some of the verses are in the Bible. But then also seek to understand (without cherry picking) how to apply them to today's culture and society.
In the early spring of 2020 when the country was shut down for several weeks I realized I was only going to church for an emotional high and then I'd crash through the week because I lived 3 hrs away and couldn't go to the mid week service. Due to my history I already have a incredibly hard time knowing how to deal with my emotions and I wondered if perhaps this was compounding the issue so I tried to be more careful and not be so easily swayed by emotions because after all the Bible says in Galatians 3:11 that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Then in July I found out about a missions event that was put on by a liberal Pentecostal church in Ohio and so being interested in missions and wanting to do more for God I went. I made many friends and went out later for more mission events. While I was there we went to a church who had no holiness standards in dress and it put me so out of my comfort zone and yet I felt the "presence of God" and saw God working and heard testimonies and I knew God was working there. Then I come back and hoping to move to Ohio to be with my friends and learn more about missions and to help in such things in reaching people but I wasn't financially able.(I had left the Mennonite church some 3 yrs before and had lost basically all my friends and was currently traveling 3 hrs to a holiness Pentecostal church every weekend.) Church authority did not approve of that liberal church and they did not want me to move out to that church. They said that they're worldly. Another time I was told other people cannot get a hold of God like we can because we live a holiness lifestyle. That got my attention. I did not agree. I had seen God work in that church and I could not accept that statement. That would mean that most of the world's Christian population were not actually Christians and they were deceived. I did not see how the Bible would support that. The Bible says those that believe will be saved and then we are commanded to follow and obey God and His Word.
There had been an Indian couple coming to our church ever since I'd been going there and the lady wore jewelry as is common in her culture whether you're a Christian or not. One day on the subject of jewelry I was told that the Holiness people in other countries are loaded with jewelry but they don't have what we have because the Bible says jewelry is wrong. I couldn't agree with that either. What stood out to me was that our church is the right church and the rest just haven't had their eyes opened yet to Biblical truth. I hated what I saw in that. Pride. I don't want pride in my life. There are many verses in the Bible that condemn pride.
During this time I came across this article: https://bereanholiness.com/can-women-wear-pants/
and I couldn't even open it to read it. I did read some of the other articles and found them well written and very informative. I also came across this one:
I also had a hard time looking at this though this may have been the first one I tried to digest. Even though I didn't read them for awhile it made me think about what I called my convictions and whether they were actually my convictions or just men's teaching. Eventually I got the courage to read them and criticize them but in the end it made me realize how foolish my arguments were (what I had been taught all my life).
In the middle of all this I was chatting with 2 ladies one evening and the one said, I haven't seen you run in quite awhile, to which the other agreed also(one of the men had been hinting at the same thing for quite a while) I was then told to be careful to not " lose my shout". It puzzled me and after I got over the shock of the statement the question in my mind was, where in the Bible is that? It is nowhere.
In the meantime I had gotten connected with one of the people behind bereanholiness.com
and got to hear of their research they had done to find out the origin of "shouting". I also did some research myself. Here is the most compiled article I found that not only confirmed my new friend's research but also had much more info than what my friend had shared with me:
https://www.understanding-ministries.com/docs/The%20Origins%20of%20Pentecostalism.pdf (I'm still waiting to hear back from some of the things I questioned them about)
Through December I realized that I am not getting out of my debt hole like I was hoping and I began to wonder if perhaps it wasn't God's will for me to move to Ohio so over Christmas I fasted several days because I needed to know what direction God wanted me to go. After that things seemed to break loose. It seemed as though my mind became more open to accept the things I had always been taught against. When church authority found out that I had fasted, I was told that they had been begging God to hedge me in. (They had a "burden" for my area and believed I should stay where I'm at) That just kinda took the whole "wind out of my sails", especially when I was told that my desire to move to Ohio was just for myself because then I'd have a good church close by(not the liberal church I mentioned earlier but one considered to be one of the best in the Holiness movement that is in the same area) and plenty of friends to hang out with, both things I didn't currently have. I didn't know what to think anymore.
I also began to realize how spiritually hungry I was. In our church the "Spirit was to lead" and therefore we kept having services wherein was no preaching. I began to remember that the Bible says let all things be done decently and in order which was definitely not happening. I also realized how much I desired to be taught how to deal with the world in which I live and how to let my light shine. There was no teaching. The focus was in having a "good service" which meant people speaking in tongues, shouting, being "slain in the spirit", running, and praying in the altars. All about experience. I don't even remember the last time there had been a sermon preached. How am I supposed to know how to conduct myself in this present world if there's no instruction? (It is also most necessary to study the Bible on my own, but others often see things differently than we do and we can have our view broadened by hearing other's perspectives).
I knew I couldn't stay. I had to find another church. I was also hearing that there may be another shutdown and that the church may have to go underground soon and I realized from past experience(the shutdown last spring) that I would have nothing and no connection anywhere and so I believed that the wisest thing would be to look for a church in my area and to get connected with Christians in my area which is what I told church authority as my reason for leaving. (I didn't mention the deeper issues that I felt God had dealt with me about because I knew how church authority felt about it and I didn't want to leave on bad terms or damage more relationships than I had to.) It did raise concerns in their eyes and maybe one day these things will come to the light but for now this is where it stands.
During this time I also listened to this video:
and I heard about a nondenominational network of churches called Calvary Chapel so I decided to see if I can find one in my area and I did.(another good research to do is become familiar with all the false teachers out there and what they teach that isn't Scripture so that you are aware of the ploys the enemy is using to deceive people. A lot of things sound good but is deception. It is good to be aware of these things.) I started going and what I found was pure Biblical teaching. Not holiness standards. Not Mennonite standards. But I believe God had been dealing with me in preparing me for this step. Those people are just as much Christians at heart as I am in holiness dress.
There was a women's event and even though I was scared to walk into a house full of strangers they just welcomed me right in. It turned into a very enjoyable evening. Afterwards on the way home I was thinking about the whole event and I realized that I had heard not one word of bad language. I realized that they cared just as much if not more about each other than those in the holiness circles. At the end we all gathered together for a devotional time which was not something I was expecting. Afterwards we split into small groups to share needs and pray for each other. It was a very good experience for me.
My plans for Sunday had been to go with a coworker to her church which she said is a little mission church in the midst of a nearby city but plans changed and so I ended up going to the Calvary Chapel church that I had been visiting on Wednesday nights. I found the service to be down to earth, simple, and very "filling". It was on Romans 2 and even though I don't remember most of what was said but I remember leaving and feeling as though I had been fed spiritually till I couldn't hold any more. It was rich Biblical teaching that I'd never experienced before.
I don't know where God will yet lead me or how long I will go to this church but for now this is where I am. And looking back over 2020 I see God's hand through it all to bring me to this place for which I am very thankful.