Life’s Puzzle Solved
I was born in an idyllic, remote village and the younger of two. Life was very simple and revolved around my family, friends, school, annual events in the village and the Methodist Chapel my mother took my brother and me to. These events included a visit to my aunt and uncle every year, the day after Christmas, Sunday School’s Christmas Party, a trip to the seaside each summer, Sunday School Anniversary and Chapel Harvest Festival. The annual school outing and pantomime were also high-lights, not to mention the village gymkhana.
I always thought I had a happy childhood, yet neither of my parents were emotionally present for me, so I used to talk to God a lot. To me, my brother seemed to get all the attention, so I had to be okay.
One of my past favourite, yet now saddest memories is on a Sunday; after tea, Mum would take my brother and me into the front room (lounge) and read to us. Then she would play simple games with us. While she was reading, she would have an arm around each of us and that was "my time." I was just too scared to ever approach Mum for a cuddle just because I needed one; she was always too busy.
I soon learned that if I did well at school, won the singing or elocution competitions I was entered for, Mum was pleased with me. I felt accepted and loved then. Consequently, I always aimed to be first in class and win competitions-mostly I was successful.
Mum was a strict disciplinarian as far as I was concerned and when she said lump," by golly I jumped! I had numerous spankings and spent many a time shut on the stairway as a punishment. I then needed to behave well for a long time before I was "back in the good books" again.
My father practically never featured in my life. He was gone to work by the time I got up each morning. I do remember watching him eat supper after work and then I had to go to bed. He never played with me, cuddled me or told me he loved me.
Going to Secondary School (age 11) began a new phase of my life–I began to realize there was life outside Naseby, the village. Again, I did very well at school, became Head Girl in my last year and left to go to a Grammar School in preparation for college and becoming a teacher. I was only at the Grammar School for six weeks. Clearly I remember one girl saying, on hearing I had come from a Secondary School: "A Secondary School? How banal!" I was now "a little fish in a big pond," hated the whole new way of life at the school, and felt I wasn’t up to the standard of work required. I left and became a Civil Servant in the Inland Revenue in the city of Leicester.
After a while there I began thinking seriously about life and became very aware that I could not live a good life. There was a Christian in the office, but I would make fun and ridicule her along with everyone else. I did occasionally go to church out of a sense of duty or when Mum nagged me into going and I’d feel guilty if I didn’t go. It was during this time that I met and married Jim and managed to get a transfer to the Inland Revenue in Northampton where we had bought a house. I had not been working at Northampton too long before another new girl came, and she was placed alongside me. There was something different about her. When Mum fell ill and I was really worried she might die, my new friend spoke to me about her Christianity. After meeting up with her and her husband, Jim and I both accepted Christ as Saviour.
That was in 1973, and we then began attending an Evangelical Church. There I began learning to be a "good Christian." In 1975 our son Jonathan was born, and soon after that I had post natal depression, resulting in my doctor prescribing me tranquilizers and anti-depressants. I felt like a zombie and after attending the weekly Bible Study, I heard and saw that "My God shall supply all of your need, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). From that day forward I stopped all medication.
The next step was when I became aware of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the Evangelical Church wanted none of it! I wanted "more of God" and so we moved (along with one or two others) to the Assemblies of God Pentecostal Church. There I would go to prayer meeting, Bible study, Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening Gospel meeting, special seasons of prayer/all night prayer meetings, help in the creche, sing solos, and was on the rota for cleaning the church! I never was baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This was a major disappointment to me since all my close friends were. The Pastor would say to me, "Meryl, just seek God and His word." By now (1978), Joanna was born and so the only time I could find to do this was at 6 a.m. each morning. I learned a lot of the Bible this way and was very proud of what I was doing!
By 1984, I was totally disillusioned. I just could not live this Christian life, and I was struggling with my marriage relationship. If we as Christians couldn’t live right, what hope was there for the unsaved? I told God I couldn’t carry on and was giving up. It felt like I had burned out. I now know this was perfect-exactly how I was meant to be. I was now ready to hear Romans 6, 7 and 8 and Galatians 2:20. I heard it okay, but I knew the Holy Spirit had to "reveal" it to me. He did. What joy! The conveyor of these scriptures was the same person who got me on the mailing list of The Intercessor, and through that, in 1987, we attended the second (our first) British Easter Conference.
I had thought that getting married would fulfill me; then I thought having children would. It was perfect timing when Page Prewitt spoke about what love is and taught "Body, Soul, and Spirit." Up to that point in the conference, I’d heard nothing "new" (I’ve heard plenty since!). Then the "bells rang and the lights came on." I went from that conference thinking, "Believe," that’s all.
The following year at the Easter Conference, I committed myself to believing I was Jesus Christ in Meryl form no matter how I felt or what the temptation. I could really see this and made it mine. I can remember being out in the car one day and reversing into a parking space, slightly bumping the car behind. I jumped out exclaiming, "now look what Jesus Christ has done!" Simple, but none-the-less true. I was no longer carrying around this Christ who was too heavy–it really was Jesus Christ as me. Now I really had been baptized in the Spirit–totally immersed. This was worth waiting for! This was what I had been born for!
However, I had not at this point realized the full implications of what it meant to be Christ in my form: a life laid down for others. It was pointed out to me that my silence in the group, when others were being confronted, was self-absorption–SIN. I was by no means "plugged in" to others. It became clear that I had this real nice image of myself (really a cover-up because I hated myself) and was more concerned about losing that image than about speaking up and helping rescue someone else from Satan’s clutches.
It was a choice no one else had made for me; I was not a victim. I had chosen this myself. After struggling with this (my stuff just couldn’t be this had) I did accept others’ views of myself: totally wrapped up in myself I saw myself superior to my husband, Jim. I usurped his authority and under-mined things he’d said, and I used and controlled him to get what I wanted. I was self-righteous and judgmental toward him (taking delight in it). Control was my issue. No wonder I was phony!
All this really was true. Historically, I had always been one to go into a period of "sackcloth and ashes" and mourn for days about what a bad, wrong person I was. It still felt like that but the facts were these: I had wanted my way and lived from that. I owned the sin as mine–it was. Then, and only then could I move on to seeing it was really Satan misusing my members.
This same misuse also reared its head in my parenting (or lack of it!). As the children grew into their early teenage years, I set no boundaries, never disciplined or gave consequences for poor behavior. I did things for them (controlled) which they could and should have done for themselves, being the martyr and resenting it at the same time. Again, I did not want to risk being the "bad guy" and disliked by my children. Yet I really wanted Jon and Jo to be committed Christians and live from knowing they are Jesus Christ in their forms. What an idiot!!
Well, if I really did want that for them, then I needed to do things differently. I’d already had one weekend with Page Prewitt and Sanda Cooper as role models, dealing with the children. I got the message. As most of you know, both children today are committed and living from knowing who they are. This is the greatest miracle to me. I remember crying with gratitude to God and saying, "If You never do another thing for me, it’s okay. You’ve given me what I always wanted, and I certainly don’t deserve it."
As I look back over the years, I know the truth of this full gospel has totally changed my life. By believing it’s Jesus Christ living His life as me, I am changed: I am a real wife and mother. I even look different, too! My work-life has progressed beyond recognition. But the greatest joy is being able to share with others what I know and what I have experienced.
As my thoughts and feelings (soul) are going on, I am always needing to speak the truth back: that I am in fact Jesus Christ in Meryl form and not some bad, wrong person for thinking such a wicked thought or feeling a certain way. Self (Satan misuse) is continually being exposed in me–that I, independently, am absolutely powerless to live the life. We are all beyond helping, or having our lives repaired or healed, etc. The only thing God can do is a total replacement, an exchanged life: Jesus Christ in place of the lie of independent self. Living from this brings responsibility and accountability to God, which means life is not easy. But, then, it was never meant to be.
Knowing that I am saved, that Jesus Christ is living through me the Christian life that I never could live, that everything that comes to me is GOD and He determined it, I have the questions that used to buzz in my head answered. I am like the man who found the pearl of greatest price–indeed, I am that man.