The Story Vault
Welcome to the Story Vault.
away inside everyone of us are some incredible stories of God’s power…
stories that evidence the Great Author’s loving hand writing in each
one of our lives. Following a some of those stories told by those who
got to participate in God's handiwork. To share your own story, please email us at Pastoral@citybiblechurch.org.
“Leave! Get out of there!”
voices in my head were fierce, making me want to leave the room where
others were praying. We had just seen a reenactment in sign language of
a Christian song, and were meditating on the words and letting God
speak to us. But the only thing I wanted to do was flee.
feelings came to me at spiritual times such as these. Sometimes I would
get up and leave, and things would be calm again. Sometimes I avoided
spiritual gatherings altogether.
Later, I talked to my friend who had been involved in the reenactment.
is it that you have that I don't have? I mean, I'm a Christian. I have
been since the age of six, and I've gone to church all my life. I love
the Lord.” My friend seemed to have such a peace and joy. I felt like a
non-Christian when I was with her. Was I missing something?
you know about the Holy Spirit?” she asked me. Uhh…all I could come up
with was that He was the third part of the Trinity and He convicted
people of their sins. And He was the One inside of us. She mentioned a
prayer language, and I said that I had an “emotional” language, one I
use when I'm emotional. I didn't like using it, though. It was weird
and I couldn't explain it, and so I tried not to use it. My friend
prayed for me and agreed to keep me in her prayers as I figured out
what was missing in my life.
That was in June 2004.
August, 2004, I met a kind Christian man through eharmony.com. We
started dating and getting to know each other. His hope was that if we
were to someday marry, that we would go to his church, City Bible
Church. I had grown up at a Bible-believing, non-denominational church.
While we believed the same basic doctrine, my church wasn't charismatic.
had more preconceived ideas than knowledge of what being a charismatic
meant. Then I started experiencing life at his church and could almost
feel the Holy Spirit’s presence there. We started going to the west
side campus, which was closer for me. It was also smaller and not so
intimidating. The first time I went, I saw some old friends of mine,
friends that I trusted. I knew that this church was good if they were
going there, and that helped. Plus, it seemed like my friends were
happier than I’d seen them in years.
The pastor seemed very passionate about what he was saying, but I felt myself feeling angry with him.
roommate liked the charismatic worship style, so I invited her to go to
the Saturday night service. She went with me a few times and really
liked it. I kept watching, enjoying, but sometimes at a distance.
came February, 2005. My roommate and I were at the Saturday night
service, and I was to attend again the next morning with my boyfriend.
Everything about the night felt wrong. The pastor was in my face. We
had to hold hands and pray for the people on our right and left, but
all I could get out was “I…pray…for…this…person…” before the time was
up. I couldn't sing the words to the songs. I was distracted. I
slouched in my chair, hands in my sweatshirt pockets as the pastor
prayed, “Holy Spirit, come, we welcome You here…” Augh.
he started preaching, I started shaking and twitching, like I had had
too much caffeine, but it was different. I couldn't stop. I tried to
hide it from my roommate, and she didn't notice until it was time to
“Are you ok?”
“Yes. Did they say the pizza
was free?” I tried to distract her. We left and went into the café. My
roommate wanted to talk with a missionary pastor, and so the three of
us sat at a little table. My look was one of “Don't even try to include
me in this conversation.” I just sat there as they talked, trying not
to shake noticeably. I excused myself at one point to use the restroom.
Distancing myself helped some, and I was able to calm down. But as soon
as I came back to the café, the jerking came back again.
“Is it your heart?” my roommate wanted to know as we finally left.
I told her. In the car tried to explain it. “I feel like someone is
about to punch me, and I flinch, trying to get away.” She said that was
a fear reaction.
What was I afraid of? I thought.
night I slept fine. But in the morning, knowing I had to endure the
same worship service all over again, I started to feel anxious. My
boyfriend called and asked if we could go to the second service rather
than the first. I agreed, knowing I was delaying the inevitable.
“I really dread going to church,” I admitted to my roommate as we both ate breakfast, getting ready for our different churches.
“Really? That’s weird. You love church. Do you want me to pray with you?”
“No!” I blurted out. I left to brush my teeth.
She came down a few minutes later into my room.
“Look, I can be a few minutes late to my church. Why don't I pray with you. Come on.”
said “fine” and we sat in the living room on the hearth. She put one
arm around me as she prayed. I was agreeing with her in my spirit, but
couldn't say anything. I just kept my head down and my arm over my
When she said “amen,” the prayer was over, but I
couldn't move. I couldn't look up. She said, “Debbie, look at me.”
Still, I didn't move. She got in front of me and said it again. Then
she said something that changed my life. She said, “In the Name of
Jesus, look at me.” My head shot up and I glared at her.
“Debbie, do you love Jesus?” She nodded her head, cueing me.
“Yes,” I managed to say.
“There’s something evil here that needs to go. Repeat after me.”
told some evil spirits to leave, in the name of Jesus. There were three
of them, each stubborn and defiant, not wanting to listen, but obeying
the name of Jesus all the same. After each one left, my head went down,
my body tired. But I felt better. It was hard work, and I'm proud of my
friend for recognizing what it was and helping me to do something about
it. Had they been in me or just “on” me, hovering? It didn't matter at
that point. They were real all the same. But later my roommate
described them as evil faces in front of me.
After the third
one left, she said, “Ok, new plan. I'm going to drive you to City
Bible, and we're going to get some prayer. Okay?”
and off we went. On the way, she had praise music playing in the car,
and I started to shake again. I knew that there was at least one left.
the parking lot, we both said this was like going to the spiritual
emergency room. “They'll know what to do, and it’s even free; no
My friend had me sit at the same small
table that we had been at just the night before. I started whimpering,
but I promised her I wouldn't leave. The first service was well
underway, with the pastor into his sermon. The video into the café
could be heard loudly. “Jesus, You are the only way! Jesus, You are
powerful!” It was like he was pounding me, and I put my cheek on the
table and started whimpering and crying more and more loudly. As he
kept going, I lost more control. My hand slipped to the floor, and I
knew that if my friend didn't come back soon, I'd end up writhing on
the floor. But thankfully she came back with a husband and wife from
the prayer team. They took my hand and led me away from the incessant
voice, and I grew calmer as we left.
We went into a
conference room, and they asked me a few questions. My roommate stepped
out of the room as I confessed my sins to these strangers, who said
that Satan thinks he has the right or our permission to harass
Christians when we harbor habitual sin.
“That’s not true,”
the man said, “and we're going to tell him so.” The last evil spirit
left after being told to in the name of Jesus. I put my head on the
table, this time exhausted, but empty. The couple prayed with me and
then we chatted for a few minutes. I was pretty tired!
the service was almost over, and they asked me to go back into the
worship service and sing the songs at the end and then go forward for
prayer. I was a little worried to do so, because of my reaction the
last time I was in there. But this time nothing bad happened. I went
forward to the prayer altar and some people surrounded me and prayed
for me. They let me sit down because I was so drained.
between services, my boyfriend came and we chatted in the lobby over
some juice. He seemed to take in stride all that had just happened to
me. My boyfriend, roommate, and I went to the second service. When we
were singing, I felt myself start to fade. But my roommate leaned over
and asked me what the sign language was for “hallelujah.” I showed her,
and all of a sudden my eyes were closed and I was signing and truly
worshipping God. I was lost into worship until the last song’s notes
died down. When it came time for the sermon, I found myself liking the
pastor and able to listen to him. I realized it was the demons that
didn't like this man, not me.
After church we went forward
for more prayer. They gave us a small container of oil for my home. The
three of us went home and prayed over and anointed each room. That
week, the husband and wife called me and we prayed over the phone. They
came over on Friday night with another prayer couple and again each
room was prayed over.
My roommate and I played worship CDs
all week. I lived, ate, and breathed in the songs and the Word of God
like never before. I read my Bible, and it was good, too! My eyes
seemed to be opened again after being closed for a very long time.
was so happy, that even though the experience was embarrassing, I found
myself wanting to share my story with people. I kept praising God for
setting me free. The word “freedom” was a constant theme, especially in
songs. I shared my story with my friends and my parents. They could all
see a difference in me. Even the people who I didn't share with could
tell something was different. I felt like a new believer, alive and
with a new closeness to God like never before.
The next weekend happened to be the “All Things New” retreat. I went and got filled up with the Holy Spirit.
I wanted City Bible Church to be my home church, and so I took the membership class.
In October 2005, my boyfriend surprised me by asking me to marry him!
On March 25, 2006, I married that amazing and compassionate man.
life continues to grow with the knowledge that Jesus is real, that His
Name is powerful, that He redeems lives from the pit, and that He loves
us so passionately! I love worship times, and I enjoy speaking and even
singing in tongues. Even though that still seems weird, I just trust
that it’s doing something in my spirit and in the spiritual realm. I am
aware that there is a very real battle going on. I am so thankful for
City Bible for fighting that fight and helping me win that battle.
Inspired by the Creator
grew up in a logging family and all that goes with that lifestyle...it
did not include church, but the Lord was so faithful and was always
watching over me and calling to me to come by his side. I have counted
and have over 100 unsaved families on each side. I was a very lonely
little girl and many, many nights curled up in his arms and fell asleep
in his love. I really don't remember much of my childhood. I "woke
up" in 5th grade when a teacher handed me a piece of chalk and asked me
to draw a horse on the chalk board. Art became my outlet and the only
thing that was really mine that no one could take away. I would spend
hours in my room making all kinds of things! It was my peace away from
my life and gave me such a sense that I could be successful at
When I was 15 I dug clay from a creek out back and
formed Mary holding baby Jesus. I still have that sculpture, I am 52
now. After raising 6 children, I now find I have time and have never
lost the need to create things. I began in the last couple of years
creating visions that the Lord would give me. It has been very
interesting! He will bug and bug me to get things done. And there is
an order to his work. If I try to move ahead to other things, the work
won't get done, or just won't work out. I have accomplished oil
paintings in 2 days that I have never known how to do, or been
instructed on. I just wait on Him and say...ok, if you what this done,
let's get busy!
The Lord has now returned me to sculpture. I
know it is a true gift he has given me...not only from my past, but I
am amazed at the work He does through me! I am working on a series of
plaques about the miracles of Jesus. He gives me the vision for one,
and when it is almost complete he will give me the next work I am to
do. It is so exciting. I am not sure where this will go, but I am
trusting, doing the work and waiting on Him for direction. Stories
From the Trenches to His Wonderful Light
parents got divorced just before I turned twelve. My father was an
abusive alcoholic who would randomly come home from a night of drinking
and decide that he wanted to beat my mother. What provoked him I never
found out. When he was sober he spent most of his time in the garage
working on his car. Or so I was told. I later found out that his time
in the garage was spent doing cocaine and meth. Sometimes we had fun,
though. Playing catch in the front yard or going to the beach to ride
My mother was quiet. Passive. She just took
the abuse because she was scared. I guess after taking enough beating
and verbal abuse she had enough and gathered up the nerve to leave.
She often had mood swings. One day she would be the most loving and
caring mother in the world and then the next want nothing to do with me
and my siblings. We came to find out later she was diagnosed with
After their divorce I lived with my father
for awhile until he kicked me out for "talking back to him" and then
lived with my mother and her new boyfriend for awhile until he almost
choked me to death. By the time I was about 15, I bounced around from
one friend’s home to another until I ended up living in the back of a
friend’s car. She called her grandparents who took me in. That's when
I was first introduced to Jesus. They told me that if I was to live
with them I would go to church.
My best friend invited me to
go to Good Shepherd with him. I instantly became on fire for Jesus!
The youth group was awesome and the worship was even better. I wanted
to know more about Jesus. Later that year I got baptized and man was
After high school I went to Mt. Hood Community
College on a running scholarship. By then running was the only
constant thing in my life; Jesus seemed to be fading from me and I
didn't know why. That fall after high school my dad passed away from a
drug overdose and shortly after I was diagnosed with Testicular
Cancer. I had the initial surgery and 6 weeks later I was better.
It's funny how when you feel like you’re slipping away from Jesus he
brings you a reason to come closer to him again. So time passed. My
running in college went well. My sophomore year I won the championship
in cross-country. I also won the 1500 at the championship in track
that spring. That spring, my girlfriend Audra and I both got full
rides to a university in Kentucky for running. Life seemed to be going
great. I was closer to Jesus than ever before, I had a great
girlfriend, and I was getting paid to run. I had asked Audra to marry
me and we got married before we left.
Everything in Kentucky
seemed to be going great for a few months but I just didn't feel like
it was the place for me. I became severly depressed and no amount of
medication was working. I dropped out of school because I just
couldn't focus. I laid around all day long and did nothing. I
couldn't seem to get happy. Jesus seemed to have faded from my life
once again. I prayed all the time but I heard no answer. My wife was
so awesome for having put up with me.
That winter I started
to feel some back pain. I thought that it was just a pinched nerve or
something. We ended up moving back to Oregon that winter. Shortly
after we got back the pain became so severe that I couldn't sleep at
all. I resorted to lying in a hot bath tub at 3 AM and falling asleep
in there. I was diagnosed with cancer again at the age of 20. A few
days later I was schedule to start chemotherapy. 9 weeks of intense
chemotherapy. 6 hours a day, 5 days week. Not only did this time in
my life bring me close to God once again but it also brought Audra and
me closer than ever. A few months after Chemotherapy the doctor saw
some remaining tumors that he thought may still have a chance to be
cancerous. I was scheduled for another surgery. This time the surgery
was so rare that they had to fly a surgeon in from Chicago. The
surgery lasted 8 hours and I was left with a 16 inch scar down the
front of my torso. I couldn't walk for 8 days afterwards.
had saved my life once again. He brought me from the trenches and
showed me his wonderful light. I am here today because of his grace
and love. I started going to church more and it just held a whole new
meaning to me. The worship especially hit me hard.
Live to Inspire
Healed “All of a Sudden”
had back problems for about 10 months. My back pains began in
September of 2005 during my fall tennis season. Later that year during
the spring season of tennis my lower back worsened. It was to the
point where my back was always sore after playing, I suddenly had leg
length discrepancies and I was constantly going in to see the trainer
or physical therapist. It only worsened throughout the season, but
that soreness was minuscule in comparison with what was to come.
took a month off from everything after finishing my junior year, that
meant zero tennis and absolutely nothing that would irritate my back.
The break did nothing to improve the situation. My summer job began; I
was painting the exterior of houses and beginning to play tennis
By the end of June I could not believe how much pain I
was in. I was going in to see my physical therapist weekly, after
x-rays the only diagnosis they could give me was that I had an
incredibly tight back, muscle spasms and that there was sort of shrink
wrap around my spine. I of course stopped playing tennis and was told
by my doctor to stop painting; however, that was not an option for me.
In June the pain reached the point where I couldn’t stand, walk, sit or
sleep without constant shooting pain and I was taking muscle relaxants
and ibuprofen galore. I remember specifically near the end of June
trying to drive and just the simple motion of turning the steering
wheel sent shooting pain through my body to where I was crying out in
pain - it was unlike any pain I had ever felt before.
now here’s the good part. I don’t remember the specific week but it
was on a Saturday in early July my dad asked me, “Valerie, have you
been praying for God to heal your back?” And that same day my friend
Jessica asked me the very same question. My answer was yes, several
times a day I pray for God to take away this horrible pain. It sort of
dawned on me at that point that the answer was no, I hadn’t been
praying for God to heal me, I had only been asking for him to take away
The next day was Sunday; I went to the 9 o’clock
service on the 217 campus as always. During worship on this morning
one of the pastors came up in the middle of worship and said, I would
like to take this time to pray for those who need healing in their
bodies. The word he spoke was “All of a sudden,” all of a sudden God
will bring healing to your body, it might be right this moment, it
might be tomorrow, or at the end of the week, but there will be a
healing all of a sudden. I raised my hand and several people
surrounded me and began to pray.
The night before I had given
much thought to my lack of faith that God could truly heal me. I mean
of course I believe God does miracles and that He can heal people, I
believe what Isaiah 53:5 says, that by His wounds we are healed. I
believe God heals people, but other people, people with serious health
This no longer was (or is) the resonating thought in
my mind that Sunday morning. No, it was faith that God was going to
heal me and that it would be all of a sudden. It wasn’t all of a
sudden at that moment. The next few days that healing word the pastor
had spoken hovered in my spirit. All of a sudden came before lunch on
Wednesday when I was painting a house. I remember getting down off a
ladder and sort of going huh? Then I did a sort of wiggle leaning
dance, the pain was gone. When I went home I stretched out which is
something I hadn’t been able to do in weeks.
It has been two
months since then and I have been absolutely pain free. I still have a
tight back; something my doctor says I will always have, but my legs
are now the same length, I have full flexibility, I can walk, sit, run
and paint houses free of pain or soreness.
I painted the rest of
the summer and was well able to play in the two tournaments I didn’t
think I was going to be able to play in. I’ve never had an ultra cool
story like this, it was God hands down. Only he can take a pain scale
of 10 and all of a sudden bring it down to 0.