I should certainly not, by any reasonable probability, be here in Kosovo. Married to a wonderful man. Working my dream job. Freed from the bitterness and depression that life tried to deal me.
I would love to tell you that I'm exceptional. That I worked hard, that I had grit and guts. But the truth of the matter is that something very different carried me through to this point: the Holy Spirit.
What I got was a side of God I'd never begun to imagine: a wise, peaceful presence who wanted to be with me, who would speak to me until I fell asleep each night. What shocked me even more than the fact that I was hearing a voice in my mind was that God wanted to include me. He would tell me what was happening, what would happen. And even though I doubted this voice for a long time (and compared it to schizophrenia symptom checklists quite frequently), I came to realize that it brought me peace, and that it was always right.
As I learned more about the Holy Spirit and who the Bible says he is, all of my doubt slipped away, and I began to embrace him as my closest and most trusted friend. From that point on, he has been my counselor, and I have looked for his input and the marks of his presence (joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc.) in everything I do.
And he is the one who gave me, and is still giving me, the courage to do all of it.
I realize that it's easy to get weirded out by the mystical parts of Christianity. Yes, it's strange that some of us hear voices. And some of us speak in tongues. And some of us dance in the aisles. But if you gather nothing else from my story, know this: you do not have to walk alone. The Holy Spirit is available to everyone who wants to follow Jesus, and he will help you navigate that path. He will talk to the scared, hurting child inside you as you fall asleep. He will whisper your destiny until you have the faith to step into it. And he will rejoice with you, and all of heaven, when you do.