Kim Maas believes wholeheartedly in the Scripture that says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). She knows she has heard the voice of God, loud and soft, at pivotal points in her life such as when she chose to stay in her difficult marriage and when she heard the call to full-time ministry.
A nurse who had worked in pediatrics and in labor and delivery, Maas and the firefighter her friends set her up with on a blind date were immediately attracted to each other.
"He was between girlfriends, and I was between boyfriends," Maas says. "We went out, and we were married within 10 months."
Sadly, what she didn't know was how serious her husband's addictions were.
"I met my husband during a time when I had been very, very wounded, and I was not walking with the Lord at all," says Maas, who was saved in early teens. "I had completely walked away, and he was not a Christian. What I didn't realize was he was an alcoholic and a drug addict, actually, and so we started dating and we said that we fell in love like in a week. We started sleeping together, of course, so I became pregnant, and we got married. And as soon as we got married, I started really seeing that I didn't really know this person very well, and his alcohol and drugs were much more of a problem than I had understood."
Dealing With Dysfunction
Maas, who describes herself as "very far from the Lord" when she got married, knew right from wrong but did as she pleased. After the wedding in 1980, there was none of the hoped-for wedded bliss.
"Things were really rough from the very beginning," she says. "I was able to deal with it in my own heart for about three years. We had two children, and somewhere in the third year, I just couldn't take it anymore. It was a very dark time. Mike was never physically abusive, ever, and he was really good with the girls, but he was a terrible husband."
Maas also didn't know if or when her husband would come home after work.
"We were both working so hard, and there was just never any money, and the money went to drugs and alcohol," she says. "And then there were crazy friends who were really no one like anyone I had grown up with or was used to. It was just a very lonely, very difficult time. We fought all the time, and I just came to a place at the end of that time when I just knew. You become numb. You can't cry anymore. You can't beg anymore. You can't yell and scream anymore. It was bad. My family thought I was crazy. They just didn't know what was going on, and so I left and filed for divorce. We were separated for six months, and we were dating other people and, of course, sleeping around."
Maas was "dead set" on divorce, but says, "We got back together actually three weeks before our divorce was final."
She had had a change of heart when a few weeks before, she met a kindhearted Christian when she was interviewing for a job.
"Mike wasn't paying any child support because he had lost his job. I was applying for a job, and the girl who was leaving her position and her husband were going to plant a Vineyard church."
Growing up, Maas and her family had gone to an evangelical church, but she didn't know anything about the charismatic movement.
God's love came through the woman who interviewed her. When Maas admitted some of what was going on in her life, the woman invited her into her home.
"She wanted to pray for me, and I went," Maas says. "It was the catalyst for this major change in my life because she was so kind and I never felt judged. I didn't feel condemned. She wasn't shocked by the sin that was going on in my life, by all the trouble it had caused me, by all the damage it was doing in my marriage. I really just unloaded on her, and she prayed with me. And then she invited me to be a part of their church plant."
Maas was shocked by that invitation because of her sinful condition.
"I felt so dirty and I felt so sinful," she says. "When I filed for divorce, I really felt like I was committing the kind of sin that I could never be forgiven for—and that wasn't something I had learned."
The woman's kindness made its way to the deepest part of Maas' heart.
"That was such a catalyst for me, feeling like maybe God could love me again," she says. "Maybe I could be accepted in God's heart. The kindness of the Lord really, really does lead us to repentance."
Maas got the job and also took the woman up on her invitation to be a part of the new church, but she only attended a couple of weeks.
Hearing God's Voice
Three weeks from the divorce becoming final, Maas put her two toddler daughters down for a nap and opened the new Bible she had purchased to go back to church. That's when she heard from God.
"It just fell open to a passage of Scripture I was reading about husbands and wives," she says. "I heard the audible voice of God, and I was so shocked and afraid. And He just said one thing to me. He just said, 'Go home and I'll take care of everything.' That's all I heard. It was so loud on the outside and the inside, and it filled up the room. I can't even describe to you what the sound was like, but in my mind, I knew the words. I knew what He said. It was clear and strong and so loud, and it was so shocking and frightening and yet commanding."
But then she had another visceral reaction.
"As soon as I got over my shock, I was angry, and I stood up and I was yelling at Him, saying, 'Do you even understand what you are asking of me? Do you even understand how bad I was hurt and how he hasn't changed? Do you know what you are asking me to do?' And He didn't say another word."
She knew she had a life-altering choice to make.
"I called my husband and asked him for a date," she says. "And he was as shocked as I was, like, Who is this? He never did want the divorce. He really wanted me to stay and wanted to be a family, but he was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and he wasn't giving that up."
They met for dinner the following weekend, and she told him she had heard the voice of the Lord. That was it. The marriage was on again.
"I packed up and went home, and we reconciled," she says. "We called our lawyers, and we called off the divorce."
Within a month, she was pregnant with their son. Maas thought when she went back, that all would be well soon, but as it turns out, she was wrong.
"I thought it would be like magic, like bang, he would have this change," she says. "I would go back, and because I came back, he'd be willing to do everything, but nothing changed. Nothing changed for four whole years."
Her powerful encounter with God helped her endure not only her husband's addictive behavior, but also the shame and humiliation she felt before her family. She spent many nights "completely alone" in pain and turmoil.
Saving the Marriage
Maas had started back to church, this time to a Foursquare congregation. Every now and then, she would hear of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but she really didn't know what it was. She had a prayer life and attended church regularly, but after four years of a difficult marriage, she was weary.
"One morning after he'd been gone all night long—the night before Thanksgiving--he was out all night drinking and doing drugs with his friends and there was something about that night," she says. "I was up all night. I prayed the whole night through. My kids were asleep in the room, and I was weeping and sobbing and crying out to the Lord all night long. When I got up in the morning, I was in that numb place again and I was done."
But she got a surprise when her husband walked in early the next morning..
"He was just white and pale," she says. "He said, 'I know you're about to leave me, and I'm asking you not to go because something has happened.'"
She was "completely cold" to his suggestion. But even though she'd been down this path before many times, for some reason, she stayed.
"I think that I started to see that something was different," she says. "A few weeks after that exchange that we had, we sat down and talked about it, and he told me that on his way home that morning in those early hours, a presence had filled the car while he was driving. And he just had a knowing on the inside, in his heart, that it was Jesus. He heard Jesus say, 'You're about to lose everything you've ever loved, and this time, I won't bring it home unless you give your life into my hands,' and he said in that moment, he knew. He gave his life to Jesus. He got saved in that moment, and he was instantly delivered from all of his drugs and alcohol."
Against all odds, God had saved Maas' husband and, in the process, rescued the marriage and family. Mike had changed for good, and they started the healing process.
"It's not magic," she says. "It seems like magic when God instantly delivered him because some people have an instant deliverance from Jesus, for some people it takes a process, so we had this instant thing happened, but we also had to go through the process of rebuilding our lives and becoming really Christians in the way that we lived, in the way that we related to each other, in the way that we loved each other and loved our family."
Receiving the Baptism
Their church leaders heard about this marriage miracle and asked Maas to give a short testimony. That opened the door for her to give an in-depth testimony at a women's retreat.
Although she didn't feel women's ministry served her needs, she went and testified. Afterward, a young woman said the Lord had told her to lay hands on and pray for Maas.
"She said that she'd heard the Lord say, 'I want you to lay hands on her for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.' And so I said, 'Well, you can try.' I didn't know if I believed it, but yet I'd had this encounter, but I'd never had any other kind of encounter, nothing."
God met her in that moment.
"I had a radical infilling, a radical encounter with the Lord, and I was sobbing and snotting and shaking and trembling and falling out under the power, which I didn't understand what that meant, but they put a chair under me because I had started to black out," she says. "I didn't know what was going on and then they were talking to me about speaking in tongues, and I didn't know if I believed in that ether, but I was open. I didn't speak in tongues right away. It wasn't till the next morning that I woke up and I took a shower and I started hearing the syllables in my brain. And so I said, 'Lord, if this is You, I want it,' and I began to speak in tongues."
When doubt tried to enter her mind, she had another experience that confirmed she was hearing from God. The next day at the retreat, she walked by a garden and God spoke to her about it. Returning to the meeting room, she heard beautiful worship, then singing in tongues.
"I didn't know at that time that I was feeling the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in a room," she says. "I didn't know that her singing in tongues was a word of the Lord, but it was so beautiful and mesmerizing at this moment in time, and then she stopped and she started saying what the song was, the word of the Lord, and it was nearly word for word the thoughts I'd had about the garden."
Then Maas felt the fear of the Lord, the same fear that came over when she heard God's audible voice.
The group then took the communion elements individually.
"We were to ask the Lord if there was anything He wanted to say to us personally," she says. "I'd never done that before, so I'm sitting with my elements, and I asked Jesus, 'Jesus, is there anything you want to say to me?' And I heard that voice, and this time, it was on the inside. It wasn't audible. It was a still small voice, but it was the voice that I had heard those years ago that told me to go home. And I recognized it. He called me to full-time ministry, and I started sobbing, you know, the ugly cry, when you're snorting and you're choking, and I mean, in my mind, I'm saying, How can this possibly be? I have done so many bad things that I am ashamed of, and I'm a woman. I'm so small. I'm nobody."
That's when the voice of God sent her to another woman in the room for help with doubts about her call.
"I said, 'God told me to come over here and to tell you that He just called me to full-time ministry, and I told him all the reasons why I can't,' and I started sobbing again," she says. "I said, 'because I'm no good and I've done these bad things and that I'm too small and I'm a woman.' She looked at me and she looked right through me, and I never had anyone do that before and then she looked on my shoulder like she was looking at something."
The woman pointed at something on Maas' shoulder and called it out. Maas had never seen or experienced deliverance, but now she was jerking and shaking and sobbing.
"She said, 'You get off of her right now,'" she says. "My body started convulsing. I couldn't control it, and I'm still standing, but I started sobbing so hard. And she put her hand on me. She blessed me and I ran back to my room. I didn't have any context for any of this, but I knew I'd gotten free from something."
In her room, God told her to get her Bible, a notebook and a pen.
"'I'm about to tell you things I want you to write down that are going to be things I want you to do for the next five years every single day," He said.
God told her things that would happen to her over her lifetime and gave her her life scripture.
After this, she says, "I came home completely changed."
Accepting the Call
When Maas got home, her husband didn't know what happened to the wife he knew. And God had told her she was going to preach and prophesy all over the world, but how?
"I was a mom from Moorpark with three kids in puberty, and my husband was a fireman," she says. "I was in a tiny church in a tiny town."
But she knew God could do it. A few months later, a prophet preached at her church. He read Jeremiah 1:5-10 over her, which is about being called from the womb as a prophet to the nations. In that moment, she says she shook, cried and dropped to her knees "under the weight that I was feeling of the Holy Spirit."
That's when the prophet said God had one question for her: Was she willing to pay the price?
Later, after saying yes, she questioned God, so He stayed silent. But one day, while she was walking in her neighborhood, God asked her to get down on her knees. She knew she had to obey fully. Although she was embarrassed, she realized what God was doing.
"I understood, Oh, it's part of the cost," she thought.
"I got down on my knees, and as soon as I did, I felt the wash of the warmth and the love of the Holy Spirit. I felt so loved and I felt so affirmed and confirmed, and that was another very important part of the process of saying yes."
God moved her into an executive pastor role for 11 years in a Foursquare Church, where she learned to truly love people.
God also broadened her ministry. He showed her what He was about to do through a vision of a dragonfly, which became her ministry logo. When she came out of the vision, she heard the Lord say, "It's time for cross-pollination." In that moment, she understood.
"You cannot stick within the walls of your denomination if you are going to participate in this move of God that is coming," she says. "I want you to cross-pollinate, I want you to be open to other streams. I want you, of course, to test everything. I want you to be theologically and biblically sound, but I want you to be open to how I move and the move of the Holy Spirit across the different streams."
In her 40s, Maas earned her master's of divinity from The King's College and Seminary, which was then in Los Angeles. In her 50s, God led her to United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, to earn her doctorate through a program initiated by Randy Clark and Global Awakening. God confirmed this direction to go to seminary through a prophetic dream.
"I became very close friends with Randy Clark, and he started inviting me to the nations," she says. "It's been a very prophetic journey, a very miraculous journey."
Her book, Prophetic Community: God's Call for All to Minister in His Gifts (Chosen/Baker Publishing Group), was birthed out of the research she did for her doctoral program.
"Because the voice of God changed my life, I wanted to research and write a dissertation on this most important topic, the voice of God and the gift of prophecy."
Supporting her Ministry
Today, her husband, a fire battalion chief who is now retired, is her "greatest cheerleader," she says.
Mike had his own spiritual encounter one night when Maas was ministering at a friend's church. She says he "got completely wrecked by the Holy Spirit" and received the baptism of the Spirit.
"When he tells testimony of the change and the miracle that God did in our marriage, I'm telling you, there's never a dry eye in the place," she says. "He tells about his alcohol and drug addiction and his side of the story, and it's just so beautiful the humility that this man has when he tells his story."
The two are about to celebrate 40 years of marriage in November, a true testimony to the work of God in their lives.
Christine D. Johnson is an editor at Charisma Media and podcast host of Charisma Connection.
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