“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears he will speak, and He willl declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13
The voice is quiet, but so incredibly powerful. I had no idea how wonderful this could be. I had to teach myself how to slow down, and trust me, it is hard. Every day, I felt a desire to know this voice and I couldn’t quite understand where it was coming from or where it was going. This is the most perfect description of the way I felt is this, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is or where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” John 3:8. The voice was definitely speaking to me. I just had to learn how to distinguish it from my own thoughts and the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit.
I had to be deliberate about it. Just the little taste that I had made me hungry for more. The Holy Spirit was stirring something up inside of me and I realized that I had starved myself the intimacy of Him for years. Growth groups, Bible studies, conferences, DVD’s, Bibles, books and Sunday services were amazing, but what the Holy Spirit wanted form me was my attention. He wanted me to acknowledge Him, listen to Him and obey Him.
The ride has been a wild one. In the past months, I have had amazing experiences. Some shocked me to the point that the only thing I could do was wipe the tears from my cheeks and shake my head in amazement. It’s caused me to grow in love for Him. Conversing with Him has deepened my desire to please him. When He says to do something, not only do I HAVE to do it, I WANT to do it. This has forced me to step way out of my comfort zone and into places I could never have gone without His courage.
It has also been extremely difficult. Stepping out of my comfort zone has caused me to grow in faith and trust. It’s caused me to know, that I know, that I know, that he is alive and dwelling in me. Every time I take a step forward, Satan is always just a step behind. Spiritual warfare. I despise it. I began having terrible dreams, untrustworthy people put in my path, feelings of fear and discouragement came over me, even when I knew the truth.
So I fought back. I “suited up in the full armor of God, that I may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” I prayed these words back to God multiple times a day. I whispered these words to the Holy Spirit multiple times per day. I continuously pray for strength and perseverance and guess what? It works. Every ounce of attack has been worth every inch of growth. One of these days I’ll share with you a story that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. For now, here’s a lighthearted one that I think most of you can relate to. Let me paint the picture for you:
It was just a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. I laid in bed and said my morning prayers, specifically acknowledging the Holy Spirit. I had asked Him to give me patience, peace and joy. Once I was done, I got up and woke up my junior higher. She was not in the peachiest of moods and argued all the reasons why she didn’t need to shower that morning. I finally cut her off, demanded that she get her oily head into the shower or else she’d be late for school. She rolled her eyes and stomped her way into the bathroom. Wow, we’re off to a great start today. I went into the kitchen to start packing lunches and my “almost always” loving, sweet first grade son, Josiah, came walking down the hall. He had his giant blue comforter wrapped around his head with the rest of it dragging at least ten feet behind him. He had pursed lips and a scowl on his face. I asked him, “Why the long face?” His response was some sort of animal like grumble and he threw himself onto the couch. Well, so far, I’m 0-2. Here comes my cheerful third grader. She jumps onto the couch, snatching part of Josiah’s comforter, to which he protests, and a giant argument ensues. I had to play referee and explain to my daughter that there was another blanket folded on the back of the couch. She could have easily used that one. In a not so kind tone, she looked at Josiah and said, “Sharing is caring. Hmmmmppf.” Lord, give me the patience. It was 6:45 and time to walk my Junior higher to the bus stop. Heaven forbid I walk her all the way, her friends might see me. We get to the corner and she walks away, like I’m not even there. I’ll admit it, it does hurt my feelings. I think I deserve a hug or a kiss. In the very least a nod of the head and a, “I’ll see you later.”
I returned and the battle continued between these two littles. One was mad because the other was putting their feet on their beloved siblings head. Then, they fought over what show they were going to watch, who’s turn it was to pick the channel, who’s turn it was to pick what they wanted for breakfast, who’s turn it was to feed the dog, so on and so forth.
“KNOCK IT OFF!” I yelled loud enough for the neighbors to hear. So much for praying for patience, peace and joy. My husband walked into the situation, “What are you yelling for?” I snapped back at him, he something along the lines, “You don’t have to get mad at me.” He turned and hopped into the shower to get ready for work. I left with the two grumpy kids and took them to school.
By the time I got back home, my husband had already left and I felt bad. I really should have apologized for snapping at him. I started to think about the way I reacted to every situation with my family and had an epic fail. With the house quiet, I read my bible, prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to show me how to be better.
I am a very blessed wife. From the very beginning of our marriage, I have always prayed for our marriage to last a lifetime. No divorce, no adultery, no…rap music. God has faithfully answered two of these three prayer requests. We’ve been married for 16 years, together for a total of twenty. Not having to deal with the hurt of divorce or adultery has been a huge blessing. Rap music, however, he loves it. It seems so petty, but some of our biggest arguments have been over rap music. I cannot stand it. I don’t like the way it changes my mood. It aggravates me. I can only equate it to fingernails on a chalk board. My husband loves to play it and play it loud. He also loves to watch MTV (the same stinkin’ videos over and over), he wants me to listen to lyrics in a vain attempt to convince me that ‘I may like it if I could just understand it’. Not. Going. To. Happen. After many years, he has accepted the fact that it’ll never be and I have accepted the fact that he will probably always love it (even though I pray all the time his heart would be changed).
That morning I prayed for our marriage, our differences and myself. I asked that my heart would be changed. That I be strengthened in love, patience, and kindness. I prayed that I could be more like him when it comes to these traits (minus the rap music). I prayed that his love for me continues to grow and grow and our marriage would be blessed.
That evening he came home and handed me an envelope. He said it was from a lady that he had met in the training class he had been taking. This is what it said:
How blessed am I? I got a personal message from the Holy Spirit. It came in an unexpected way, but His ways are almost always unexpected. It is scripturally inline and valid (Acts 9:10, 21:10-15) that God can use other people to give you message, especially when you are too caught up in earthly stuff to listen. On this day, that had been especially hard, when I felt like I dropped the ball and snuffed out the Holy Spirit, He had found a way to speak to me.
My marriage is blessed. My family is blessed. I am blessed. I am far from completely understanding how all things spiritual works, it’s a never ending path with new things to learn every day. I eagerly wait and expect the fruits of the Spirit to continue to grow in me, my faith be strengthened and love be the story of my life.