I feel as if all the jagged loose ends of my passionate early adulthood have lately and slowly been woven into some picture that is far more beautiful and quiet than anything I myself could have done or imagined on my own.
Recently, I read the blog of another person to whom God spoke unexpectedly. It was encouraging and interesting to read. It helped put some of my own experiences in perspective, so I will share this now.
This happened nearly a year ago, the day after Christmas last December. I first wrote about it in two or three different ways; as two blogs I didn't publish- one of which I wrote directly after it happened, which is how I managed to capture all the awkwardness of my dialogue exactly, and as a letter first to my mother and then to my friend.
I've sort of combined them and smoothed out the writing.
We stopped by Keith's mother's house in the morning before getting on the interstate. When she hugged me goodbye, she squeezed me tight and prayed a blessing half under her breath. I didn't catch what she was saying, but as she prayed, I felt my spirit flare up. So did hers.
She pulled an arm's length away and looked at me, her eyes shining. "The Lord is using you, sister," she said, with a grin.
I felt hugely and unexpectedly shy, and ducked my head. It was as though she had a glimpse of something that is normally only seen by Christ. My spirit is all liquid warm and flares up easily like that because I'm held in His arms all night long; my spirit belongs to Him.
On the trip home I was talking with Jesus as I normally do. I was just wondering over how, at the beginning, I had resisted His love, denied it, out of this sense of unworthiness. His love and presence had shocked me- it was so personal, so present, so unabashed.
But I had grown so deeply into His love and presence by then. I had learned to surrender myself- and then to delight in Him, welcome Him, adore Him.
The entire drive down, He was with me so closely, flooding me with His love and care of me. It was as though I were tucked deep, deep in with Him, safe and sound and cherished. He kept pouring His love out on me. I was awash with it, floating away on it.
Tennis shoes up on the handlebars
Payin' no mind to them passin' cars
No doubts no fears
Just like when you are here
No chains, no strings
No fences, no walls
No net, just you
To catch me when I fall
Look heart, no hands.
To just let go and reach for the sky
You know, sometimes it felt I could fly
No doubts, no fears
Just like when you are here
Just a smile of a touch
And I'm a kid again
I can almost feel that wind
-Randy Travis, Look Heart, No Hands
And I was just sitting there in the car, just overwhelmed by love, tears tricking down my cheek- my heart was so full.
He said this with tender humor. He didn’t mind the picture, not one bit. He loved the person that painted that picture. He was just letting me know that it did not really capture who He truly was. No image of Him ever can.
But the awe, in the incredible awe was still all through me. I just couldn’t speak. Finally, I said His name.
I cried out, “Jesus! Jesus!”
And I felt His answering joy and love like flames flaring up in my spirit.
I began to be able to speak a little more, though not very well. In response, I heard His words very clearly in my spirit or inner ear, or however one wishes to put it. It was as if His voice had weight. But I also sometimes understood things behind the words, so I will write that in parentheses.
(When He said this, He specifically caused me to remember that flashback I had had of being very young, in upstate New York, and the little spring fed pool of water and how it trickled down over the mossy stones, and how He had been with me then, caught up in love with me and the moment itself. But I also knew He had been with me since even before I had been born.)
When I was seventeen or eighteen, there had been a time, two or three days, when I spent hours reading the gospels as slowly as I could, trying to imagine myself there, with Him. Not because I wanted to be an apostle- heavens no. But just because I so longed to be that close to Him.)
(He caused me to remember a specific time when I had felt moved to bring up that fear to Him, and He had assured me that it was impossible for me to lose Him, because I was born from His spirit; His spirit was my life, His spirit and mine were knit together like one spirit, and so I could never lose Him.)
"We have,” I said with awe. “You did teach me about that.”
I thought, in a babbling rush, of all the things Jesus said and did- the miracles and the people who had spoken with Him and the places He had been. It struck me all over again that I was talking to same Person right then.
I had a sudden incredible desire to talk to Him about all of it, any of it, just because, and for some reason, I thought of His ascension, and I got mixed up without realizing it.
I thought that He had said to His disciples,"I will never leave you nor forsake you," before He left them.
I did not figure that out until much later, at which point I thought I was going to curl up and die.
But in that moment, I was blissfully unaware. I misquoted Jesus to Jesus.
He corrected me in a way that I did not catch on to until much later.