So one of the things I really struggle with is having confidence that I have really heard from God. There are many reasons why I struggle with this - namely that in my youth I think I heard correctly only about 50% of the time. But obtaining an ear for God is something that takes some training. And practice.
About 10 years or so ago, William and I had just 1 car. I had wrecked mine a few months after getting married and we hadn't been able to afford another. So each night I would go pick him up from work. One evening as I waited, I sensed His presence in my car. It was very tangible...He was sitting right there next to me. I said "Hey God, what can I do for you?" (Well? What else do you say to the creator of the universe when He decides to hang out with you in your car???) I closed my eyes and had the most incredible vision. This vision felt like 5 minutes - but it actually took 35 minutes. And the entire point of it was His command to care for His people.
My spiritual gifts are simple ones. I pray for people. I think the "Christian" term for this is intercessor. And in particular, I have a knack for praying for people who need healing. I've been sent many many people to pray for. But the one that sticks with me the most is when I was healed myself. I was a young leader in a small youth group. I had just begun working with this group after returning from college in Corpus Christi, TX. We were at camp - a camp I had been to many times myself as a youth. One morning I woke up and I wasn't feeling so hot. It became very apparent that I was very sick. I spent the morning with the great white throne, getting to know it very well. The youth pastor stopped by and suggested I stay in an extra room where the head honcho leaders stayed. (It was very hotel like - unlike the camping quarters.) The thought was that I would not disturb the girls in their comings and goings. (Who wants a sick leader cramping their style?) I hung out in that room all afternoon. All day I had been asking God why I was sick, and all that kept coming to me was "Can you praise me during difficult times?" So I sang praise and worship songs all day - well, while I was conscious.
That evening I felt compelled to go to evening service. It took me 30 minutes and 4 pukes to get there. The girls had all gathered around me and encouraged me the entire way. That evening I sat slumped in my chair. I don't remember exactly what was being said - but I remember the speaker guy asking the leaders to stand in their chairs and pray over the youth. I couldn't walk. Remember? I couldn't hardly sit up. Remember? I was still puking my daylights out. Remember? But in my inner being I felt the command. "Stand up and pray." I gawked. "Ummm...I can't stand up. Remember???" The reply came back clear. Stand up and pray! So I did. I stood up on my chair, and in THAT instant...THAT instant I was completely healed. I felt 100% better.
It was amazing, and I will never forget it.
I say all this to explain some of the life changing events I've had, to explain that although these things have happened I still struggle. And lately, God has been pointing out this struggle to me, giving me confirmations and confidence. I've already mentioned when God was talking to me about William's brother, Thomas. Well this last week another confirmation came.
There was a person whom I had been praying for who was struggling with health awhile back. I prayed and prayed but this person continued to struggle. God started telling me "I'm teaching lessons, there are things that need to be learned." So I began to divert my prayers, asking God to guide this person and help the lessons be learned. I just couldn't imagine that this was really true - but I prayed anyway.
William came home after a meeting and told me that this person had really been struggling during that time period. The struggles were rather serious in nature, and as this person triumphed their health improved. I don't know the nature of the struggles...but I don't have too. I just sat there thinking...WOW.
So today I'm very thankful God is taking the time to encourage me in this area. I can only imagine that with these small quiet things that God must be preparing me for something larger and faith stretching. That is usually the way.
And on a last note - I thought I would update on our finances.
Because of some choices we made to get our house sold, we ended up with a rather large tax bill. Shocking really - we've never owed. (And BTW - if you owe, KS charges you an extra $14 for the heck of it. Nice eh?) We got all the paper work in Feb and thought "Ummm, how are we going to pay this without going into further debt?"
Well as of last week it happened. God provided for us. It isn't like we get strange checks in the mail or anything. But - things like we get more money than normal. William looked for anything possible to sell on Ebay. He gathered up our old N64 and the games we had with it. Similar systems (with less games...but still) were going for $75-$90. Ours sold for $150.
Those are the types of things God has been doing. And to me, even though it is something small like paying our tax bill, it is continued affirmation that we are making good decisions and are on the right path. So now I'm asking God "What next? When we are done here, what do You have in store for us?" I just know that whatever He has is going to be 10 times better than anything I can possible think up. And THAT is what I want for our family.