A year ago today, God "spoke" to me for the first time ever. Well, maybe I should say that it was the first time that I was truly and completely aware that He was speaking to me. I have been a Christian for most of my life, but it took me until I was 39 years old to "be still and listen" long enough to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I "heard" was the Father's still small voice.
Before I tell how it happened, please let me say that I did not audibly "hear" a voice. It's hard to explain or to understand unless you have experienced it yourself. And, I bet that it is different for everyone. But, for me, it is a peaceful "knowing"; a quiet, but certain affirmation. A lot of the time, the truth that is being imparted to me takes me by surprise, "What? Really? Are you sure?" I ask. And it's not something that happens all the time-although, wouldn't that be wonderful? To always be so sure of the exact direction in which God is leading you?
Last year during this week in June, I took a week away from my everyday life and surroundings to devote myself completely to experiencing an encounter with God. Think of it as sort of a "retreat" among a few other women who were also seeking some time alone with the Father. On Friday afternoon of that week, I was alone, up in a treehouse (of all places!), praying and "listening" for God's voice to speak to me. It was a warm afternoon, and a little uncomfortable sitting on the wooden "floor" of the treehouse. As I got up to leave, I realized that while I had been praying and listening, I had also been absentmindedly doodling with a stick into the soft and weathered wood of the treehouse floor. I had carved a letter "N" into the floor. Weird! Why an "N"? I could understand an "S" or maybe a "J" (Jeff), but "N" was just random. Oh well. I didn't give it much more thought than that.
Later that day, I returned to the treehouse to once again pray. When I was finished praying, I asked God, "What does the 'N' mean? Does it stand for something?" I began racking my brain for all kinds of "N" words that might be significant (and logical). What could God be trying to tell me? Or, maybe I was just being weird and reading something into the doodled letter that didn't exist. That must be it! "Let me guess, Lord, it means nothing!" Suddenly, I clearly "heard" the Lord tell me "Yes!"
"What? What do you mean it means nothing?" I thought, confused.
And He said to me, "It means "Nothing". There is NOTHING that you need besides me."
At that moment a couple of memories from the week before I left town for this time alone flashed through my mind- so clearly I could almost physically see them. The first was of a billboard near my house that I had passed several times the previous week. It was sponsored by a local church and read: "Jesus + NOTHING = Everything". My oldest son had asked me what that meant, and I had explained that it meant that Jesus was all that we need and that we don't need anything else. He is our everything.
The second memory was a riddle that my oldest son had told us while we were driving in the car. It went something like this:
Will: "What do blind people see and Christians need more than God?"
Jeff: "I don't know, what?"
In the treehouse, I sat there in awe. I couldn't believe that God had spoken to ME! I have so often heard other Christians speak of all the wonderful things God has said to them, but I never understood it until this day. And the message He was giving me was so simple, yet so hard to grasp a lot of the time. I sat there and let His words wash over me and let the truth of those words comfort me. He's all I need! There's NOTHING more that I need. He will be faithful to supply all my needs, and He wants me to depend upon Him. NOTHING else can make me whole like the presence of God in my life.
Overall, the message I received from the Lord on that day was that He wants me to trust Him. He is trustworthy and I need to just let go and trust Him. I hadn't realized until that day how little trust I had placed in Him throughout my life. I had often been really good at trusting Him with the "small" things, but I'd had a bad habit of trying to take the bigger matters into my own hands.
A wonderful verse that I came away from that week with was: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 'I will be found by you' declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity.'" Jeremiah 29: 13-14 I had found the promise in this verse to be true. When I sought Him with all my heart, He showed up!
Once I returned home from my "retreat", I bought a bracelet with only one charm on it. And on the charm...the letter "N". :-)
...and a little reminder in my laundry room: