Life has been a bit of a whirlwind. So much has been happening, and so quickly!
I look at the next couple of weeks and instead of excitement and eagerness, a sense of tiredness comes over me. One person to see, another party to attend, another opportunity to go and do. When is the time to be still?
On Tuesday, I got off of work and decided to go to Dennys. I've discovered no matter how many time I try to study at home, I always end up falling asleep. Dennys seemed the only business open late that I could study at instead! I sit down and Zach waits on me. He is a nice young kid and we talked a little bit about where he is from and his job. As I am writing down notes, the other waiter Benni stops to ask what I am studying. I find out two of his nieces are living with them and one of them is 16 and just started getting mail from different colleges. I tell him what I'd like to do with an international degree and then we discussed churches!
A few minutes later (after witnessing a pay-it-forward in the process), Benni nervously stops at my table.
"Just be obedient..." he whispers under his breath.
"Know that you are beautiful inside and out and that soon you will be faced with a big decision. Choose right and know that all will be well. God loves you," he says to me.
How do I respond to that??
"Thank you. Thank you for being obedient. I know that it can be hard to approach a stranger and to be obedient. I appreciate it."
A few minutes later, Benni offers a pumpkin coffee, on the house.
As I nearing the end of my studying time, I stop the waitress Sarah to tell her I love her hair. Sara is 19 and joining the Navy in February.
I am finishing my water and packing my books when two college students approach my table and ask to use it, for access to the outlet.
"Go right ahead, I'm about to leave!" I say.
"Oh don't worry, you can't join us," is Anthony's response.
"I really need to leave anyway."
We began talking and realizing that we know a lot of the same people, they are involved in this Christ ministry on the college and he goes to a nearby church. Anthony is a man who is not afraid to ask questions. He asks me if my church is spirit-lead. Knowing what he means, I try to explain that it isn't in the same way was Freedom. I also explain that I believe in gifts, but it has been a journey and I still struggle with not having experienced them in my life.
Thennnn, in walks Jordan and Sneed - two of my friends from LIT! We hug and begin talking.Apparently they all were at Denny's the day before, and God showed up! The Holy Spirit revealed things to Anthony and Jon Beadle and waitress broke down in tears.
Throughout our conversation, we talk about spiritual gifts because Anthony mentions my struggle and desire to see them in my life. Before he leaves, we all get together and pray. Sneed turns to me and after asking me if I like to talk, tells me that he saw me on stage, speaking to people - professionally. It was a group of women though!
Sneed finally heads out, and Jordan and I talk. We talk about so much, Valerie, bible study, travelling.
Jordan encourages me to try prophesying, so I close my eyes and try to paint a picture on this canvas. Nothing is happening. FInally it hits me, why am I trying to paint a picture instead of developing a photo? So she asks me to see if God wants to tell Sara anything. I try to focus and if I can see anything, it is a sandcastle - very faint and distant.
Sara approaches our table and so I asked her if she likes sandcastles.
"Yeah. Why, do you not?"
"No. I do...."
"THe last time I made a sandcastle was also one of the last times I saw my dad"
"Woah! Crazy! Do you know what? On Sunday we were talking about father figures and about how we all need healing from our relationship with our parents. Ultimately, we need to find our father authority from the true father."
After she walked away, Jordan looks at me with big eyes.
"Last night, at Denny's, she was the waitress who was crying. Anthony told her that God revealed to him that she was sexually abused by her father as a child."
Jordan later looks at me and says, "I see you with your hands behind your head, in a meadow with clouds around you. You find rest and peace in God's presence."
Instead of leaving at 10:15 as planned, I left at 3:00 in the morning.
I do desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy as Paul encourages. I used to feel wrong and selfish for wanting it, but they were encouraging.
They pushed me out of my comfort zone and I'm glad.
I want to and I know I ought to serve, so sometimes I go into situations (like volunteering at a camp or helping lead a bible study), and I'm scared, unsure of what to expect and I do not feel confident at all. But I know I just need to obey and God will honor that and use it. I need to go beyond my comfort zone and my will in those situations.
Why do I feel it is different with spiritual gifts? I was waiting for this strong spirit to take over and to speak with such power that I had no control. But that isn't God. I need to take chances, to be obedient with the gifts also and God will meet me there also.