Repositioned For A Shift in Direction
For the past couple of weeks Holy Spirit has had me revisiting a highly focused and very purposeful spiritual shift I experienced, which began seventeen years ago this month. In fact, it began seventeen years ago this week. That was 2005. It was a strange and confusing time for me. Yet, it became a time and season filled with incredible encounters and manifestation of the Spirit. It became the catalyst which changed the direction of my life forever. It was entirely unexpected and I almost missed it.
As a direct result of the encounters with God that I experienced during that season, my identity in Christ was redefined and the work I was doing was redirected. What I experienced was a dynamically significant change. It turned my life in a direction I would not have gone down had it not been for the specific turmoil I was experiencing.
When I came out of this redefining season, I was headed in an entirely different direction. Not only was the work redefined, everything about my life was altered.
This is old news, so why revisit it now? Good question. That’s what I’ve been asking. This morning, however, I began to get an inkling. Hum? Could it be that many are currently poised for a similar type of shift? I think so.
Our earthly circumstances don’t indicate what is happening in the eternal (spiritual) realm. It can’t. Despite this, we can receive spiritual sight when our Heavenly Father opens our eyes to see into the Spiritual realm. Seeing spiritual things, however, does not ensure that we have spiritual understanding accompanying it. I have found that unless we pursue gaining understanding from God, asking Him what He means by what He is revealing, that we tend to misinterpret the signs and visions through our human intellect.
Currently, I have been in very trying and exhausting earthly circumstances that are not shifting as quickly as I would like. I’m languishing emotionally, mentally and physically. I have reached an end of my ability to keep going. Saying that, I know enough to reach out for help. I ask God first and then the family of God. This time last week I reached a breaking point. In the midst of my mental exhaustion I reached out to an old friend. I turned to someone I knew would hear the voice of heaven. I reached out to someone who had been my mentor and is my oldest friend. It is the one person in the whole world who has known me the longest and walked with me through some serious life situations. She is a trusted friend. She one who is trusted by God to walk beside others through difficult situations. She is someone who herself has seen great hardship and walked through extreme difficulty. I asked her to pray.
And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; ~ Acts 1:4
Despite the nine hundred miles which separate us, she didn’t hesitated to offer wise counsel and heartfelt prayer. In the midst of the prayer she stopped and said, “Betty, I hear Holy Spirit saying, “Wait”.” That was not what my emotions wanted to hear. It certainly wasn’t what my will or my mind wanted to accept. But my spirit received the word and almost immediately with it I also received the peace of the Lord.
The things of the Spirit are not always easily explained. The Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit. Since my spirit received the peace that accompanied the word of counsel from God, that peace has been permeating throughout my being. The peace of God transcends.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Phil. 4:7
But what does this have to do with revisiting the events which occurred seventeen years ago? A lot actually. At the onset of 2005, I was dating a wonderful man who just happened to be terminally ill. For the past year, he had been in and out of the hospital. By the end of 2004 he seemed to be out of the woods and back to normal life. We had relaxed with a great sigh as we entered 2005. On Valentine’s Day 2005 he proposed. The following day he was back in the hospital and by that Sunday the 20th, he was gone. As you can imagine I was in a terrible state. We hadn’t even had time to announce anything publicly. Only his mother knew of our intentions. Nevertheless, there I was suspended not knowing what direction my life would now be headed.
Just before this, I hadn’t renewed the lease on my apartment and had temporarily moved in with friends as we were making preparations to start a new life. When he died I was in shock. The family I had moved in with were wonderful and caring and wanted to help as much as they could. In an effort to help me they invited me to tag along to a worship conference being held in the area. I didn’t want to go, but gave in despite feeling numb. I figured I could at least sit in the presence of God and that might help ease my enormous pain.
That evening, as I sat in the back of the sanctuary, the presence of God soothed my soul and bathed my spirit. At some point the Spirit of the Lord seeped into my being and began to penetrate past the horrific wound in my heart. I found myself not only standing but up at the front prostrate before the Lord. Waves of glory passed over me as Holy Spirit ministered to me. He began to open me up in a way I had never been opened before. I didn’t know if it was extreme emotional desperation or just that I was numb. All I know is that somehow God entered in and shifted me dynamically that day. I have not been the same since. Something had begun. Something powerful and life changing was just getting started. But at the time I was somewhat clueless.
That day turned out to be a turning point. I wasn’t looking for a shift. I was expecting different. But different is exactly what happened. A few weeks later, in March, my old friend invited me to go with her to a home group meeting. Again, I really didn’t want to go. I was, after all ,still dealing with grief. The loss was still pretty fresh. But again, I followed Holy Spirit’s prompting despite how I felt.
There was a prophetically anointed husband and wife team ministering that night. They shared testimonies of what God was doing with them and then shifted to personal ministry. I didn’t go expecting to get something. But again, I got more than I expected.
The husband began to prophesy. I couldn’t tell you anything he said to me that night. What I do remember is what his wife said. “You are going to have an angelic visitation. In fact, you already have been having visitations.” There was more but that is what stuck. I knew she was right. I was surprised that it was revealed publicly.
At the time, life was simply overwhelming, both in a good way and a not so good way. What seemed an awful season of grief and loss was infused with incredible encounter with God. If I had allowed the grief to dictate my actions or responses I never would have entered into, what I look back on, as the most incredible season of my life. I would have missed out on what God was doing in my life. It wasn’t easy. And I don’t want to imply that I didn’t experience grief. I did. But in the midst of my grief the Lord met with me. Right there in the midst of unexpected devastation God showed me the unexpected new life He had for me.
The things of the Spirit ebb and flow. They are always changing. There are times of great out pouring and there are times we wonder where He is. Sometimes we ride a high wave. Other times we sit on the banks of a river that has run dry. Sometimes, when we least expect it, God takes us down a path we didn’t intend on going.
In the Spirit, I am seeing another major turn. What is on the other side of that turn? Who knows? Will emotional, mental or circumstantial turmoil be apart of the mix? I have no clue. What I do know is that if we are willing to take steps with God, even if we don’t feel like it, God will exceed our expectations.
Heavenly Father, meet with us and surround us with Your presence, in the midst of our earthly difficulties. Draw us with Your tender mercy and Your lovingkindness. Reveal Yourself to us. Set our feet upon the path which You have designed for us to walk. Grant us your great grace to stay in step with You and follow Holy Spirit no matter where You lead. Help us to not be overtaken by the losses we experience or the grief that would try to seize our soul. Be our guide. Lead us with Your gentle hand and Your outstretched arm. Grant us the amazing grace to proceed. Amen