beginning

Just The Way You Are

Sometimes God talks to me through my radio. I know that sounds strange and may have you running for the hills, wondering if I’m unbalanced or mentally ill. I get it. I know how that statement sounds. God, speaking through the radio? Seriously? Does he, like, take over the airwaves and speak to you? What happens if you change the station? Honestly, do other people hear him when he “talks” through the radio?

I see how this can look like I’m living under a grand delusion. Let me reassure you, it’s not like a voice starts to talk to me over the airwaves. It’s more that God knows a message I need to hear and He shares that message through a particular song that is playing on the radio at a particular time. This has happened to me on several occasions that when I start the car and turn on the radio, the same song will be playing. Or I’ll be driving along feeling really crappy about myself or my circumstances and I turn the station from talk radio to music and a random but totally appropriate song is there, revealing to me something about God’s character or about how God sees me.

Along with my identity issues, I have an image problem. I look at myself and I don’t see a beautiful woman. I often see someone who is overweight, plain and unremarkable. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way about myself. Many people, especially women, have body image issues. It’s epidemic and it’s so very sad. This is not how God sees us. He doesn’t create unremarkable. He doesn’t care what the current fashion is or how the world sees us. He looks at me and He sees a woman who is beautiful, who is talented, who has a great laugh, gorgeous eyes. He sees Himself in me, and God loves Himself completely. He can’t love me any less. He can’t see me as anything less.

I was feeling rather down about myself, feeling ugly inside and out, so much so that as I was driving to work I was crying. I forget the reasons why, I only remember swiping tears from my cheeks as I drove toward work, wondering if I had anything in my handbag that would allow me to mask the redness that would surely be in my eyes. There was a stupid commercial on the talk radio station I usually listen to during my commute, so I changed the station rather than endure the commercial break. Then God’s message to me poured out of the radio through the unlikely voice of Bruno Mars.

Her eyes, her eyes, they make the stars look like they’re not shining…

I remember I continued crying, so hard in fact I had to take an exit ramp and pull off the highway to a parking lot while the song continued to play. God was telling me that He loves me. He was telling me how He saw me. He was reminding me that I am amazing. Loved. Beloved. I felt touched in a way I hadn’t before. I felt humbled, and I also felt cherished. I hadn’t felt cherished in a long, long time.

I know, I know, when I compliment her she won’t believe me
And it’s so, it’s so sad to think that she don’t see what I see
But every time she asks me, “Do I look okay?” I say…

For a month, this song would be playing every time I turned on the radio. Every. Single. Time. I could be at home, in the car, or at work, and there it would be. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Sure, it was a popular song and received more than it’s share of airtime, but really, what are the odds that song would play every time I turned on the radio? No matter what time of day or day of the week? God was making sure I understood how He feels about me.

When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change, because you’re amazing just  the way you are. When you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while, cuz girl you’re amazing just the way you are

~from “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

Does this mean there aren’t things about my character that need to grow and develop? Or that God won’t touch parts of my life and tell me, “Now, let’s look at this, shall we? Is this in line with your identity?” No, He will still do those things. He sees me as I am in heaven and He’s working with me to become that person in the here and now. But I needed to know and believe that God loves me with great abandon and that I am beautiful. Loved. Beloved. Cherished.

God was using popular music to help change the narrative in my head. I can’t help but smile now when I hear that song and know God is so happy with me. I don’t see myself as beautiful all the time. I’m still learning about my true identity and I’m still becoming who I am in heaven. Now, through that song, I have another piece of the picture of my present future self, a piece I didn’t have before.

Isn’t it amazing the lengths God will go through to show us who we are to Him? Nothing is beyond His reach. Nothing.

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Beginnings

There are defining moments in everyone’s lives. Events that shape our world view or our sense of self. Joyous occasions such as a wedding, the birth of a child, realizing along sought after dream. Sad moments like the death of a loved one or the loss of something deeply meaningful. Even damaging interactions intersect our lives and change us forever.

For me, one of those defining moments was the first time I looked at someone and saw something about that person I should not known. Heck, I couldn’t have known. I was in high school, hang with friends at youth group. More accurately, they were hanging together and I was hanging on the outskirts, observing and longing to be a part of the easy friendships. In my forties now, I know that high school friendships are anything other than easy, but my adolescent self didn’t know the complexities of human relationships. All she saw was social ease, laughter and belonging. Oh, the siren song of belonging.

I often journaled when I was younger, and those journals were never far from my side. If I wasn’t going to join into the melee and the laughter, I would observe it and write about what I saw, what I felt. I would try to make sense of the life that was being lived around me. Like King David of the Old Testament, my journals were also my cries to God and my attempt to build relationship with him.

My journal open, I was writing my thoughts and my prayers and asking the question of why it appeared so easy for this one girl, we’ll call her Sally, to build friendships and it wasn’t easy for me. As I wrote, the page began to blur and I saw Sally. I saw her parents verbally abusing her and withhold emotional support if she didn’t fall in line and meet their expectations of who she was supposed to be and how she was to act. I saw Sally run to her boyfriend for solace, only to be taken advantage of sexually.  I saw how Sally viewed her own worth – as a being to be used to live out her parents’ dreams and expectations or to be used by boys/men sexually.  Sally didn’t see herself as beloved, as precious, as real outside of these two extremes. But God did. I felt more than saw that God loved Sally and didn’t hold her choices against her. He saw her as perfect. As whole. As radiant and adored. He wanted Sally to feel this, to see this and to be healed by the immense and total love He held for her.

I didn’t know what to do with what I saw and felt that day. I know I treated Sally differently. I was no longer jealous of her. I sometimes felt sorry for her. And in weak moments, I felt superior to her. But I never told her what I saw. I never told her what I had felt that day. And to this day, I regret that. I hope Sally has been able to meet God in that space He is holding for her.

Ever since that day, I have felt things, seen things, sensed things about people. I thought I was just highly intuitive and decided to put my skills to use as a therapist. After earning my degree and working in the field for some time I soon learned that while I love the act of learning about therapy and psychology, I do not like being a therapist.  So I left the field and bounced around in jobs in special education and higher education. And through all this time I remained slightly to the outside, observing, seeing, sensing.

It wasn’t until I met a dear friend, we’ll call her Claire, that I learned I wasn’t just intuitive. I wasn’t going crazy. I am a seer. A prophet. It is part of my gifting in the Spirit. This wasn’t exactly news to me. Every time I have taken a spiritual gifts assessment, prophet, wisdom and teaching always appear. Always. Yet, no one could tell me what it meant to be gifted as a prophet in the 20th century, let alone the 21st. Growing up, I was taught that Jesus was the last prophet. Or that John the Baptist was. And that the word really meant being able to understand scripture and exhort.

So I hid my assessments and didn’t talk about my gifting and I used wisdom, discernment and teaching in my ministry and my life. But it was there. Waiting for me. God was holding open the door and I refused to walk through it. I argued and ranted and turned my back on the gift. Prophet, who would want such a downer of a gift? Not me.

Then I met Claire through a quirk of fate (or providence if you’re more into that) and we got talking. There were many similarities to our lives, just as there were many things that were incredibly different. But we both had a deep desire for relationship with God and others and we both saw, felt, heard, sensed things.

It was Claire who told me  I couldn’t hide what I was any longer. Claire who patiently took me under her wing and started to teach me about my gifting. Claire who loaned me some teachings by Graham Cooke, a gifted teacher and prophet.

It’s been almost two years since I have acknowledged this part of my being. I’m still learning and failing and learning some more. I am also learning that being married to a seer is no easy undertaking. Opening myself up to the prophetic and to the filling of the Holy Spirit has changed me and my marriage. My husband is very black and white and as such doesn’t understand my journey. That’s okay, most days I don’t either.

This blog is my space to chronicle my journey  of discovery and how this impacts my life and marriage. I don’t know many prophets. We don’t tend to put out a shingle and announce to the world we are here. We aren’t mediums or psychics. We don’t do readings, we don’t speak to the dead. We see what God shares with us,  which may also include a message to be shared, or a need to bring to prayer.  We observe.  We pray.  We love our fellow man and we extend grace.

I am a seer. A prophet. This is my journey.