LISTENING TO HOLY SPIRIT:
Deacon Stephanie decided to start a prayer circle on Sunday mornings before church. Being that I worked 6 days straight, it would be a challenge to get up an extra hour early - especially since it would be my only day off. But I was certain this would be a good idea for me, and I felt overwhelmingly compelled to meet with this deacon and join her prayer circle. Little did I know Holy Spirit had other plans for me.
I set my alarm for an extra hour early. I woke up, got dressed and headed out the door. I was oddly full of energy that morning and blasted gospel music on my ride to church. The roads were pretty empty when a man stumbled into the middle of the street and put his hand out to stop my car. I was startled and slowed down to a stop. I asked him what was wrong. I thought maybe he was looking for spare change. He clenched his chest and said he was having trouble breathing. I told him I would pull over and to follow me. I was very nervous because there was no one else around. I pulled into a parking lot and cautiously stayed in my car. I told him to sit on the curb and asked him again what was wrong. I noticed he was very pale. In very labored breath, he said he woke up with difficulty breathing and it seemed to be getting worse. I told him I would call for help. He just shook his head. I called and spoke to the 911 operator, gave her the address and explained the situation. She assured me help was on the way. I sent a text to my Pastor and the Deacon letting them know where I was and to include this gentleman in prayer. Within 10 minutes a fire-truck arrived. At this point, I felt safe enough to get out of my car. They asked me if I knew this man. I replied no I did not. They advised me that it was okay to leave and they will take over. I went over to the man and placed my hand on his back. I assured him that he will be okay and that my church is praying for him. He looked at me and shook his head.
I went back in my car and continued my drive to church. I felt like something special had just happened but wasn't sure what it was. I got to church and sat in the parking lot to collect my thoughts. I suddenly felt a delayed rush of emotions. Fear, worry, concern. What if this guy was trying to rob me? Would my help be enough? What if this poor man could not wait for help to arrive? As I looked down, my phone lit up with a text message. It was a text from my ex-manager. He just randomly decided to drive down that very same street at that very same time. He was asking me if I was okay because he saw me alone with this man. I instantly felt God’s presence and just broke down crying. That was clear confirmation that God was with me the entire time and that, as He promised, He will never leave me or forsake me.
I went into church and I got a big hug from my very concerned Pastor. I realized I was very late for prayer circle and went looking for the Deacon to explain what happened, but it turned out that she didn’t even come to church that day. Then it finally clicked. I understood why God wanted me to come to church extra early that Sunday. My only job was to listen, to surrender and to let Him take control. It was a very powerful moment. I'm grateful that God chose to use me to possibly save this man's life. I'm thankful for my church family and the role they played. That morning I learned the importance of obedience and the power of the Holy Spirit.
GOD NEVER FAILED ME:
I have never heard an audible voice from God but I do hear his voice in my spirit and on occasions in a very clear vision.
I had been in what I learned later to be an emotionally abusive marriage. I prayed for years for God’s help. I prayed for Him to fix my husband, to fix my marriage, to fix me. I prayed for Him to give me peace and to learn to make the best of the situation. My prayers went on for over 15 years. I didn’t know what to do and I couldn’t see that God was doing anything either.
One morning I woke up with a vision in my mind of what my life should look like and the person I should be with. Although God had revealed things to me previously in visions, I couldn’t believe this message was from Him. In essence, He was telling me I was free to leave this abusive relationship and find the person who would fulfill the vision He gave me. How could that be right? I never believed that God’s plan for me was divorce. I always thought He would somehow heal my marriage.
I cried out to God for months to “prove” to me this was really His plan - that I was understanding this correctly. He was faithful in my doubt. Every time I asked for confirmation, He provided it; sometimes through a sermon, sometimes through my circle of church friends. Over and over for months, He was patient with me.
It has now been seven years since I had that particular vision from God. Although it was still the most difficult time of change in my life, God never failed me.
TRUSTING IN GOD:
God is a wonderful God. He lets us have do-overs. We fall down and we get back up, we move forward in faith, then we take a few steps back and we can feel the tug of God pushing us on saying, “go forward, TRUST ME.”
COHSS has helped me grow in faith and given me a family of faith-filled brothers and sisters to support and love me. THAT is HUGE. That is so big. It's unconditional, like God, who is even bigger.
Trusting in God means many things. For me one of those things is letting go of my fears and giving them to Him. With my church family supporting me and praying for me I got that 'push' from God telling me to go forward, step out on faith, and have no fear. Just do it! (Do you know that with God all things are possible? It is true.)
God delivered me from my fear that gripped me tight when I had to speak in front of people. The nervousness, the red neck from heat I felt as fear gripped me - GONE. Praise God.
Our worship leader, Shawn Thomas helped me get through singing a solo. Me! How about that? I was shaking. My voice crackled in the start. But I saw the faces of my church family and realized it wasn't a solo. God was present. His love was in the church and the grip of fear was gone. Worship for Him took over.
Even now, Pastor Leslie responded to my request to read announcements ONE Sunday with a cheerful “Yes!” One Sunday has become many Sundays. Glory to God.
I won't end this testimony until I say, “I am blessed!” COHSS is a blessing to my life. Thank you all.