By Kirsten Strawn
Discouraged I sat at my computer. Slumped over my desk I asked God, What’s the point of all my writing? Am I wasting my time? I glanced down noticing a small piece of paper with a scripture on it. I had received the verse at Bible study during Easter when we received a plastic egg filled with goodies. Each egg contained a different scripture with a promise to claim as our own. Picking up the small piece of paper I re-read my promise from Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged for I am with you wherever you go.” I sat back realizing that I was hearing a message from God. He was talking to me. Was I terrified? I thought about it for a moment. Yes, I was afraid of being judged. I was afraid of failure. Would I ever write a book? Would anyone read it? All I wanted was to make a difference. Surely I had not gone through my past suffering in vain. I straightened up in my chair. God was telling me not to be afraid, to trust Him with my writing, and to be obedient.
I marveled at how personal God is. Over the years I learned to hear from God by doing the following:
Seek Him with all of my heart
Pray for God to guide me to what He wants me to know.
Expect to hear from Him
Ask for specific direction
Know God will speak through His Word, prayer, godly people, and circumstances
This time His message sat among a stack of papers on my desk. With a sigh, I rested in the thought that the Creator of the universe gave me a love note to encourage me. Glancing at my blank screen I contemplated whether to begin my writing or succumb to the diversion of email. I clicked on My Yahoo Mail to see a message in my inbox. I recognized an email from a friend in Canada. I spoke at her women’s retreat when I lived there two years prior. I opened her note to read, “Good Morning my friend! You won’t believe the conversation I just had. It was about you! A woman just called me about registration. She said that it was through the speaker that we had two years ago that she grew so much from that weekend. She said you were so transparent with your story, how you were “real” and the impact you had on her life. You showed her that by being “real” the effect she can have on other people’s lives. Praise God! I hope this encourages you today.”
Overwhelmed by the timing of this beautiful message of encouragement I knew God was clearly giving me direction. He wanted me to share my story of hope. God cares for me. He knows my fears, yet He will give me the strength and the courage to press on, to make a difference in people’s lives as I did at the woman’s retreat.
A lump formed in my throat as tears moistened my eyes. I began to compose a reply to my sweet friend when I heard a strange flapping sound behind me near the open kitchen door. I looked over my shoulder in disbelief. A sparrow fluttered into my kitchen hovering for several seconds in midair before landing on the shutters. I remained still not wanting to scare the bird. I watched in amazement. Then to my surprise another sparrow entered through the door hovering near the window. Shocked, I wondered what made these two birds come into my house. Following my question, I became acutely aware of God’s presence. Just then a third bird, this time a red-crested finch, fluttered into my kitchen. Could this really be happening? Not one bird, not two, but three birds bringing a message from God that He is with me; symbolizing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He was allowing me to experience Him personally through His creation. I could hardly contain my gratitude as tears welled up again. I praised Him for His love as I stared in awe. I rejoiced in the message these birds delivered. I thought about the song, His Eye is On The Sparrow, and the scripture that says, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows,” (Matthew 10:31).
Moved by God’s compassion for me I lifted my eyes to heaven thanking my Father for being personal, for loving me so intimately, and for His promises through the scriptures. From the family room at my desk I viewed the birds until it occurred to me that they might fly around the house. How would I get them out safely? I began to pray, “Father, please let these precious birds leave without getting hurt.” Then in the same way they came in, one by one the birds flew out the door unharmed. Sad to see them leave, I was left with the overwhelming presence of God. I felt His peace and comfort lift my spirits and renew my strength. I knew I could do anything with Him by my side, (Phil.4:13). Our Heavenly Father is a personal loving God who speaks to us through His Word, through His people, through prayer, and circumstances. Next time you experience fear or you feel discouraged know that Jesus is with you.
Through Kirsten’s obedience God has used her many stories to encourage her on-line readers at www.TheFaithCoach.com/.