“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. ”

Matthew 18:12-14
Encouraged by Scripture Pursued and Awakened

As I noted in the introduction to this season on the “Robin’s Journey” page, this season encompasses my entire life, but I didn’t understand this for a very long time. In the toggles below I recount seven specific experiences when I received guidance, two before my “awakening” and three after. Click on each one to read the text. It is with deep gratitude and joy that I know now they all came from God. He was pursuing me!

In my late teens and early 20s, I was very involved in the occult. I had my astrological chart cast every year and followed my transits closely. I used numerology to evaluate whether someone I was dating was compatible with me or not. I relied on the i-ching, the casting of coins, to make decisions about what I should do. I was obsessed, afraid to make a move without some entity giving me permission.

Over time, I began to feel uneasy about my reliance on the occult. I knew my ability to make decisions was being impaired as my anxiety had increased over time. I wasn’t more confident. I hesitated and fretted about everything. First to go was the casting of my astrological chart. Next was numerology. The i-ching took longer, but eventually I weaned myself from it, too. Where the sense I needed to stop came from was a mystery to me, but I did listen.

I still get goosebumps when I remember this one. I grew up in a family impacted by alcoholism (my mom’s) and it plays an important role in this story.

In my mid-30s I experienced symptoms of PMS. Each month my cycle brought out a rude, short-tempered side to my personality along with severe cramps. I asked my doctor if there was anything that could be done to reduce the symptoms. He wrote me a prescription for tranquilizers. Yet, when I thought about taking it to a pharmacy to fill it, I had a strong sense I should not do this. The feeling of dread was very strong, tangible, like something I could touch. I listened. A few weeks later I threw it away and didn’t think about again for years.

Fast-forward about 10 years. My mom had died. (She had found her way to AA the year I graduated from high school and had lived a sober life for 20 years.) As I struggled with grief I reached out to a cousin to talk. Her mom had been an alcoholic, too, so I knew she’d understand all of the emotions I was feeling. She loaned a book to me that had helped her: “Another Chance” by Sharon Wegscheider Cruse. The book describes what happens in a family impacted by alcoholism.

As I read, I suddenly felt like Helen Keller at the pump with Annie Sullivan! When Helen understood that Annie was spelling w-a-t-e-r into her hand, the world opened up to her! I felt that at last I had the key that could explain what happened to my family. I wasn’t crazy for feeling my mom’s drinking had impacted us all.

The book described distinct roles that family members assume: the enabler, the hero, the scapegoat, the lost child and the mascot. As I read the chapters, I saw myself and my siblings. Our names could have been written on the chapters so accurately were our lives and struggles described. I read these words in the description of my role: “… prone to migraine, dependency on tranquilizers, and—as classic “type A” workaholic—to heart attacks and stokes.” I was stunned! A shiver ran up my spine as I thought about the warning I’d been given 10 years earlier. What if I hadn’t received it? Or heeded it? How different might my life have been if I’d filled that prescription? I was deeply grateful even though I didn’t know where the warning came from at the time.

It was an unlikely situation and place when I knew for certain I was hearing from God. I think this shows He has a sense of humor.

It happened a couple of years after the discovery of our family roles. I was at work, reading a world history book during my lunch hour. I was completing my AAS degree in Graphic Design and I needed a history course that could be taken via home study. This is the one I chose.

On this day, I was reading about Martin Luther and the Reformation. As you might guess, this isn’t a subject covered by the Catholic church in Catechism classes, which had been the only faith training I’d received. When I read that Luther believed all people should have Bibles and know scripture, I knew instantly I believed this, too. I felt it body and soul, this premise I’d never heard of before. Because it was directing me to read the Bible, I knew it had to be God who revealed it to me.

When I got home from work that night, I informed my husband Tom, “Guess what! I am a protestant!” Tom had been raised in the Lutheran Church so this was good news for him. Shortly after, I bought my first Bible and began to read it. We began to talk about finding a church home. But we dallied. Four years later, God came knocking again…

I recount this experience in the post titled “Son Rising,” and recap it here. (Link)

Tom and I attended an evening prayer vigil in Wash Park a few days after the attack. As we stood holding hands with strangers, praying, crying, sharing the deep grief we all felt, I again heard from God. He told me that either I believed in Jesus, received Him as my Savior, or I didn’t. Yes or no. There is no middle ground or degrees of belief when it comes to Jesus. Did I follow Him, proclaim Him as my Savior to others? I answered, “Yes, Lord, I do.”

Again we talked about finding a church home. And again we dallied. God knocked again, this time only two months later.

Just before Thanksgiving, Tom accepted a day-long work assignment at a branch location of his company, taking the place of a co-worker who refused to go. On his way there, he drove across a bridge and hit ice mid-way. He lost control of our truck and found himself on the wrong side of the road, in the path of an oncoming car. He thought his life was over. Just before impact, the tires found pavement and he was able to pull hard to the right. He drove off the road into an enormous Ponderosa pine, totaling the truck but escaping without injury. We thanked God, grateful beyond measure that Tom was okay! We talked again about finding a church home.

But again we dallied. God knocked again two months later…

This knock upon the door from God started with a routine eye exam.

The doctor was testing my peripheral vision and I simply could not see how many fingers he was holding up. This discovery led to a full scale “field of vision” test a day later, which led to a referral to an eye specialist. I had to wait more than a week to get into see the specialist. The specialist would be able to tell me whether the problem was in my eyes or in my brain, and whether or not I would lose my sight or, perhaps, my life if the problem was in my brain.

Scared beyond anything I’d ever known, I was on my knees every day praying to God. The specialist decided to scheduled me for an MRI before he would make his diagnosis. This meant another week of waiting for the MRI, then another week waiting for the results. I continued to pray to God throughout.

It finally struck me in my soul that I should be honoring this God I was praying to, by going to His house on Sundays. This is what finally brought us to find our first church home!

As I write these words, 20 years have passed and our life has been forever transformed, blessed beyond measure by God’s persistence.

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

John 15:15

Jesus has the ability to reveal things to His friends—that includes us when we receive Him—that we cannot know any other way. I believe I’ve witnessed this truth in the experiences shared above, when I listened to the prompting put on my heart. There are many times when God spoke to me through the people in my life and when He spoke to others through me. I will share more about them in future posts. (Link to Welcomed & Proclaiming)

To God alone be all the glory!