Robin’s Journey: Pursued and Awakened

“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 life-changing guidance. The first two happened before God “awakened” me so I did not understand it was His Holy Spirit guiding me at the time. Three happened after I knew I was hearing from God. Click on each one to reveal the text.

It is with deep gratitude and joy that He has allowed me to I know that they all came from God as He was pursuing me!

I was very involved in the occult in my late teens and early 20s. 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.

I began to feel uneasy about my reliance on the occult when I realized I felt empty inside, as though I had no substance. My ability to make decisions was impaired because I  had no consistent foundation. Anxiety increased and I hesitated and fretted about everything. The first thing to go was astrology. That was followed by numerology. Letting go of the i-ching took longer, but I weaned myself from it, too. Where the sense of unease 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 during my cycle I became rude, short-tempered and endured severe cramps. I asked my doctor if there was anything that could be done to reduce the symptoms. His solution was to write me a prescription for tranquilizers. When it came to filling it, however, I had a strong sense I should not do this. The feeling of dread was very strong. I listened. A few weeks later I threw the prescription 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 conflicting emotions I was feeling. She loaned me a book that had helped her: “Another Chance” by Sharon Wegscheider Cruse. The book describes what happens in families impacted by alcoholism.

I felt like Helen Keller at the pump with Annie Sullivan! Just as Helen was given the key to understand the world when Annie spelled w-a-t-e-r into her hand, I finally had the key that could explain what had happened to my family. I wasn’t crazy! 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….” I was stunned! I shivered 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 and become addicted? 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 quite 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, required for a course I was taking via home study to complete my AAS degree in Graphic Design. 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 in my life. When I read that Luther believed all people should have a Bible and read/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! I bought my first Bible and began to read it and we began to talk about finding a church home. But we dallied and four years later, God came knocking again…

I recount this experience fully in the post titled “Son Rising.” Below is a recap. (Link)

A few days after the attack, Tom and I attended an evening prayer vigil in Wash Park. 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 received Jesus as my Savior or I didn’t. No middle ground, no picking and choosing what parts of the Bible I believed. When it comes to Jesus, it is yes or no. Did I follow Him? Did I 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. His boss had asked him to take the place of a co-worker who refused to go. As he drove, he crossed a bridge over a culvert and hit ice, losing control of our truck. He 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 that stopped the truck with its long branches, before it reached the tree trunk. The truck was totaled but Tom wasn’t injured. We thanked God, grateful beyond measure that he 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. I recount what this experience meant to me in the post titled “Why, Jesus?” (Link)

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 an appointment with the specialist. The specialist would be able to tell me whether the problem was in my eyes or in my brain, 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 final diagnosis. This meant another week waiting for the MRI, then another week waiting for the results.

As I continued to pray to God throughout, it finally struck me in my soul that I should be honoring the 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, more than 20 years have passed. Our lives have been forever transformed, blessed beyond measure by God’s persistence in calling us home to Him.

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. God has spoken to me through His word and He has spoken to me through the people He has placed in my life. It is the Holy Spirit that guided me to listen to Him! (Link to Welcomed and Transforming)

“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

Season 1: Baptized & Taught
Season 2: Loss & Lost
Season 3: Pursued & Awakened
Season 4: Welcomed & Transforming
Season 5: Proclaiming

To God alone be all the glory!