This is a hard one to write. But when I asked God what I should write about next - I heard in my heart - God's Eyes. Deep breath. This one is really personal and some of it is still fresh. In fact, I was just talking to Garth the other day about what I should write and this came up. And then I shut it down. It's too fresh, there's too much risk at "offending" or really being tagged as weird. But then God reminded me of who was in charge of this whole little venture He has me on. And when He asked me to write, I knew it was to be with total transparency and honesty. I also know I am to fear God and not man. It's a two part story, so stick with me. Deep breath...
Let me reintroduce myself...hi, my name is Janaé and I grew up super conservative. I never
experienced God's voice or at least didn't know that's what I was hearing. I never saw images or visions or remembered any significant dreams. I hadn't heard of any such things for much of my life and when I did I thought it was weird. Really weird. So, if you're thinking that now, I was right there with you. But you know how more often than not, when we tell God no thanks, He says, hmmm....maybe so? Well, here's my maybe so...
I'm not telling you any of this so you know about me and the gifts God has given me, but more so that you know there is so much more that God has for you. You. In 1 Corinthians it says "Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy." I never pursued those gifts, I never even understood they existed. But in the last 10 years or so, ever since that night He called my name, and in my quest to seek God's face, I know He saw my desires without me ever verbalizing them or even understanding I had those desires.
I was in Seattle, Washington about three and a half years ago with Time to Revive for a week of outreach when God reached out and grabbed my hand, encouraging me to walk just a little bit further, go a little bit deeper. You know that song by Hillsong titled Oceans? Part of the song says "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander"...well that week God began to take me to places where my trust was without borders.
I should have known something out of the ordinary was going to happen because my flight out to Washington started with a bang, literally. I remember I was on the plane mid-flight, reading a book about spiritual warfare. I'm not really sure why I had chosen to read that at the time, it wasn't normal reading material for me, but maybe it was God's way of encouraging me to start praying about the battle I knew we were headed into. So I began praying and, in the middle of my prayer, a huge bolt of lightening struck right by the wing of the plane and at the same time we hit a patch of turbulence. The pilot announced that we had just flown into the eye of a storm and it was at that point things got pretty rocky. The lady behind me began throwing up, people went into full panic mode and loose items were becoming projectiles throughout the cabin. My first thought was, I do not want to die. My second thought was, I wonder if we just flew into the battle that is waging?! Kind of a weird thought, I know, but I had just been reading about the spiritual warfare waging in the air above us and for just a moment, I wondered if God was giving me a glimpse of what was going on as we headed to Seattle - a very spiritually dark place. We landed that night, all in one piece - maybe a little more disheveled than when our trip first began - but I was now on heightened alert for what God had in store and figured it was going to be something pretty amazing.
The week proved to be exactly what my flight was, a relatively smooth start, filled with turbulence and rough patches along the way, and numerous victories as people heard the Gospel and lives were changed. But it was the "lightening bolt" that week that God used to further impact change in my life. And that's the "maybe so" I'm going to share. I'm praying this is a lightening bolt moment for someone else.
One afternoon after lunch, we were all down at the pier (pictured at the top) getting ready to head out to share the Gospel, when a pastor and his wife came up to me and asked me if I had ever been prayed over for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I didn't really understand what they were talking about and being someone who doesn't like to say no, I listened politely. And then they said the word "tongues". Yikes. My brain hit pause and internally I did a complete freak out dance. Nope. I'm out. Thanks, but no thanks, that's weird and it totally freaks me out. I had already told God that. No thank you. And then God said, hmmm...maybe so. I stopped panicking long enough to attempt to hear what God was saying. At this point, I had tuned the pastor out and it was just God and me. And God said yes. Really? Are you sure? Remember how I think it's weird? Remember how divided people are about it? Remember how I don't like controversy of any sort? Remember how it scares me? Remember how I already said no?! And He said yes - again. So I sat down with the pastor and his wife and in an hour that I honestly don't remember most of, they prayed and I prayed. I do remember tears streaming down my face much of that hour as God began to work in me in a way that I didn't understand at the time and I realized that I didn't care that I didn't understand.
God grabbed my hand in that moment and walked me deeper into the waters. I gave up all my preconceived notions that afternoon and I fully put my trust in what God was asking of me. Trust without borders. It was the lightening bolt moment I had anticipated since the chaos on the plane, and it changed my prayer life in such a beautiful way. It also taught me a very important lesson...I wasn't in charge, God was. I guess I needed - in another April moment, the month He brought me into this world- to be reminded that God can still mold me. And if I allow Him to do with my life what He intends, without fear, there is so much more for me. So now my no's are fewer and further between.
I heard someone say once, "Fear will keep you from moving with the Spirit. Fear has many faces and it often masquerades as wisdom, dignity or love. But underneath that mask is a scared believer who doesn't want to look bad. The Spirit is imprisoned in the bodies of the unbelieving believers." That lightening bolt moment on April 13, 2013 changed me to the core and removed most of that fear, allowing God to do more through me than He ever could before that day. And I learned I don't ever want to hide underneath a mask of fear. That day was so much more than gaining a new gift, it was also about gaining a new freedom from fear and what I thought things should look like. Because of that day, I'm more willing to walk out into the deep waters and go where God leads - without fear.
The next day, I was sitting in a sanctuary in a church on top of a hill in a beautiful part of Seattle and we had just opened in prayer. It was the day after my lightening bolt moment...
"so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 1:7
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." -Hebrews 13:8