“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11)
Most would suggest that the extended lockdowns in Melbourne were harsh, hard, and heavy. I agree they were tough. There were moments of profound encounter, both for myself and for others I know…
I sat and chatted to her as she cut my hair.
‘It was almost a spiritual experience,’ she said in hushed tones.
We were discussing how she coped with the recent lockdown. The blessing for this young woman was her daily swims in the ocean.
I said ‘yes, sounds like you had an encounter or two.’
‘Yes,’ she replied. ‘Not all of them good though.’
She was not a Christian as yet, but she had explored Christianity as a young girl. She shared how she had insisted on going to a Catholic school, even though her mother was an atheist.
I shared some of my story, of how I had also grown up in an atheist’s home.
She escorted me to the washbasins and shared some more.
‘I’ve been having deja vu, and I have a feeling I’m on the cusp of something, but I just don’t know what. I can’t explain it…’
She trailed off in thought as she lathered my hair.
I’ve been ‘here’ before.
All the signs pointed the way.
I checked in with Holy Spirit to confirm what I knew what was occurring.
As I shared a little of my journey, she said, ‘I keep getting goosebumps.’
‘That’s the Holy Spirit,’ I explained.
‘Throughout my life, there have been critical moments when there have been divine invitations to encounter a loving God. I grew up in an atheist’s home, too. There are moments I can look back and recall when I felt His tangible presence, moments that I can now say were invitations to encounter Him.’
I stopped, leant into Jesus, and heard the confirmation I needed.
‘The encounters, the deja vu, the feeling there is something more, the sense you are on the verge of something significant – they are correct. There is something more; you are on the cusp of something significant and life changing. All those moments are pointing to this moment now,’ and I asked her, ‘have you ever asked Jesus into your heart?’
There was silence and stillness at the basin.
‘No, I haven’t.’
‘Would you like to?’
‘Yes, I would.’
And so she stood and prayed, as I lay with my head still hanging in the basin and she gave her life to Jesus.
‘Wow,’ she said.
‘Yes, I know.’
I briefly explained that Jesus promised He would not leave us (John 14:16), that He would send another, to help us, to guide us, to comfort us, to protect us,
‘That person is the Holy Spirit. Would you like the Holy Spirit to fill you?’ I asked.
‘Yes, I would,’ she said.
‘Give me your hand,’ I responded, reaching up and behind me.
As she asked the Holy Spirit to infill her, I commanded anything that was not of God to leave, and asked Holy Spirit to fill her up.
‘Gosh, I feel different,’ she said, waiting in silence for a moment before finishing the wash on my hair.
She placed her hand on her chest as we walked out of the room, into the main salon.
‘All the tightness has gone. I can breathe easy. I don’t feel anxious anymore.’
The tightness she had felt for months on her chest lifted as we prayed; the anxiety she felt in her gut left, and she breathed quietly, somewhat incredulously, even tentatively.
‘That’s right, it’s not yours. It doesn’t belong to you. If it comes back, tell it to leave in the name of Jesus,’ I said.
She shifted the topic and then returned to it. I gently followed her lead.
‘But I haven’t been to church for so long. I had been thinking of going to church, but I haven’t been… I think I will get my cross out of the garage… that’s so weird I have been thinking about God, about church…,’ she mused to herself.
‘It’s not about rules, it’s not about going to church, (although that’s a great idea, the right one for you, that is). Like life, it’s all about who you know. You now know Jesus, you’re with HIm, and He is the VIP pass to the Kingdom, and a direct relationship with God the Father. And oh, the Father, He is beautiful, the most beautiful father you could ever imagine and then some. You’re in, you are royalty, you’re a Princess of the Most High God…’ she smiled, ‘… and you have full VIP access to all. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, Peace, and Joy. Jesus takes care of the righteousness, and the peace and joy are yours for the taking.’
I slowed down and suggested she needed a church that suited her. Asking where she lived, I looked one up and said I would go with her, if she would like that…
Long and the short, she and her friend (whom I had chatted to in the salon months back) both want me to take them to church.
As we made plans on the phone a few days later, she said,
‘You’re freaking me out. The hairs on my arms are standing up straight, and won’t sit down. I have a severe case of goose bumps.’
‘They’re not goose bumps I said, they’re God bumps,’ and I laughed.
So this Sunday we go, and I will check out the church with them, trusting all will go well. I know it will, for as you know…
God is Good!
© Beth Kennedy 2021