Personally Speaking

The time was getting closer for my youngest son David and His wife Taylor to visit us for the first time since they had married. My heart was excited, and the preparations were underway.

It had been about five months since they married and seven months since David moved away to Texas.

This was another challenging transition for me as a mom and as a woman in the middle of what has seemed like one big transition after another over the last five years. Mid-life was hitting, and I had cried more in this season than I had in any of the seasons before, it seemed.

With the kids coming and my husband Duane’s birthday coming up, I had committed not to do extra shopping or anything else for a while. So when I began to get a nudge on my heart to go to one of the consignment shops I hadn’t been to in a bit, I shoved it off, thinking it was me wanting to go shopping.

A week later, I was at Walmart, grabbing some last-minute things for their arrival, and I got the nudge again. This particular consignment shop was right down the street from Walmart. I began talking to God and asking Him why I was getting this prodding to go over there when I knew I needed not to be shopping. The nudge didn’t go away, and God showed me He had something for me there, so I needed to go.

I drove over to the store and began looking around, asking Him where I was supposed to be looking. Of course, I always start with the clearance rack. There was one thing I grabbed, but nothing stood out, so I moved to different areas of the store. As I went through the store, nothing stood out. I was a little confused and began to wonder at that point if this was really God.

There was a dress that caught my eye. It was on the mannequin, so I had to ask for help to get it off there. At that point, I had been through the store and questioned this whole thing. I walked over to the cashier to check out. I was so unsettled inside. I was sure He had something for me I had not found yet. I gave up trying to find it and just sat there as the cashier checked me out.

I asked one more time what I was missing. As I asked that time, God gently prompted me to look up. As I looked up, I saw this picture. What fascinated me was it was a picture of a woman’s hand signing, “I love you.” When I saw the picture, I knew that was what He was giving me. I questioned spending the money, but He said to take it.

So I had to ask the cashier to add it to the order. I was able to share with her that I was deaf with bilateral cochlear implants, so it made the picture special to me. She seemed fascinated by it all. I could tell she was almost surprised it went because it is a different kind of picture. Some may find it a little strange or gaudy or whatever, but it had special meaning to me, and today it has an even deeper meaning.

I took this picture home, and after putting all the store stuff away, I sat and stared at this picture. I wanted to understand and really see what God had given me.

I rarely see pictures or paintings with sign language or someone signing something. I was amazed at the uniqueness and personal nature of this gift.

I am a visual learner. I am also a visual girl. I need visuals to learn new things. I need to see to people’s lips when I can’t hear or understand things. I keep visuals all over the house for reminders, for my mind, and for my heart.

God knows this about me.

I felt like that day; God was reminding me that He loved me; he didn’t just tell me or show me in some random way; He personalized it with a visual and in sign language. Something I can understand whether my cochlear implants are on or off.

As I stared at this, the red nail polish brought two things to mind. My favorite color is red, but God demonstrated His love for me by having Jesus die and shed His blood for me so that I might have eternal life with Him.

That woman’s hand is an ordinary hand, without the jewelry, but as each piece of jewelry is placed on those fingers and that wrist, it adds something to her and the picture. God has been taking this ordinary girl and adding pieces of jewelry along the way.

He is adorning me, making me shine and stand out. He is treating me like royalty even when it doesn’t feel like it.

This picture matched our hangout room wall perfectly. I have been praying about what this wall needs to look like, and I don’t believe it is done, but this seems to be the centerpiece.

He personalized that part too.

Not too long ago, I was in bible study time with a friend. We had been looking at Moses, and she asked a question that opened my eyes to some things. She had asked why God doesn’t do those personal things anymore.

That made me sad, but she is not the only one who wonders about this question. Many people and many Christians wonder the same thing.

God is still very personal. He is a relational God.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (NASB)

He was personal then, and He is personal now. God doesn’t change because we do. God doesn’t change because the culture changes. No, He always stays the same.

In scripture, we see God’s personal relationships with Adam and Eve, Moses, Joshua, Joseph, King David, the disciples, and Paul. The list goes on.

I had been talking to God through all these seasons in life. Sometimes God seems more distant or inactive than other times, but He has always been personal.

As I seek God, even when I don’t want to or it is hard, I find Him.

Yesterday I was writing in the hangout room. I enjoy sitting in there by the window with the sunlight flooding into the room. I had been working through a challenging chapter and was a little stuck, so I stopped, put on some worship music, and looked up.

There was the picture, the visual that God gave me that day. I could hear Him saying I love you, in that signed hand on the picture. I could remember what He had done for me and where He had brought me from, and I could see where He was bringing me. He is adorning me and preparing me for some great things. So I can go into the world and shine and stand out for Him.

I sat there and wept happy tears, just thankful for the personal way He speaks to us and the personal ways He ministers to us. I am grateful I didn’t ignore that strange prodding that day. I am thankful I went and checked it out because I might have missed this sweet, personal, and out-of-the-ordinary gift.

God is a personal, relational God, not just back then but now too. I encourage you to pay attention to those tugs, nudges, and prodding. Take time to be still and listen; even when the instructions seem strange, check them out anyway. Don’t miss out on this amazing, personal God!