I’ve only heard God speak to me once before.
Seven words imprinted on my soul as I sat in a big stone church in Tacoma, Washington where I couldn’t stop crying. I was eighteen and had spent three months trying to adjust to my freshman year of college.
You are coming home for a reason, he whispered.
I didn’t know then what the heck that meant. I only knew I felt I had made a horrible choice in going to school so far away from home. I knew I wouldn’t stay and I hated the Pacific Northwest, and the rain wouldn’t stop, and I was ready for my mom to come and get me.
A few days later, I dropped out of the picturesque private school and my mom arrived with boxes to move me back across the country. I tried.
God told me I was coming home.
Years passed and I went to college an hour away from where I grew up. I spent time with my family and met a boy and as you know, the rest is history.
And then we lost him.
And things got murky.
And I began to wonder, ‘Is this the reason God was telling me about all those years ago?’
I like to think yes, yes that’s what God meant. I came home to bend and to grow, to meet my husband, to learn about family. Mostly, I wonder if he meant I came home to spend time with Dad.
This weekend I sat in a quirky auditorium and listened to denim-wearing hipsters with big beards play beautiful worship music on well-worn guitars. The building was much different than the stone church a few hundred miles north that I sat in years ago.
I joke I know worship songs created up until 2011, when my church-going became more sporadic. My friend told me she often doesn’t recognize the songs because the worship band writes the lyrics themselves. No wonder I didn’t recognize the tunes.
As they sang of God turning ashes into new life, and sorrow to joy, I felt it again.
God talking directly to me.
This I will do for you.
Despite my best attempts to swallow up emotion, tears started slowly rolling down my face. In a dark auditorium I wiped at my eyes and smeared my tears on my sleeves, turning my chin down so people I just met wouldn’t see.
I’m having trouble believing transformation is possible. I want this whisper to be true. The sorrow we carry will morph, lift and change, and the ashes we’ve spread will turn to joy.
I’m not sure I believe him, but I heard God again. Whispering loudly to me.
I was crying in church. What a beautiful thing.