FAITH

Be Still And Know-When God Talks Back

The other day I walked out to my back porch, sat down in a lawn chair, dropped my head in my hands, and sobbed.  I used to think admitting that would be admitting that I am weak.  Not anymore.  Now I feel that our bodies cry because we need to release that energy.  Whether it’s anger, sadness, confusion, excitement, gratitude, joy.  Sometimes emotions (both the good and bad) can be so overwhelming that it feels like a volcano on the verge of eruption.  Something has to come out.  That’s where I was a week ago.

I’ve always been somewhat of a hyper-active person.  I’ve never been one who is able to just “sit still”.  My whole life everything has always been so…fast paced.  In high school I was one of the peppiest cheerleaders.  Then came college (or rather, the classes I chose to attend that one time), and I was all about the party life.  Out every single night…which is probably why I never graduated.  I joined the Army after that where I got to travel all over the place by the seat of my pants.  Next was bartending and working at a million-mile-a-minute dealership where I was constantly hopping.  And now?  Well, now I’m married to a man who puts my high energy levels to shame.  We travel all of the time for his job, sometimes at a moments notice.  I have a toddler and a newborn.  And I’m trying to keep up with a blog, Instagram, Pinterest, in-progress cookbook, book reading, and house cleaning.

It’s exhausting.  But I love every minute of it.

My point is:  It’s hard for me to sit still.  It’s hard for me to be still.  In good situations, I get so excited I can hardly control myself.  And in bad situations, I immediately panic.  There is no “time of logic” in between.  It’s one extreme or the other.

A few months ago I binge watched the series “Criminal Minds”.  (Sidenote:  This is one of my very favorite shows ever.  But I don’t recommend binge watching it.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be certain that all of your neighbors are unsubs by season three.).  So, I was watching this show (I’m going somewhere with all of this.  I promise.), and at the end of one of their episodes they played a song that caught my attention.  The song was called “Be Still” by The Fray.  Obviously, they don’t play the entire song on the show, so as soon as the episode was over, I got on YouTube and listened to it.  (If you haven’t heard this song, please give it a listen.  It’s beautiful.  And Criminal Minds always plays the best music.)  After hearing it, my mind inevitably went to the Bible verse, so I opened my Bible.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth.”  Psalms 46:10

I think this is the only time that I have opened the Bible, and only read one verse.  Normally I open it to study or read a chapter.  But on this day, I opened it and read only that verse.  And that was all I needed.  My mother-in-law says that “it doesn’t matter if you read one verse or a whole book.  God can use it.”.  She was right.

Since that day, that has been my mantra.  “Be still and know”.  Like I said, I’m usually a pretty wound tight person.  But this…this verse?  This mantra?  It’s one of the only things that can bring me back down to Earth.  I repeat this, over and over, either out loud or in my head every time things get hairy.  When I’m driving in crazy San Antonio traffic and I’m freaking out a little bit, I repeat it.  When my husband is working and I can’t get ahold of him and my mind immediately assumes the worst?  I repeat my mantra.  When I’m nervous about a new event or where my life is going, I remind myself to “be still and know…”.  Sometimes I have to say it over and over again and sometimes saying it in my head isn’t enough.  I need to say it out loud.  But it always does the trick for me.  It’s like a jolt reminding me how big my God is…and how big my Faith should be.

Two months ago I gave birth to a daughter.  Even though it was baby number three for me, when my water broke, I immediately started to shake.  I don’t know if it was adrenaline or nerves (or both), but I doubted myself.  I doubted if I was going to be able to deliver.  If I was going to be as brave as I was the first two times.  I doubted if I would be good at bringing home and raising a newborn.  I thought of everything that could have possibly gone wrong.  So I turned to my mantra, repeating it over and over again all the way to the hospital and for the first bit we were there and getting checked in.  I was able to calm myself down a little, but only because the pain of contractions was taking over.  When they came in to give me the epidural, I was relieved…but also started to wig out again.  (You hear horror stories, ya know?  And even though I have had two successful epidurals before, it’s still scary each time.  That’s a really big needle…and I’m kindof a pansy when it comes to stuff like that.).

If you’ve never had an epidural before, this is a glimpse of how it’s administered:  They ask you to lean over, arching your back and widening your shoulders.  You have to breathe a certain way, you can’t move, and you are bear hugging a nurse that is standing in front of you, helping to keep you still.  And everyone else has to leave the room.  It’s intense.

The nurse I was bear hugging was named Sierra.  She was my nurse during my whole labor and delivery and probably helped me through all of it more than she could ever know.  As I had my arms wrapped around her waist, prepared to get a huge needle stuck in my spine, I reverted back to my mantra.  I sat there back arched, shoulders wide, head down, and eyes closed.  When it was over and the epidural was in, I raised my head and noticed something I hadn’t earlier that morning.  There, on Sierra’s scrub top, was a pin that was connected to her name badge.  The pin said, “Be Still and Know”.

I immediately felt peace.

I’ve been praying for guidance a lot lately.  A few weeks ago, I spent the whole day praying for reassurance that I was on the right path.  That this blog, and becoming a writer, are a part of my purpose.  I’ve been pouring a lot of myself into this dream of mine, but since I always like to check with God on all things, I talked to Him about it.  I told Him that whatever I did, I wanted to do it for His glory.  I wanted it to be important.  I wanted it to be meaningful.  And I wanted to fulfill my purpose.  On this particular day, I was in a place of discouragement and confusion and just wanted to talk it out.  I know what I want.  But I don’t want to have to sell out to get it.  That’s where I was.

As I was later checking my Instagram, I received a message from a boutique wanting to collaborate with me.  They offered to send me some free apparel in exchange for an honest review on their website.  (This is especially weird because I had literally told Scott days before this that I wanted a company to send me some clothes.  At this time I had only received jewelry and sunglasses from new brands.).  I was immediately stoked and clicked the link they sent me in the message to start shopping.  They had some really cute stuff.  But when I got to page four, my heart leapt.  Included in the ambassador apparel promotional line was a rose gold shirt.  Rose gold is my favorite color right now!  I clicked on it to make the image bigger, and guess what it said…

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Imagine that.  On a sunny afternoon, when I had spent most of the day praying for guidance and reassurance, someone reaches out to me and offers me a shirt with my mantra on it…for free.  The Bible verse that makes me feel closest to God…is all up in my face.  Not only did I get a free shirt out of this deal, I also got something to write about.

My mother works for a C.P.A. who is also a preacher.  He is one of her closest friends and mentors.  They are there for each other and talking through her problems with him is somewhat therapeutic for her.  He is a wise, genuine, man of God.

Our family is going through a lot right now.  As my mother was confiding in her dear friend and explaining the sad happenings all around us, he told her he had one Bible verse for her to lean on…

Be still and know that I am God.

I have a sweet friend who is committed to doing her devotional every single morning.  Sometimes, when she feels like she needs to, she will share it with me by sending me a picture of the day’s theme.  These pictures usually include a Bible verse, what it means, and how it is relevant to that daily teaching.  She also sends me screenshots of things from social media that make her think of me.  A month ago she sent me this screenshot…

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This came from social media and I know that it is not the exact right verse.  But close enough.

I can’t explain what came over me that day on the back porch.  But I was feeling it all.  Sadness, because my ninety-one year old grandmother gave us a scare and we thought we were going to lose her.  Anger, because of all the other (somewhat) closeted stuff that’s going on with my family back home.  Joy and excitement, because I have a brand new, healthy and happy baby girl.  Gratitude for the family I’m building but nervousness because…what if I don’t do a good enough job for them?  The unknowing of the future and chasing the dreams I have for myself.  And the straight up exhaustion that comes from it all.  All of these emotions just finally…took over.  And I broke.

And then I remembered my beloved mantra.

Be still and know.

I didn’t immediately stop crying.  Obviously.  Those were a lot of emotions to work through and figure out.  But my reasoning behind my crying changed.  Since the issues with my grandmother were the straw that broke the crying camel’s back, I addressed that one first.  First, I became still.  And then I remembered to “know”.  I know this sounds absolutely crazy…but I got this vision in my head of Jesus looking at me and being all, “Dude…why are you crying?  Mamaw June gets to come hang out with me and your grandpa!  You should be rejoicing!”.

So that’s what I did.  My reasons for crying weren’t for my grandma.  They were for me.  They were selfish.  My grandmother has lived an amazing life and has a lot to show for it.  But she’s ready.  And she’s not scared.  And for real, dude, she gets to hang out with Jesus and the love of her life, my grandpa, Gene Ward.  Those things, I am happy about.  I’m just trying to enjoy the (long distance) time I have left with her because when she does go, I’m going to really freaking miss her.   And that’s why I was crying.

But I wouldn’t have realized that and changed my heart for it if it hadn’t been for that Bible verse.

I believe in signs.  I believe in little signals from up above that let us know if we are on the right or wrong path.  I believe that God hears every single prayer and sometimes, when He knows we really need it, He talks back.  Maybe not in a verbal face-to-face sense.  (Can you imagine what that would be like?!).  And maybe not in the same fashion for every single person.  But I believe He talks to us in a way that He knows we will understand.

With me, I believe He uses this Bible verse.

When I first heard that song by The Fray, I was in a dark place in my life.  Obviously.  I was having a binge-a-thon in bed…on a Wednesday afternoon.  But God used that time to speak to me, because he knew I needed it.  And He knew what it took to get my attention.  He used a cryptic show I was obsessed with and music, because He knew I would relate to those two things in that moment.  This is what prompted me to open my Bible and look at just this verse in the first place.

When I was scared in the delivery room while getting the epidural, He knew I needed support.  He knew I needed to lean on Him and my Faith.  I don’t believe Sierra being my nurse, (or the pin she was wearing), was a fluke or coincidence.  I believe she was there to help me through a beautiful and stressful time and she was just the person I needed in that moment.

When I was questioning if I was chasing the right dream for myself and praying so hard for reassurance, a boutique reached out.  A boutique with one Bible related shirt…that just so happened to have my favorite verse on it.  That was the reassurance I needed, in that moment.

When not only my heart, but my mother’s heart was broken over our family and her friend gave her that one verse to lean on?  That was exactly what we both needed, in that moment.  

My friend sending me that picture of that meme she found?  That’s what I needed in that moment.

And the feeling of peace that I got when I was sobbing on the back porch.  I was able to release my emotions, but in a somewhat healthier way.  That’s what I needed, in that moment.

I don’t think that any of this is an accident.

I believe these are signs from a God that hears my prayers and knows my heart.  There are some things you just believe in down to your bones and for me, this is one of them.  These are reassurances I get when He knows I need them the most.  These are tokens in my direction letting me know that someone is listening.  Someone hears me.  What I can’t believe is that there is something out there bigger than me, than you, than all of us, that created this whole entire universe and everyone in it…but refuses to communicate with any of it.

Not.  Buying it.

Someone once told me that “God never talks back.”.  And there was a time when I also believed that.  Now I understand that it wasn’t God that’s not talking.  It was me that wasn’t listening.

What do you believe?  Do you believe in signs or signals from a higher power?  Do you think God communicates with us, but maybe in a different way?  Do you think He remains silent?  I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences.  Post a comment below!

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