A good friend texted me the other morning. She told me she was feeling frazzled with life. She felt disorganized, and she was frustrated at how she responded to her kids over and over with snappiness, irritation, and yelling. She texted, “You seem so organized and with it.”
Little did she know that less than 12 hours before I was huffing and puffing to get in the car and head to Trader Joe’s leaving my husband with one crying baby, one sad kid, and one angry kid. I just couldn’t seem to communicate without screaming, and I needed to breathe. I was frustrated with myself and my kids. I can’t seem to be an effective communicator, and my kids can’t seem to listen. I started to have it out with the Lord. “For SIX years I have asked you to grow gentleness in me! SIX YEARS Lord. Seriously.” He listened attentively and then just spoke, “The most effective communicator has been and will always be the Holy Spirit.” I pulled into Trader Joe’s and googled what I had just heard. That had to be a quote of someone’s. As an author, I’m not really into ripping off someone else’s quote; it’s kind of illegal. The idea was certainly out there, but no one had quoted that before. So I wrote it down.
The most effective communicator has been and will always be the Holy Spirit.
I texted my friend back the next morning and told her about getting in my car like Trader Joe’s was my first vacation in six years. I told her about how NOT with it I really am. I told her I had been praying for SIX years for the Lord to change my response, my tone, my spirit. I told her I was with her in this thing. I told her I will pray for her, and I asked her to pray for me.
The Holy Spirit is more dear to me than ever before. I pray the fruits of the Spirit over my girls and myself in the van almost daily. I highlight gentleness and patience for me ~ kindness and self-control for my girls. I will never forget almost 13 years ago when a precious mentor gently reminded me, “You are not the Holy Spirit.” No, I am not the Holy Spirit. He is the one moving and compelling and changing people. I remember this more than anything throughout parenting. I am not the Holy Spirit. I will not move my children, save my children, compel my children. The Holy Spirit will do that.
The Holy Spirit is going to do His thing whether we want Him to or not. I was talking with a friend the other day. I was worked up and passionate about what I was talking about, but midway through talking my voice changed and I began to “preach.” I could hear what I was saying like I was listening to someone else, and I wasn’t sure what the next sentence was going to be. I knew it was no longer me speaking, but the Holy Spirit had something to say to her. Probably not even 10 minutes before that conversation, I had yelled or been snappy with a kid in my house. He still spoke through me.
The beauty of the Holy Spirit is that He can take over whether you surrender or not. If this weren’t true, I’m not sure that I would still be here. Too many times He has protected and led me even when I wasn’t walking near Him.
Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 1 Corinthians 2:13 (NASB)
Have you ever been listening to someone talk and their voice and tone change? If you were nodding off, you look up and start to listen. We have a gentleman at our church that has a distinct Holy Spirit voice. It is always so interesting to witness. He will be preaching and the Holy Spirit voice will speak, and more often than not, he ends up tearful. He is moved by what the Holy Spirit is speaking through Him.
I am moved that the Holy Spirit uses ANY of us. How great is our God that He uses broken over and over for His glory and for our good.
It’s significant that He so often uses broken, because we tend to not trust the Holy Spirit could speak through certain people at certain times. When my husband and I are odds about something, it’s more difficult for me to believe that the Lord could use him or he could be a vessel for the Holy Spirit. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the same way we often feel like people in authority over us are always hearing for us and what they say we tend to take as gospel. However, it is important that no matter what we hear from someone else, we petition the Holy Spirit to confirm or speak to us regarding this.
It’s an interesting balance between listening and questioning. Ultimately it results in what we all need to walk in this faith: abiding. The Lord has spoken to me in and out of obedience. When I am abiding in Him, though, the communication is often and most clear.
If I can remain in the Lord (abide) while parenting and throughout my days, the words and actions that come from me will be that of the Holy Spirit. My blood pressure rises even as I type this. When I was in college I read Andrew Murray’s Abide In Christ. From then on I had this deep grasp on what it meant to abide, and at the time abiding became natural. Then life happened. Abiding feels like this thing I used to know how to do before I became intensely distracted by all of the life that moves around me.
My abiding journey began my senior year in college. It was a precious year that was a stake in the ground in my walk with the Lord. I was not in any kind of ministry. No one was leading or dictating how my life would look any more. I was not leading anyone else (officially). There were no rules. It was just me and Jesus and some beautiful Jesus-loving people that I loved like family. It was simple. And I could hear Him at every turn, and I felt that I was moving with His heartbeat. Now I can barely hear what I’m saying out loud.
Yet, I know His voice.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. ~ John 10:27
I am so glad that nothing can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28). I know His voice, and even now, though sometimes He has to yell, I know when He speaks. And I know that what He is speaking is the BEST option. And I know if I let Him speak through me, what needs to be said will actually be spoken.
Jesus left us with a Helper. He did not leave us alone. We do not have to rely on our own ways or pull up our bootstraps. We can call on the Helper and petition for His move, His voice, His heart. And when we remain in the Source of the Helper, the Giver of the Helper, we can truly rest in Him.
More often than not, we (our ways, our affections, our dreams and our desires) get in His way of moving. We hustle to make all of the things of our heart happen and, yet, the Helper knows. And He’s here. And He loves us deeply. If we abide, He will indeed lead us into our good which is ultimately His good.
There was a summer in college that I had the opportunity to work at a summer camp back in my home town. The draw was not that the summer camp was a Christian summer camp that was at home. The draw was indeed a boy. I would get to be with him all summer if I worked there. I asked the Lord for wisdom. I heard a clear “NO,” and moments later picked up the phone and told them I would be there. I called the boy and told him I would be there. This was the beginning of a horrible summer. Yes, there were good moments, but I often wonder what kind of amazing summer that would have been if I had obeyed. Here’s where the sovereign God thing can be a bit much…He knew what I would choose before I chose it. And He was with me the whole time, y’all. Lots and LOTS of convicting that summer. He still used me to love on some sweet 6 and 7 year olds. I learned a ton of Scripture. He was there the whole time. But it was not His best, because I chose my “best.”
Right now I often find myself hustling for the kids my heart desires, but this is not the only place we hustle for our worthiness (as my close sister often says). I think one of the places we do this most is within church and ministry. We feel the need to help Him move. Just reading through Acts will remind you that there is nothing but the Gospel and the Holy Spirit that builds the church. Preach the Gospel, love one another and be subject to Christ in everything…The Holy Spirit will do the rest. As a communicator, I often think that it might be my responsibility to present Jesus in a certain way for people to see Him and know Him. But you can build all the on-ramps in life you want to for people, and the Holy Spirit will ultimately be the one that steals their heart, and He will most certainly get all the glory. We do not draw people to Jesus; the Holy Spirit is who does that. We only need to be willing to surrender to Him.
You are not under the law, with its inexorable do, but under grace, with its blessed believe what Christ will do for you. ~ Andrew Murray
So I want my words to be His, not because I want a changed kiddo, but because I am abiding in Him and fellowshipping with the Most High. I am so glad that He shows up and uses me as a vessel more often than I deserve. He even uses me sometimes to communicate Himself to my kids. Most of the time I feel like I am stripping them of the Gospel because of my brokenness. But the pressure is indeed off. He wants to use me. He chose me as their parent, and being a parent is most certainly a privilege that should not be taken lightly. But the Holy Spirit is not trusting in me…He wants me to trust Him.