Fact: Our church’s women’s Bible study meets on Tuesday nights.
Fact: I usually attend these meetings.
Fact: It is finals week for my seminarian husband.
Fact: I am currently reading a book called “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan.
Fact: I am utterly clueless when it comes to understanding the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Scenario: It is Tuesday, a cold, bitter, sunless pre-winter day. I am typically exhausted from chasing kids all morning and overwhelmed by the condition of my house. I also miss spending time with my husband. We call these days the zombie days. He is here, present in the house, but not exactly “with us” if you know what I mean. He is reading about theological things I can’t spell or pronounce, formulating 10-page papers in his head. I am tempted to skip Bible study this night to have more time with him when he gets home from work. Before he leaves for work, he agrees and doesn’t try to talk me out of skipping. My mind is nearly made up to stay home.
The kids and I start playing. Isabelle’s current favorite game is “parade” where she pretends she’s in one and throws “candy” to Corban and me, sitting on a blanket on the other side of the room. The “candy” is often stuffed animals or bouncy balls. The rule is: only throw soft things. For good reason. So, we’re playing, and I’m thinking about what to have for dinner when this feeling comes over me. Have you ever had one of those? It sort of wells up from somewhere inside me and nags at my heart. I don’t panic, exactly, but it’s a feeling I can’t ignore. And all of a sudden, I feel like I MUST go to Bible study tonight. My first question is: why? And then my mind starts to wander down dark paths. Am I supposed to go because something is supposed to happen to me tonight? Am I going to be in a car wreck? Or maybe I’m supposed to leave the house because something’s going to happen here? And I freak out about the house possibly burning down in my absence. Or maybe I just need to help someone. Or, or, or …
I can’t shut it off, and I can’t ignore the pressing feeling that I need to go to Bible study. I can’t call my husband and tell him that plans have changed, so I just prepare for plans to change. We eat supper. The kids get their jammies on. They are, as usual, as ready for bed as I can get them before I leave the house. Now, I wait on my husband to get home from work. He walks in the door. I tell him how I feel. He immediately tells me that he didn’t eat at work. We talk a little more and he lets me make the decision, telling me he can handle himself and the kids while I’m gone.
I’m somewhat scared. But I can’t ignore the tug. I’m going. Shoes, coat, purse, book, kisses and hugs, and I’m off. Slightly excited. Somewhat anticipatory. My eyes scan the road and sidewalk, looking for a sign from God of why I felt compelled to leave the house when earlier I was set on staying home. I drive, and my heart catches in my throat with every car that passes. I’m driving, I’m looking, I’m seeing nothing out of the ordinary.
I arrive safely at Bible study. We have a good discussion. I can’t stop eating the Cheez-Its sitting in front of me. I drive home, still with alert eyes to what God might have had in mind for the evening. At home, everything is as it should be. The kids are safely and soundly in bed. My husband is finally eating his supper. “Biggest Loser” is about to come on.
“I have no idea why I needed to leave the house,” I tell my husband.
Then I think about it, and I wonder. This book I’m reading, “Forgotten God,” is all about being more aware of and obedient to the Holy Spirit, the so-called “forgotten” person of the Trinity. I’m about halfway through the book, and I’ve been challenged throughout. Was this another challenge? A test of obedience, of sorts? Would I obey the Spirit’s leading, even if I didn’t understand why, if I had no inkling of the reason, if it didn’t make sense? This is often how the Spirit works, and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this kind of leading and tug. At least a long time since I’ve felt it and acted on it.
Maybe that was the whole purpose. Maybe it’s something I don’t know about. I’m tempted to say it was nothing, just my imagination. Maybe you’re tempted to say that, too. But I’m convinced that it wasn’t.
I am too easily led by my own whims, desires and wants, so I welcome the Spirit’s resurgence in my life to lead me in ways I couldn’t imagine. I looked at the world around me in a new way that night, eager and expectant for God to show me where He was working and how I could be a part of it.
May it be so every day of my life.