A Coming of Faith Story and How God Speaks to Us

I’ve been writing, talking, and thinking about how God speaks to us. Over on my IG feed this week I posed a question about how God speaks to us and then also made the point that Christ never really used one method in order to speak to people, heal people, and show himself to people. He dealt with them each in a unique way. In the same way, God deals with us uniquely. The following is one such story of how God dealt with me uniquely and how he solidified my confidence in his reality and love.

A question for female readers: Have you ever wanted to receive roses from a guy that you… have a crush on? (Back in my teenage days, that’s what we called it… “having a crush” on someone. Do they still call it that, now, at the end of 2022? Anyhow, it’s an idiom that means… liking a person in a romantic way.) So, have you? Ever wanted to receive roses from a guy that you were romantically interested in? In high school, I secretly wanted to receive roses from my crushes. It never happened. In fact, I’ve hardly ever been given roses directly, even in my marriage.

Roses have pretty much always been special to me. When I was born, my dad named me Sarah Rose. As I grew into a child, I disliked my first name. It felt so, childish, somehow. And I wanted to be grown-up and wanted a grown-up sounding name. (Don’t ask me why I thought these things, and how Sarah is not a grown-up sounding name. Kids think crazy things when they’re kids.)

My aunt Amelia – whose middle name is Rose and who is beautiful – used to sing “Que sera, sera” to me (in a beautiful voice). It was because of her that I began to like my first name. I think it was because of her that I also liked my middle name – or at least she was part of the reason. But really, I think I always just liked my middle name because of the beauty of roses themselves, and their symbolism.

God has always known about my secret love of my middle name and roses, and maybe my mom has known it, too. But, not many else knew it in my younger years because I would never admit to enjoying such romantic and girlie things. I very much did not want to be a girl back then and never really conformed to society’s ideas about what a girl is supposed to be like.

I guess I’ve never received roses because God wanted to be the one to always give me roses. Or, maybe it’s because I’ve been such a prickly rose myself, and when anyone has ever gotten too close to me, I’ve repelled them? (I prefer to believe it’s the former, and that God has used the latter to his advantage.)

So, I’ve never received roses much in my life, but there have often been roses around me, free for the looking and taking. There’s a rose bush that grows around the mailbox at my parents’ house. (We moved to that house when I was going into second grade.) I’ve always admired that rose bush and felt that it somehow grew there just for me. (I’m sounding a bit narcissistic and self-centered, but one must love oneself and believe good things for oneself every once in a while, no?) Likely It was there for my mother and sister, too. And maybe my brother and dad.

When I left my parents’ house and ventured on my own and began to “come of age”, as they say – I would say “come of faith” – as I spent time intentionally seeking after God, the notion of receiving roses from Him came into my mind. A friend (I’ll call her Katherine) and I talked about it once. She had liked the idea, too. I was tempted to give her one and sign the card “Love, God” or something. But because of my own insecurities, I never did. I at least told her about the idea, and she was disappointed that I didn’t do it. “You should have! Ugh! I would have loved that. I needed it.” I felt bad, then, that I didn’t, but then good at the same time, because it wouldn’t have been weird after all.

After Katherine moved away, I and some other friends went to a conference in Kansas City called OneThing. It was a conference for young adults to spend time seeking solely after Christ, in hopes that we might be catapulted into lifelong, loving fellowship with him. Before we left for the conference, I had had a time of personal prayer and Bible study and felt the Lord speak to me through Romans 2:28-29. Essentially, I heard him tell me that I would know, that I know, that I know, that I’m born again when I stopped impulsively seeking after the approval and praise of human beings.

The conference lasted for five days and I fasted for the duration. It was a remarkable and tedious time, but I’ll save that story for later or never. When we got back from the conference, we went to eat at a Mexican restaurant, where I broke my fast. (I was young back in that day, mind you, so breaking a five day fast with a fat plate of Mexican food didn’t phase me much.) Afterward, we went shopping at K-mart. While in the store, I walked down an aisle briefly with Tamara, and we talked of how it would be so amazing to get roses from God. Eventually, we left the store and waited in the car with a couple of other friends while another friend, Jenny, lingered inside for a bit longer. She finally came out, and we went back to the house.

At the house, we decided to have a debriefing prayer meeting and all gathered together in the living room. We began our prayer time, but Jenny left and went to the dining room. A few minutes later, she came back into the living room with a handful of red roses and gave two to each of us, accompanied by a little tag tied around the stems with words from Song of Solomon as if addressed to us by God. Jenny told us that it took her so long in the store because she had wanted to buy us each a houseplant, but it wasn’t working out, there weren’t enough available, or something, and so she changed it up to red roses.

When she finished her story, it was as if I entered into an alternate universe – at least in my head anyway. It was a dream come true. I hadn’t expected it at all. The way everything was orchestrated and happened was a miracle, and my mind was blown – I think I sat with gaped eyes and mouth for quite some time.

It was about a week after this, as I was reading S. J. Hill’s Enjoying God, that I experienced a breaking inside of me and the moment at which my heart was transformed and I knew that I knew that I knew that God was real and he loved me and liked me and I had his eyes on me and I no longer needed the eyes of others seeing me and approving of and praising me.

The reason I am sharing this story is because I believe that God wants to reach and speak to all of us in a unique way – in a way that is fitting just for us – in order to make us people of unwavering fatih. Does he want to give everyone roses? I don’t think so. But, if he wanted to give you roses, he could definitely do so. Roses might not do for you what they did for me. They’re not for everyone. But there may be something that is particular to you that he might reach you with.

If you will seek after Christ and surround yourself with people who are also seeking after him, and you tell God the desires of your heart and speak it out to others, I think you will be surprised. But, let me tell you this – if something doesn’t happen when you’d like it to happen, don’t give up. Don’t say “Oh, I tried that and nothing ever happened.” Keep seeking after God.

Thank you for stopping by here and taking time to read my musings. Feel free to comment below or email me at author@sarosaoyela.com if you’d like to connect. Would you like to receive my writing in your email inbox when I post it here? If so, you can subscribe below:

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