Unwrapping the Spirit


“Our view of the Holy Spirit is too small. The Holy Spirit is the One who changes the church, but we have to remember that the Holy Spirit lives in us. It is individual people living Spirit-filled lives that will change the church.”Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Francis Chan

Sometimes, you just know things.

Like the night in February of 2007, as we accelerated down the eastbound ramp onto I-70 ten hours before a scheduled C-section. “I can’t help thinking,” Christian said, “how good everything has been lately. I keep waiting for it to hit the fan.”

I think my response was something like, “Christian, sometimes there is only one shoe.”

Twelve hours later, the words Trisomy 21 entered our vocabulary. Somehow, somewhere deep inside, he knew.

It used to happen to me a lot, when my life was simpler, my mind less cluttered. The summer of 1995, I commuted half an hour one way to work at Sears. For three months, I drove on too little sleep, and was plagued by a vision that made me cringe—the hood crunched up on the driver’s side. On the last day of the summer, I rear-ended a truck in construction traffic, an accident whose damage was limited to the driver’s side hood.

Call it premonition, call it instinct, call it whatever you want—it’s real. I used to shy away from admitting that I believed this, because it seemed incompatible with Christian faith—like belief in séances, something vaguely demonic.

But I don’t feel that way anymore, because I’ve come to understand something about those feelings. They’re not demonic. In fact, they are quite the opposite. Those feelings are nothing more or less than the whisper of the Holy Spirit.

This makes the Spirit real to me in a way that the human figure of Jesus never has become—something I feel weird about, considering I’m a Christian, but there it is. It’s the Spirit I turn to when I’m reach the end of patience, when I’m struggling with a decision, when I’m blocked, when I’m having trouble sleeping. When the noise of my thoughts drowns out peace and serenity, it’s the Spirit I ask for help in releasing control and chaos. And, perhaps most importantly, I ask the Spirit for wisdom, understanding and inSpiration in parenting. And, as I have written elsewhere, I truly believe that Mother’s Intuition is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

This all sounds terribly spiritually mature, but don’t be fooled. Every so often I have reason to thank God for crises avoided, for gorgeous words or melodies. But mostly, the Spirit works in unobtrusive ways in a small radius from me. If I was really tuned in to the divine promptings, what He might accomplish through me?

 tuesdays unwrapped at cats

11 thoughts on “Unwrapping the Spirit

  1. What a beautiful depiction of those Holy Spirit promptings. I long for the day when I am more in tune with those promptings and can see the Spirit at work in the moment and not just as I look back at the whisperings. Bless you for sharing today.

  2. I believe we’ve all too often ignored those promptings of the Holy Spirit and so we are too dull to know when they happen. I love what you wrote about mother’s intuition. I think that’s true.

    We have a daily choice to make. We can do things our way or we can yield moment by moment to the Holy Spirit. I think if more of us did the latter there would be a whole lot more love going around today in churches.


  3. The Spirit speaks to all of us. Most of us just don’t listen or don’t hear. Thanks for listening and for sharing. You have encouraged me today.

  4. CindyWaldrop

    Yes – the whisperings.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    I too wonder if I were to listen more closely what I might be prompted to do.

    • Oooh, Cindy–you just shaded that differently, and far more challenging, than I did initially. Because even if I hear it, I still have to take the plunge to DO it.

  5. I am not perfectly able to distinguish the Holy Spirit from pure premonition which may or may not have anything to do with reality. I have had random thoughts and knowledge that have been entirely right (and I had no way of “knowing”) but I have also had vivid fears that have not come true.

    I am not sure whether confidence in discernment will come with greater maturity, or whether this is simply an uncertainty which I will always have.

  6. It’s hard for me to believe, after the reactions here, that I had the willies about posting this. I thought surely someone was going to think I was being sacrilegious. Once more, I learn how awesome the bloggy ladies can be.

    Rae, I don’t think confidence will ever come. I know sometimes I think, “that’s got to be the prompting of the Spirit,” but it’s on such a trivial matter that I never know what might have happened if I’d chosen not to follow. You just have to muddle through as best you can.

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