A few weeks ago I was asked to share with a group attending a Holy Spirit multi-week workshop about how God has moved in my life and how God’s gifts have manifested themselves in my life. I received such good feedback from those participants, that I thought to share it here on the blog as well.
“My first tangible encounter with the Holy Spirit was in 2008 while on pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Sydney Australia. The theme that year was Act 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.” It was after that time that I began to hunger for the Lord and the Holy Spirit. A fire was lit inside of me, and I desired to serve him in any way I could. Not too long after I had gotten home, my church offered a Gifts of the Holy Spirit seminar, and it was there that I had a better understanding and awareness of these gifts that God has given to me. I began to recognize times that these gifts were active in my life. Even as I prepared for this testimony, I have been seeing how the Holy Spirit has had an active role in my life, which is what I have been asked to share with you tonight.
There have been a number of gifts that have been active in my life. You could say some have been more obvious than others, and there have been some I have been learning to operate within. First, the Lord has given me a gift of writing. This is one I have always enjoyed. It used to come out in the form of poetry, but now it is more in the way of reflections on different topics. When it comes to the gift of writing, we know it is a gift when the person reading is touched by the Lord through its words. Over the years, I have received a number of comments of how my writing has touched others. For instance, in February I wrote a reflection titled “Learning to Dance.” It is about my experience of learning how to dance with the Lord by standing on his feet and learning to let him lead. Someone commented and wrote to us saying:
“This post has touched me so deeply. My wonderful Dad taught me to dance this way and it was a most loving and caring part of our close relationship. I sat with tears in my eyes from the memories of my childhood and I totally love the idea of learning to dance with Our Father in Heaven, in the same way. God Bless you Sister, you have really made my day.“
I have also been finding that the Lord ministers to my own heart as well especially when I am journalling. At times, as I write, he dictates a love letter in my heart that I transcribe into my journal.
Before I write, I try to always ask the Lord what he would have me say. Luke 12:12 states, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” When I try to write things on my own, there is a definite writer’s block that happens, but when I invite the Lord into the space, words begin to flow more freely. In our Give God Permission Blog, the Community encourages me to keep using and growing in this gift, and sharing God’s love. As a friend prophesied for me a few years ago, the Lord is blessing me with a gift of “Kingdom Communication ” and said that I bear the Lord’s joy of his love to the world through my words. This word came at a time when I had stopped writing and was struggling to get back into it. I began asking the Lord to reignite this gift inside of me again. I see that my writing is through a partnership with the Lord as the thoughts and words flow easier while sitting in the chapel asking the Lord what he wants me to say.
In 1 Corinthians 12:27-28, the Lord says “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” I have seen that over the years, I find one of my greatest times of joy is when I am operating out of my spiritual gift of HELPS. If someone is struggling or in need of help in any way, I am always happy to jump right in. I thrive on allowing others to succeed and I play a supportive role in the background. For instance, when I was living in Texas, a good priest friend of mine used to hand out small pictures to meditate with during his confessions. There was a picture of the last supper, and one of the Shroud of Turin. Even his business card was made from plain paper folded in half. About every two months, he would print off stacks of these things and ask me to cut them down for him. A friend of mine tried to help him do it one day, but she did not like the tedious nature of the project. It was miserable work for her. I, on the other hand, LOVED doing this task for him. I knew that through my hard work, the priest would be free to work on other projects and that those who would be receiving these images would be blessed and touched by God. I was able to do a small task with great love. With the great joy I found each time I would help in this way, I knew that this was me cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the gift that he has given me to use for his glory. There is something in the giving of my time and in cooperating in the gifts that makes my heart flutter with happiness, and I am fuelled from the inside out! Another way to tell that you are working out of your gifts, is when others see it as well. That priest friend certainly saw it as he began to volunteer me out to other people telling them that I had the gift of Helps and was very reliable! I eventually had to learn to say NO to people as I could not help everyone.
Now, writing and helps have been very prominent gifts at play in my life. There are also two gifts that I have been learning to operate within and use over the course of the past few years. These are the gifts of prophecy and healing. To be honest with you, at first, even the thought of praying prophetically or praying for physical healing made me a bit anxious. I questioned God’s desire to work through me in these particular ways. However, over the past couple of years since I started practicing with these forms of prayer, I have seen where the Lord has used me to touch others through his words of prophecy or healing. For example, in December I was on a prayer team at the annual Encounter Conference in Michigan. My partner Curtis and I had a woman approach us during the time of healing prayer stating that since contracting Covid a few months prior, the bottom half of her leg was constantly cold. She couldn’t do anything to warm it up. As my partner and I were praying, I sensed I needed to place my hand on her leg, so I asked her if I could do so as I prayed for healing and warmth to come. She said once I touched her, she could feel warmth in my hand and the cold sensation left her completely. We all thanked Jesus for the healing she experienced. This not only built up her faith, but mine as well. It is awesome whenever we can partner with Jesus! I am far from perfect at these types of prayer, but I have been taught to celebrate the progress not the perfection. I am a work in progress, and that is perfectly okay!
As a Community, we have learned to embrace the various gifts within each of us. We know that we are not each just given one gift, but many. Each of our gifts are not for us to keep, but to share with others and bring them closer to God. I encourage each of you to do the same. I want to end my testimony with a HUGE encouragement to
Ask for His gifts … Receive His gifts … And go share them with others. And as it says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”.
Lord, I pray that the lights that you have given to each person here through over these past few weeks will shine brightly in and through them as they go out into the world and share that light with others. Lord, ignite your gifts within each one of them, and empower them with your love, joy, and peace. May all glory be yours for ever and ever. Amen. “
It is always good to explore and learn about your spiritual gifts; one way is through the Encounter School of Ministry, which is a 2-year program. There is also a good book that we have read both in Community as well as in Encounter School called “The Spiritual Gifts Handbook” by Randy Clark and Dr. Mary Healy. As you learn, do not limit yourself to one or two gifts. Be open to all that the Lord wants to give you. He loves to lavish his children.