by Pam Taylor
I’ve always tried to be in tune with the Holy Spirit. As a child, my mother prayed to the Holy Spirit, asked the Holy Spirit for help, and referenced the Holy Spirit quite often. I guess I thought everyone did. She taught 2nd grade Catechism for as long as I can remember. To be honest, I don’t remember really praying to Jesus (he was our example), but praying specifically either to God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. Anyway - I have encounters with the Holy Spirit most days that I acknowledge: sometimes as angel spirits, through other people, or through dreams.
I’d like to share some examples of my experiences. Some of these might seem silly to you, but the Holy Spirit shows up in extraordinary and common ways if you invite it in.
My earliest experiences that I remember were when I was just about 9 or 10. I had two very distinct, real experiences where I heard footsteps that came to me and beckoned me to follow. I did. (I’m not saying I wasn’t scared out of my wits, but for some reason I had to). In each encounter the steps led me to a cross: one time in a church, and one time in our home. It was like a calling to show me where I should be looking for peace. This happened about a year or so after my younger sister died of Leukemia, and I suppose I was questioning why she died. At first, I blamed my parents. I thought they just left her at the hospital and weren't bringing her home, even though I had been at the funeral. I know I didn’t make it easy on my parents. They were grieving. But those “holy encounters” helped me rely on what I was learning about Jesus as the Christ and that I could always trust in God for the answers and peace that I was seeking.
In 2016, the night before I was to have back surgery, I was petrified. I was so incredibly scared, but the pain was bad enough that I wouldn’t back out. That night, as I slept, I felt a being breathing on me. It was so real that I opened my eyes because I thought MAYBE my daughter Nikki had come home and was standing over me to wish me luck. But no one was there. The breath was so real and yet so very peaceful, I breathed it all in. I relaxed and fell back asleep. When I awoke, I was no longer afraid, not even a bit! I mentioned it to my husband David. He said he had a dream, too. In his dream there were angels standing behind the surgeon, nurses, and anesthesiologist directing their hands in every movement during surgery. We both knew that we had been reassured that there was nothing to fear, that the Holy Spirit was with us. We were in good hands. We arrived at the surgery center with the greatest sense of peace and calm. The surgery was a success.
Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. - Philippians 4:6-7 (AMP)
In May 2022, I was preparing for the TEC Teacher Appreciation banquet to be on a Monday morning. On Sunday I bought plants to be the centerpieces. If you know anything about me, you know I can’t keep plants alive. I swear they come into the house and immediately start to die. So rather than take a chance that they would not survive the 24 hours until I had to bring them to church, I set them outside in the front yard.
On Sunday night I went to bed early, and at about 11:00 PM I distinctly heard a soft voice, “Don’t forget the plants.” I thought, “Okay, I won’t.” Again, “Don’t forget the plants.” I couldn’t go back to sleep. Finally I said, “OK, OK!”
I got out my phone and put in a reminder to NOT FORGET THE PLANTS at the time I was to leave. (To be honest, they were out of sight, so it was very likely I would have left without them). I went back to sleep.
Then at 2:30 AM a distinct soft voice said, “Don’t forget the plants.”
I woke a little and thought “I know, I already wrote it down. I won’t forget them. Now, please let me sleep…” And just then, the lightning and thunder and rain started. “OH – You want me to bring in the plants so they don’t get harmed in the storm – gotcha. I’m on it.” So at 2:30 AM, in my pajamas, I went outside in the front yard as it started to rain to bring them all safely inside the garage. As I brought the last one in, the rain came down so hard that those poor plants would have NEVER survived. I dried off and went back to bed and said, “Holy Spirit, next time can you be a little more specific so I could have brought them in the first time when it wasn’t raining?!?!” 😊
I have moments all the time, like:
- When I hesitate 3 seconds longer at the light that just turned green – just as a car zooms through their red light
- When I’m leaving the house and the Holy Spirit reminds me that I left my phone sitting on the desk
- When I’m getting ready to leave the grocery store and right before I check out I’m reminded of one of the most important ingredients that I forgot to pick up
- When I’m prompted to call a friend and I learn that something has happened and they really needed to talk
- When I’m nudged to ask the old woman in a wheelchair if she needs help and she says yes, can I take her home as her ride never came to get her
- When I see a mom struggling with a little baby and I offer to hold it so she can take a moment
- When I’m frustrated that it’s hard to get volunteers for MAD Camp and I’m ready to give up but then the Holy Spirit prompts me to revisit the videos from past years and my heart is full of joy seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids and knowing that we, together as the Church can show God’s Love to the children
But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and He said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. - Mark 10:14 (AMP)
I firmly believe the Holy Spirit is very active in my life, protecting me, guiding me, and nudging me constantly. All I need to do is listen, recognize and be thankful.
But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. - John 14:26 (AMP)
So I ask you, where is the Holy Spirit active in your life? Are you paying attention to its prompting?