When I was eighteen God called me to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I've never had a major crisis in the faith until recently. Sure I've had problems, but the existence of God has never bothered me. God has done so many miracles in my life that I'd be a fool to not believe in Him. He healed me from marijuana addiction and bi-polar disorder, He healed my dad from alcoholism, and He saved me from the power of sin. Every time I needed God he was there, so why did I have doubt in God after he'd done so much? I think it boils down to how I pushed myself last semester. I cancelled my Netflix subscription, cut my hours back at work, and submerged myself in studying. By the end of the semester I was running on fumes. I had just enough left in the tank to finish finals and then I gave in to temptation. I did what I wanted. I had a study plan for the break, but it went out the window about the second day into Christmas break. I played Xbox, I watched every movie I ever wanted, I ate doughnuts, I just vegged out. I forgot about my first love too. God was absent. The Casting Crowns song "Slow Fade" really sums up what happened, I slowly drifted from God http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QASREBVDsLk. By the time I realized where my relationship with God was, I was very cold to the Spirit. When this semester started I felt empty. I questioned what God had done in my life, and I wondered if God is fake and all this is in my head, what's the point? My teacher said last week, "How can you sit at the bed of a person dying of aids and give them hope if you don't know that you know that God is real and there is hope after this life." I thought to myself I couldn't do that unless I was positive God had called me and he was real. I would be faking, and I couldn't live my life as a faker.
That night I read our required reading for the class in a book titled, "Spiritual Leadership" by Henry and Richard Blackaby. I got to about page 100 and came to a section on "Encounters with God." It was all about people who had amazing, empowering, life changing experiences with God. After they had the experience they were empowered for their ministry. I thought to myself that in order to minister I would need something like that to happen to me because I really felt dry. God was going to have to show up, or he may lose a soldier. I prayed that night, as honest as I could, for God to renew me. I wanted that empowering I was reading about for my ministry.
The next morning I told my wife that we would begin to read through Psalms and Proverbs as a family with our son, and that today we would be starting with Psalm one and Proverbs one. We read the Bible and I was off to work at Cracker Barrel. I arrived at 8:30am on the dot for my shift. I did my routine of speaking to Donna (the prep-cook) and clocking in. I stepped out the back vestibule to warm myself next to the fire and as I was walking out, a woman passed me. I said, "Have a blessed day" to her. Now I've said that a million times, but I felt God nudge me to say it this time. The woman stopped and said, "I receive that." We both looked into the fire and she said, "It's beautiful isn't it?" And in mid-sentence of my reply she said, "You're a born-again Christian aren't you?" I said, "Yes." She said that God had something to tell me and began to prophesy and pray over me like I'd never had someone do before. She looked into my eye's and told me she'd been on a twenty one day fast and that she was planning on going to Burger King, but her husband said, "Let's go to Cracker Barrel." I could have came out any other door at any other time, but I didn't, I came out right when God wanted me to. She told me I had the spirit of John. And that I was a prophet. She said that God was birthing something in me. She kept saying that I was being made new, "You're being renewed" she said. We were hugging and crying for close to thirty minutes. We moved closer to the door from the fireplace, but God still wasn't done. She looked into my eye's and said that all the people walking around us were going to leave me alone because God was going to protect me. They didn't understand what was happening all they saw were two people crying in the middle of the floor. The woman asked me did I have any family and I didn't get to answer her because we were praying and talking. but before she left I mentioned that I did have family. She gave me her business card (the last one she had) and told me she wanted to pray for me. She was a minister.
I wrote down my name and number so she could pray for me. She asked me to write the names of my family members down. So I began to write down the names. I was debating whether or not to write "Kat" or "Kathryn" for my wife, since normally people who don't know her call her "Kathryn." I wrote "Kathryn" and "Nolan" and gave her the sheet. She said, "Let me tell you how I know this is from God. I always ask God to confirm it's from Him through someone I know...my mother's name is Kathryn." I said, "Is it spelled the same way, I mean that's a unique spelling." She said, "It's spelled exactly the same way." I told her, "Do you know how I know this is from God? Last night I prayed for a renewal in my spirit, and while we were praying you couldn't stop saying that I was being made new and I was being renewed." We finally parted ways and I got back to work.
When I stepped back up to the food window a server asked me, "What was that?" I knew it was from the devil because of the tone and my spirit revealed it to me. I said, "She was just praying for me and stuff." See the devil tried to steal what God did for me right after it happened but I wouldn't let him. I had another server ask me, "Did you make that old lady cry?" I highly respect her and was glad she gave some humor instead of trying to judge me like the other server did. I said. "No, she made me cry!" I read the card she gave me and was awed at the scripture. It was about peace and that's all I wanted for my soul. After a minute or two I told God I didn't care if I made any money that day, that what he gave me was all I came for that day. And I really did have a normal day on tips after that. But one very cool thing that happened later that day was me getting my PAR 4 (the stars on our aprons). I had been promoted by the Spirit of God and now I'd been promoted at my job. It was an amazing day.
I am so happy that God answered my prayer the very next day after I prayed it. God knew that I was on the edge and he gave me that woman to speak into my life at the right time. I thank you and praise you God because you do draw near to those who draw near to you.