When I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in the early 80s, I was at our sister-in-law's and John's brother's house in Tucson. I grew up going to Church, and was there whenever the door was open, but it was all just actions. Jesus was not in my heart, and I continued to live my own selfish, sinful life. When I actually asked for forgiveness for my sins, and asked Him to change me, and turn my life around, Joy bubbled up and out of me. I was spiritually reborn, and my eternity was sealed forever.
All that to tell you about the first time He actually spoke to me. It was several weeks later, back at home, and satan was messing with my mind. I started to doubt that God was with me. I felt alone, and the joy was pushed back to the edge of my mind. I remember asking, Lord, why did you go away? Where are you?" In the stillness of my bathroom, Jesus spoke. It was as clear as if He were standing there. He said, "My child, I have not gone anywhere. It is you that moved away from me." He was right, I was too new a Christian, and I let the world intrude! After that we got into a Bible believing Church, where our wonderful Pastor mentored me, and helped me to grow in God's word.
Over the years I in my human skin have gotten sidetracked, and did not travel the desert I was in very well. I thought it was all about me, and I was still filled with pride, anger, and selfishness. God did not leave me there. Each time I fall He picks me up, dusts me off, and teaches me His way. Was I a fast learner....No! Our God is so patient. He brings my hidden sins to mind, and gently shows me the right path. Sometimes He speaks direct, sometimes He uses other believers, and sometimes, He brings me to my knees, until I learn.
If you don't know Him personally, that may seem harsh, but what loving Father doesn't discipline their children? Jesus whispered to me along the way, "I love you too much to leave you where you are." Sometimes if I am too stubborn to listen, I love what He has done for me. Whatever it is I need to get, He will put in my path over and over and over until I get it. It may start as part of a sermon, the next day it may be a scripture I am reading, and then, maybe in some other reading. Over and over the exact message comes to me, and then I know it is what Jesus wants me to know and remember, and act on.
Several years ago, I was out walking our dog Samson. I was in a pit, desperate for answers. God put in my mind a picture of how my sin makes Him feel. I literally felt His anguish, His sadness and His hurt. I started to cry. I couldn't stop. I was totally heartbroken. I don't think I have ever since had that vivid a picture of my Savior, or cried that hard. That is when His spirit gave me the spiritual gift of empathy. When I do counseling or minister to others, I absolutely feel their pain in me. It is hard sometimes,but a huge blessing I am grateful for.
Most other times, Jesus talks to me in a still small, voice. I am still learning, but I am able to leave things in His hands, and don't let the world, or stress affect me. Yes, I am still in my human skin, so I still fall down. But down time is shorter. I have especially learned through journeys God has taken me on this past year, that He knows me, He loves me, and He has my life in His hands. He speaks, and I hear His voice. I speak to Him, and He already has it taken care of.