I am one of those Hanna kids. I have met a few in my life time. You know, children that the parents cried out to God to conceive. My mother was 43 years old and only had one child. She desperately wanted another. She repeatedly prayed. She told the Lord that if she could have me she would raise me in His ways.
Kitty Mae and Warren Thiel were absolutely sure I was a boy. They didn’t even have a girl’s name picked out. The day came for my appearance into this world. It was May 19th, a Thursday. I gave my first cry at 4:30 in the afternoon. Old Doc. Richardson walked out of the delivery room and told Dad, “Well, it’s got indoor plumbing. You have a healthy baby girl.” Mom was sedated, so Dad chose my name. In his mind’s eye he saw His grandmother, Anna. He had a lot of respect for her. She was a German woman. Who was strong, independent, and a bit stubborn. She was a woman of great faith. Dad said he remembered her praying as if she was in a trance. He said when she started praying that it was as if her spirit left the room. He named me Anna from that remembrance.
May, the fifth month means grace. Thursday the fifth day of the week means grace. The name Anna means grace. Hmm…could it be that there are times God speaks through coincidence?
I had my first prophetic dream when I was five. I saw that as the world progressed it would be filled with conveniences and people of the coming generations wouldn’t do as much physical work as in the time of my five year old world.
The next dream I remember was when I was going into third grade. I was entering a new school. In the dream, kids on the playground were teasing me. They grabbed me by my coat and swung me around till they let go and I fell to the ground. I was shocked the day it happened. I was going forcefully around and around. I would have been scared, but I was too busy remembering my dream and being amazed that it really was happening.
The following summer our family was on a camping trip. I sensed God. I knew that He was in the woods and at the little pond near our camp sight. I have no clue what an eight year old knows about the presence of God. All I can tell you is that it was so overwhelming. I just sat down by the pond and stayed there. Children that age don’t sit still long. But, I did. My Mom became concerned and sat with me. I told her I was fine. I can’t remember if I told her God was there or not. I was glad when she left because I wanted to be alone with that sense of peace that was surrounding me.
Soon after, I started sensing things. I knew when people left this realm. I could not feel their presence anymore. When I was twelve and we had just come home after another camping trip, the phone rang. I answered. It was the nursing home where my favorite grandma lived. The lady on the other end of the line asked for mom. I put my hand over the receiver and told my mom that grandma was dead. I had no clue and no signs from the conversation with the woman on the phone. The lady just asked for my mom and I just knew. That’s all. But, grandma had passed.
That happened again when I was sixteen. My Aunt Pat was helping my Mom pack our trailer for yet another camping trip. The phone rang again. It was the nursing home where my Aunt’s dad lived. We called him Pappy. The lady on the phone said she was told that Mrs. Johnson was supposed to be at our house. I went to the camp trailer and told Aunt Pat the phone was for her. As soon as she was out of hearing range I told Mom that Pappy was dead. This time I got scolded. I can hear my mom still, “Stop that!” Aunt Pat came back to the trailer and said that she had to leave immediately. Her dad had passed away.
In my late teens the reverse became apparent. I could tell when human spirits entered this world and I was ninety percent or more accurate at telling whether a pregnant woman was having a boy or girl. It became great entertainment for my friends. If we had been drinking, it would have made a fun beer game.
My Mom was very concerned at all of this. She asked me to spend less time at church. As if that would turn off the supernatural activity. She would say, “I told God that I would raise you to be a Christian. But, you’re a fanatic.”
In my adult life, dreams became a consistent activity. I noticed that none of them were literal. They weren’t even linear. They were abstract and full of conceptualization. Symbols are also very important. When I learned about the Hebrew language, I found it to be a lot like my dreams. Each letter tells a story. It’s full of concepts and usually isn’t linear. It dawned on me that that is the way God speaks. He communicates in that style whether it be a snap shot picture in your mind, or in a dream or in a vision.
In turn, if someone conveys a dream that doesn’t have what I call God’s kind of formatting, they usually are lying. It sends a red flag to me. I first look to other ways to confirm the dream. If that doesn’t work, I place the dream on this is probably a fleshly thing list. Recently, an angry and hurt person shared a dream she had. It was linear. The dream went from point A to point B to point C. There was no symbolism. In the dream she told the person in authority what she was going to do. It was plain to me that she was using the dream to usurp authority and exert her wishes. There was nothing Godly in that dream. It was her flesh screaming. I wonder how many people would use methods like that to get their way if they knew a more experienced person could see right through their ploys.
God uses our languages such as English, Spanish, French, etc. very rarely. Why? His way conveys more meaning. Our way requires many, many words to get the same ideas expressed to us.
HOW DOES GOD SPEAK?
- So let’s forget about dreams, visions, etc. That’s the canvas that God paints on. He speaks through:
Circumstance – if the same thing repeatedly appears like the number five has in my life, it’s probably God talking to you. Five or grace is a consistent part of my life. I have received and given it all my life. I could tell you story after story about grace.
- Symbolism and concepts – I think it’s a drive of human nature to know or understand something. We hate it when our friend has a secret and won’t tell us. So when God places a symbol or concept in our dreams or vision, we desire to get the understanding as soon as possible.
God speaks through your senses. You can tap into the supernatural with your sight, hearing, taste, touch, etc.
- Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Lots of times, you just know!
- Imagination – you’ll see it in your mind’s eye. Like my Dad seeing his grandma in his mind and he knew he should name me Anna.
So here we are at the crux of this post. Back to the title, “God told me to…” Most the time I cringe when I hear that. Because the person saying it is frequently referring to a higher power to qualify a significant statement or decision. Also, most the time they are using it to: circumvent authority, impress other people, justify and injustice or qualify an immoral choice. My mind immediately heads for the question, “How did He speak to you?”
The person who is communicating with God says sentences like these. “I walked in that room and I just knew…” “For the last week, I keep seeing and hearing the same thing everywhere I go…” “I feel pain in my stomach every time that person touches me.” “I have had the same dream over and over again.” If someone says God laughed, it’s because they sensed God Laughing. They felt a change in the atmosphere or they had a picture of Him having a good belly laugh. Not because God told them He was laughing.
- TOOLS FOR CONFIRMATION
Mature Christian counsel, (Never quit doing this. No mature how experienced you get.) Proverbs 11:14 (ESV), “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” If you think God is communicating with God share it with experienced mature believers. Listen to what they have to say.
- Experience – as you live your life, it will repeatedly prove to be true. There will be a time when you can reference a situation or dream back to a prior experience and you will know you are on the right path.
- Scripture – All revelation has a foundation in Jesus Christ as our Messiah. Is the message you think you are receiving from God in agreement with scripture and Jesus.
- Testimony of the Holy Spirit – is there a conviction from Holy Spirit that won’t go away? When I was in my 30’s my pastor asked me to volunteer at the local juvenile detention center. I kindly declined. For three months the urging for Holy Spirit wouldn’t go away. I finally gave in and volunteered.
I have learned to look at three of those four items for confirmation.
So if you show up on my door step and tell me that you think God wants you to quit work and go back to school, I am going to ask you if you had any of these confirmations. If you response is a blank stare, I will probably tell you to consider it a whim. I will then tell you to seek more counsel and to read scripture. I will also encourage to wait and see if the urging to go to school stays with you for a few months. Lastly, we will look at your history. Do the things you think God tells you to do usually come to fruition? Or, do you jump from whim to whim?
By the way, usually when I have said, “God told me to…” I was wrong. Hopefully I can save you the embarrassment.