I’ve heard verses plenty of times talking about how before I was formed in my mother’s womb, He knew me (Psalm 139:13). I’ve also heard the verses concerning wherever I go, God has never left me (Deut. 31:8). And finally I’ve heard the verses of how precious we are to Him; where His thoughts of us outnumber the grains of sand on a seashore (Psalm 139:18-19). Theresa made these verses come alive in a whole new way for us when we met her in Nashville, Tennessee.
Our week in Nashville was such an incredible time full of God spontaneously encouraging stranger after stranger. One story still gets to me every time I think about it. One afternoon, we decided to go to a local park, which was home to a replica of the famous historical building- the Parthenon. We were only there (as far as we knew) to walk around and take in the views and chill out for the day.
After a while out there, we had to leave to make it to a dinner engagement with a friend. Jess and myself (Derek) were walking back towards the car to meet Josh and then suddenly I felt a strange nudge in my spirit. We were walking around a lake and there was a nice viewing area God told me to walk towards. Immediately, I saw these two women to my right and knew God had something up His sleeve.
I began to pray for what words I was supposed to share and before anything came up, I heard the woman ask me if I knew what time it was. This broke the ice and led to our conversation that would last for the next hour!
Sidenote: I’ve talked before about how I believe the majority of Jesus’ encounters with people were through interruptions. Sometimes we are on our way somewhere important and the last thing we will allow ourselves to do is be interrupted, even though God may be cooking up some clever plan to show love to one of His children.
Jesus was on His way to a sick girl one day when He met the woman with the issue of bleeding. He didn’t ignore her faith or her action of touching His cloak. He acknowledged her, took the time to affirm her, and healed her. Welcoming this interruption led to this woman being healed after having this issue for 12 years, AND set the stage for Him to raise a dead girl back to life (Matt 9:18-26).
With that said, even if you gotta be somewhere, give a sacrifice of your time if you feel God leading you somewhere. If it’s God doing the leading, then He’s gonna lead you somewhere you can’t imagine and will most likely make you speechless.
BACK TO THE STORY!
We began engaging in casual conversation with Theresa and Essence while they were out catching some fish and quickly the topics changed from fishing, to following your dreams. The first cool part of this story is while we were talking about dreams and passions, Jess had a word from God to give to Essence (which I had no idea about). As Jess began talking to Theresa, I also got a word to speak to Essence.
I told Essence what I felt God was showing her and Jess goes, “That’s exactly what I just said to her!” Essence looked stunned! I had no idea Jess had even said anything and IMMEDIATELY God totally confirmed for Essence what His heart was for her. It was amazing. THEN it was time for Theresa…
Theresa was such an uplifting, happy-go-lucky, and fun person to be around. As I began praying, I saw a picture of two sets of train tracks. There was a large train on the one set of tracks and normally I would’ve just called it “a large train”. But God said, “No, it’s a locomotive”. There’s more to what the picture was and what it meant, but I’ll leave that for Theresa. Then I stepped up to the plate and took a swing.
I shared with her what God had just shown me and she blurted out, “That’s me! I’m the locomotive!” I simply agreed, “Yeah! That is you!” I went on to describe this vision and how God sees her, how strong she is and is going places. We ended up praying for Theresa and Essence, and then Theresa even prayed for us and DANG was it powerful! She had actually done some street preaching back in the day and was currently working on music to minister to women, affirming them in their identities.
The real kicker came after we prayed. Theresa let us in on a little secret. Turns out, Theresa is actually the living World Record Holder of the 100 yard dash! (Not documented BUT she has the articles to prove it and everything). Then she said something that messed me up for good.
“Back in the 80s when I used to compete, they had a nickname for me when I would run. They used to call me “THE LOCOMOTIVE”!”
Of any words! Of any pictures! LOCOMOTIVE! I haven’t thought of or used that word in ages! So what does this mean?
Guys…God knows us. He knew us before we were formed. He knew us when we were children. He saw us in any stage of our past, whether we were with Him or we ran away. He sees where we are and sees our future. HE KNOWS OUR NAME! Not only does He know our names, but He even knows our nicknames!
The beauty of this moment and I believe what God was speaking to Theresa was this – she WAS once given this nickname to describe the way she competed, and WAS defined by what she did. NOW God was redefining the meaning of her nickname of “The Locomotive”. God re-purposed this name to affirm her identity in Him and to instill a hope in her that her dreams are not only attainable but at hand!
There’s something so special when God chooses to remind us that He sees us and knows our name. He knows all of our names. It’s more refreshing when He speaks our names and gives us that reminder of how He sees us and how He has a plan to take us places we could never imagine going to on our own strength. I could have decided not to go walk over to the lake or kept that word to myself, and then we probably just would’ve had a nice dinner. BUT God had a better plan!
Don’t be afraid to be interrupted!