by Judith Barrett

God gives me words to ponder. The words He spoke in early December overwhelmed me. My husband sat with me after church while I sobbed from the intensity of the Holy Spirit’s message: Big. Overwhelming. I had no idea what God meant. I told my husband and Fr. David, but I had no explanation, and they were as puzzled as I was.

Then God’s word at the beginning of January was Wait. Has God ever told you to wait? Evidently, I’m a slow learner because this wasn’t the first time God has told me Wait. Some words are comforting, but as far as I’m concerned, wait is not one of them. Wait for what? How long? Sometimes my prayers sound like the words we’ve all heard from the back seat of a car: “Are we there yet?”

Mid-January, I had the message the deeper we dig, the deeper we get. I don’t consider myself terribly philosophical, but the words comforted me. I love to learn, and one of the best ways I learn is through digging deeper because the deeper I dig, the deeper I get and the more I learn.

This digging deeper skill, though, leaves me bewildered by the ways of polite society. If you say to me (which others have in the past), “Let’s do lunch,” I’ll pull up my calendar on my cell phone. “Great! When? What time? Where do you want to go?”

With my husband’s help, I’m working on my social skills, but I’m not stressing over it because I’ve realized it’s okay to be different. There’s a place for us literalists, and it’s okay to be a digger.

The first of February God reminded me, What’s next? Another comforting phrase because it’s a prayer my husband and I pray regularly that means “Prepare us for what’s next, Lord. We’re ready.”

More words in February: Inspiration. Breathe in the Holy Spirit. Reconciliation. A sign. Silent. All comforting.

In early March we cut back on trips to stores and began limiting our time in public places. Staying at home was not a burden for me. As a natural introvert, it was a joy. More time to write, bake, and write some more. God’s word: Community. We thanked God for the community we found.

Was Lent longer than usual this year? Did someone throw in an extra month with that change to Daylight Savings time? It seemed like it to me!

I’ve never been much of a fan of Palm Sunday because of the foreshadowing of the downward spiral ahead, but this year I was thrilled to see Palm Sunday and put palm leaves on our front door. God’s word: Powerlessness. While it might sound frightening, it isn’t. It’s a message from God to accept my own powerlessness and lean on Him. I’m reminded of all the times that His strength became clear because of my weakness.

God’s word. Hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”