About a week and a half ago, God’s spirit moved me in a way that nothing and nobody else could ever do. Sounds just like God, right? And yet I was so caught off guard by his tender voice roaring through my soul and surfacing His deep, deep love for me.
I was at a conference in Toronto, and during the final portion we dedicated some time to just listen to God’s voice. Typically when a time like this is included in a conference/event, I simply say “God, if you have anything you want to tell me I’d love to hear. Otherwise, I’m content to sit back and just enjoy Your presence.” But for some reason, I really wanted to hear from God that day. I was desperate for a personal message from Jesus.
I want to preface this by saying I am an incredibly emotionally sensitive person. I’m easily moved. Moved by the words of others, moved by books, moved by music. I well up almost every day for some reason or another, sometimes even for a split second.
But when God Himself moves me? Man…. the effects don’t wear off quick.
I silently prayed for the Lord to speak to me. As I told God I wanted to hear His voice, a picture started to form in my mind. A real picture – one that my friend Tat had taken at Machu Picchu. We were standing on the mountaintop. She photographed her tattoo’d wrist – proclaiming He > I (He is greater than I, words she truly lived by) – with a gorgeous view of Machu Picchu in the background. My first thought was “Cool, I love this photo. But I think about Tat every single day so I may have conjured this up myself.” Just as I began to doubt, the photo changed to another actual photo – this one I took. It was the view from a hotel we stayed at in Ollantaytambo – a village within “la Valle Sagrado” which means “the Sacred Valley”. Tat’s arm isn’t in this photo, but in this moment when I’m seeing it, I still see her tattoo.
“Okay”, I said to Jesus “This is really beautiful. But what does it mean?” As I tried to wrack my brain I somehow saw these two photos simultaneously. Then God spoke to my heart in a way only He would know how. I felt the words so deep in my soul, somehow both loud and quiet.
On the mountaintop, He > I
In the valley, He > I
My heart pounded and I was overwhelmed in the best way. With 2 short phrases from Jesus, I was completely undone.
It had been a while since I felt that God had spoken words that were specifically designed for me. I was a bit floored. God has a way of delving into the recesses of our hearts, taking hold of the things that cause us sorrow, and bluntly confronting us with them. He doesn’t shy away from the broken parts of our hearts like many do. The parts we bury so we can function as human beings. Instead – He digs them up, nurtures them, consoles our spirits, whispers His promises and reminds us that His plan is intricate and good.
On the mountaintop – He is greater than I. When I feel like I’m on top of the world. When I’m gazing at the beauty of Machu Picchu. When I’m loving my life. When all seems right. When I feel joyful and inspired. When I’m accomplishing great things. When I feel invincible and unstoppable – He is greater than I
In the valley – the low, low valley. When things are terrible. When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. When the people I love die. When sadness surrounds me. When chaos entraps me. When I fall hard and I don’t know how to get back up. When I fail – He is greater than I.
Even though Tat is gone from my sight – God is using the very essence of who she is to touch my soul. This might sound obvious, but God is so creative. God used Instagram photos to speak to me. God used two actual places I stood beside Tat 3 years ago. Machu Picchu and la Valle Sagrado. A mountain and a valley.
Spending time with Tat in Peru was a mountaintop. Losing her was a low, low, low valley.
Yet Tat’s wrist sums it all up. He is greater than us through the mountains and valleys of our lives. God is there on the mountaintop celebrating with us and whispering His goodness and love. In the valley, God sees us. When we’re stuck in the valley and can’t find our way out – God is greater than us and He won’t forsake us. He has a plan. He consoles us and ensures us that we aren’t meant to know his entire plan.
This conversation with Jesus meant the world to me. It was specific and powerful and so personal. You might even say it was life changing.
I cannot wait to tell Tat about how God used her tattoo to rock my world someday. I want to thank her for deciding to get that tattoo, and for deciding to take that photo. Most importantly, I want to thank her for living the words on her skin and wearing her heart on her sleeve.
He > I.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love will not be shaken – Isaiah 54:10