It happened when I was a sophomore in college. And by “man upstairs,” I don’t mean Santa. Or the guys that lived above me in my dorm (it was coed). I mean God. The Man Upstairs.
It was the early 1990s and I was driving my parents’ 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Now that was a sweet land yacht. I drove that car back and forth to college for a couple of years before a drunk driver crashed into me and totaled it. I got a Taurus after that.
Anyway, back to my story. I was driving the Olds down Texas Avenue in Bryan, Texas, at about 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night in February. Not much traffic – in fact, I don’t remember there being any traffic when it happened – just me. For once, the radio wasn’t on. I was just thinking. I had been at a church college gathering and was returning to my dorm.
A little backstory here: I grew up in a God-fearing, church-going family. When I went to college, I made some bad choices. Not change-your-life-forever bad choices, but bad enough. I was in a weird dating relationship with a really cute guy and an even weirder friend relationship with his roommate. Boyfriend dumped me in December, 1992, and suddenly I was questioning the wisdom behind my months of bad choices.
Back at home over the break, I started having disturbing dreams. In one, I was being chased by that scary motorcycle guy from “Raising Arizona.” He was going to catch me and do awful things to me (a la “Criminal Minds,” I’m sure), so I had to hide. I HAD TO HIDE! We lived out in the country at the time, and the only logical place for me to hide myself in was in our mailbox. Yeah – it was a weird dream. So I stuffed myself in the mailbox and I was safe.
I realized when I awoke that I was running away from my problems. I needed to face them. My biggest problem was how I was going to reconcile the faith I grew up with as a child and the life I had been choosing for myself at college. I decided that I’d give the faith another shot because my choices had led me to a place where I was dreaming about hiding in small metal boxes in order to escape from life. So I started going to church again, and I found a congregation that felt like family (in a good way).
I felt peace like I hadn’t had since leaving home 18 months earlier. It felt good and right that I was back in a church, worshiping God and publicly acknowledging Jesus as my savior.
Ok – back to the Olds. So I was cruising along in my land yacht, contemplating life, when all of a sudden, I heard someone from the passenger seat say, “You know, I love you more than your parents ever will.”
I looked over, startled, to see who had spoken to me.
Nobody was there.
I knew without a doubt it was God. How do I know? I just do.
It’s the only time I’ve ever heard his voice out loud. I can’t tell you what He sounds like – not like Morgan Freeman in “Bruce Almighty,” I know that much – but I know his words were true. I have incredible parents. They are probably the best parents in the world. No abuse, no neglect, just oodles of love and support (and discipline when needed). They have always been my inspiration, and I have never, ever doubted or questioned their love because they always demonstrated it by how they lived. So God’s declaration to me was pretty big in my book. He loves me more than my parents ever will. That’s big. I knew even then, before I met my hubs, married, and had kids that this was a big statement.
God loves me enough to speak out loud to me. But more importantly, He loves me enough to send His only son to die for me. For me. That blows my mind even more than hearing the creator of the universe speak to me in my mom’s 1985 Olds. You know what? He loves you that much, too.