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Revelation In Unexpected Places



 

SECOND EPISODE


Aloha Ladies! Welcome back!  


Now that you’ve heard a little bit about me and how I came to Hawaii (which I shared in the first episode)- today I want to share a transformative experience that led me to where we are right now- me, vocalizing this podcast so that you may hear God’s heart- His story.


So, let’s begin.


After we arrived in Hawaii, things were lonely initially. With lockdowns, masks, and quarantine, it took us a while before we made connections and found our church home. Thankfully, God led us right to a church where we were immediately embraced like never before! I eagerly jumped right in—attending small groups, women’s ministry events, you name it—anything to build connections and get to know the people!

Eventually, I was asked to be the guest speaker at a women's conference titled "A Love Like No Other." 


When the invitation was extended, my first thought was, " Why in the world would they want me to be the guest speaker?!"   I've never done public speaking, and frankly, the thought was TERRIFYING—yet there was this small voice that said, "Noelle, you have something to share, and you can do this."   


I SAID YES, and in February of 2022, I spoke for the first time in my life to a church full of women and shared about God's perfect love and how He showed me this love on two very specific occasions. 


Today, I want to share that same message with you!   But, before I talk about my specific encounters- I want to first talk about two other women from Scripture. (Remember how I mentioned in the last episode that God is no receptor of persons- that what He's done in the past for others, He will do again?   This is an excellent example of that. I hope you will stick with me until the end to see how all the pieces fit together!)

 

Let’s begin in the Old Testament- with a woman named -

 

Hagar – This was a woman who was mistreated, abandoned, wounded, desperate and afraid. Yet, she was also deeply loved. 

 

Her story is found in Genesis 16:1-16.   Where we learn that Hagar was the Egyptian slave of a woman named Sarai, Abram’s wife. Sarai was barren and decided that she would give her slave Hagar to her husband so that they could have children. When Hagar becomes pregnant, she gets a little cocky, and Sarai begins to mistreat her. So, Hagar runs away and has an encounter with God’s angel at a well:

 

Beginning in Verse 7, we read:

 

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar,a slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”b

"I'm running away from my mistress, Sarai," she answered.

Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”c

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant

and you will give birth to a son.e

You shall name him Ishmael,a g

for the Lord has heard of your misery.h

 

In verse 13, Hagar names God. She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: El Roi, which is Hebrew for "The God who Sees." 

 

We see a picture of a woman in a no-win situation. She's a slave at the mercy of her masters, forced to become a surrogate mother and mistreated. She hoped her life would improve when she became pregnant, but she ran when things took a turn for the worse. True desperation when you consider she is technically a runaway slave, carrying a baby that legally belongs to her mistress; she is breaking the law and facing severe punishment.   She eventually finds herself all alone at a well-defenseless, destitute, pregnant, and facing an uncertain future! 

  

I love the fact that God came to Hagar. She wasn't seeking Him. She wasn't running to him. Yet, He pursued her and met her at that well at her most desperate hour. He sent his Angel directly to her, calling her by name- conveying that He loved her- she has not been overlooked or forgotten.


God already knew her situation- He developed a plan for her, and although He asked her to return, He spoke words of promise and hope addressing her greatest needs and fears- telling her that her descendants would be "too numerous to count” and even personally naming her son!  


Do you grasp the significance of this story? This is the first time (since Adam and Eve) that God came to a woman—up until this point, He had only revealed Himself to Noah and Abraham.


Yet, here He is meeting Hagar at the well, and in turn, Hagar (A WOMAN) is the first person in the Bible to name God!   So amazing!!!


Can you relate to Hagar?   Have you ever experienced fear, desperation, loneliness, and rejection? Ever believed you were unworthy, unloved, unseen? In a situation beyond hope?


Perhaps, like Hagar at the well- You've wondered if anyone cares. Wondered if God cares.


I’m here to tell you - HE does! 

 

But I've got more. The Samaritan Woman, found in the New Testament, is a woman who was an outcast, rejected, scorned, and looking in all the wrong places for love and significance. 


Her story is found in John 4:7-26 which reads:


When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. [a])

10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

11 "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our Father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?"

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Now, here is a picture of a woman who knows the sting of racism and sexism. She's been married FIVE times and knows rejection & failure.   She knows first-hand what unreturned love looks like. She's with a man who won't marry her. She knows deeply what it is like to be an outcast and scorned.    For she goes to the well in the hottest part of the day when she knows she will be alone and can avoid condemning eyes.

 

Yet, on this day, she's in for a surprise.   God himself in His son Jesus- is waiting for her! 

 

Jesus went out of his way to have an encounter with her. He knew she would come to the well that day, at that very hour, alone. He showed her that He sees her. He knows her history—every tear, every bad decision, every misstep, every shameful deed—and He chooses her anyway! 


Do you grasp the significance of this story? Jesus picks someone considered insignificant—the most unlikely—a sinner, a woman. 


And she is the FIRST to be let in on the secret- That Jesus is the Messiah.    She’s technically the FIRST MISSIONARY! 


After her encounter with Jesus, she tells anyone who listens that she met the Messiah- the one who told her, "Everything she ever did!"


She's shouting from the rooftops! Heck, she even forgot her water jar! The Bible tells us in John 4:39, "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of her testimony."


There is no more shame, fear, or hiding. There is no more insignificance. She's doing the unimaginable!


I love this story because it reminds us that even in our brokenness and sin, God loves us enough to forgive us, set us free, and gives us a mighty purpose!


Can you relate to the Samaritan Woman? Have you ever experienced shame? Feelings of being unworthy, unloved, or that you don't belong?


I can relate to both women. 

  

Just like them- flawed, broken, insecure and afraid. Thinking my life would never be significant. Yet, God showed up for me, too- it just wasn't at a well. Instead, it was in my kitchen & at the garage dump!  


Let me take you there…. July 13, 2016- God sent two teenagers to my home. Both were from a church in Florida and were traveling to Puerto Rico for a mission trip. For some crazy reason, they were diverted at the last minute in the opposite direction and found themselves in Charlotte, NC, with no place to stay for the night. And for the FIRST TIME EVER- my police officer husband, who doesn't let strangers in our home under any circumstances, agrees to let them stay for the night! So, I come home from work to find two strangers in the house. That night was incredible!   These young men were on fire for God. They boldly prayed over us- asking that our lives be radically transformed. After they prayed, the older boy (Johnny) humbly spoke up and shared that when he touched my hand during the prayer, he saw a vision … a vision of me speaking to a crowd of women. My first response was to cringe and say, "No way- not me! This must be a joke! Because my greatest fear is public speaking.   I'm a writer, not a speaker."   But the more he spoke and described the vision as "a fire-spreading to others" - "throwing off flames," I became intrigued. Then he questioned whether this vision meant anything to me -- whether I’d ever thought of “sharing” God's truth with women. At that moment, my mind returned to a women's conference I attended the year before. At the end of this conference, we were encouraged to pray and ask God to impart a "word" to us. Whatever the word was, we were to take this white stone they provided and write the word on it. My word was "spark," and I had written it on that white stone on my desk. I had no idea what it meant at the time. But I grabbed that stone and showed it to the boys. At that moment, Johnny said he believed I would one day minister to women and, like a spark of fire, they would be drawn to me because of Christ.   

 

Hence, "the tiny spark was born" – Oh, from the mouths of babes. 

 

Now, let’s fast forward to July 9, 2021- 


This time, God sent a woman from Hawai’i named Darlene.   She had reached out to me after one of our women's Bible studies, and she told me that there was something about me that she was drawn to – like a light and that she believed God wanted to encourage me and that He had plans for me. Now, on this day, she invited me to go with her to a spot where 2014 the lava eruption had stopped- saying God wanted her to bring me to that spot. I agreed, thinking, 'Why not? It's probably a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean!”  To my surprise, we arrived at the Pahoa Transfer Station, the garbage dump.   God has such a sense of humor, and you know what? He met us there!   It turns out that I had to throw away some of my baggage at that dump and was baptized in the Holy Spirit!   Right after we finished praying, we both noticed - a child’s pink plastic microphone- frozen-trapped in the lava flow- completely un-melted like it was placed right there (almost preserved) as if it was waiting on me! When I saw it, I immediately remembered Johnny’s words.


I had confirmation at that moment that God was speaking—telling me He sees me, knows me, is with me, and has plans for me! 


So, I stood on that stage (4 days shy of exactly five years from Johnny's vision in my kitchen) with a microphone in my hand, doing what I thought was unimaginable, sharing with these beautiful women that God SEES THEM, HE HEARS THEM, HE KNOWS EVERYTHING THEY’VE BEEN THROUGH, and he is willing to meet THEM RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE!


And that’s the same message I am speaking to YOU TODAY! 


If he will meet Hagar and the Samaritan woman @ the well and me in my kitchen and at the dump!   HE WILL MEET YOU TOO!!   


HE LONGS FOR YOU-  longs to be gracious to you- to be in your presence.   

God is pursuing us!   He is willing to meet us right where we are, to see, hear, and answer, and make our lives significant!  


Ladies, God chooses and calls us (women) to impact the world!!!! 

  

We've just got to be willing to make room for Him and obedient to what He asks of us… like Hagar to return and like myself and the Samaritan woman-  willing to use our voices to share the goodness of God with others!


He’s got something special for you too!  Let him meet you- right where you are.


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