"Haven't I Seen You Here Before?"

BY: Deana Bell, Restored Marriage, Director
I had just driven three and a half hours from my home in North Carolina to Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. It was my son's birthday. And we had never been apart on this special day. Nineteen years to be exact. So when my daughter had spontaneously suggested it, I jumped at the chance to go see him during his freshman year of college. My husband was traveling for work, so it was just my daughter and me. We arrived a few hours before dinner time and our plan was to treat him to his favorite dinner: sushi.  
  
I had "Yelped" a few restaurants to find the best one, since this city was pretty new to us all. I found the most highly rated sushi restaurant and invited his roommate to celebrate with us. It was small, with just 10 or 15 tables and a counter as you walked in. It wasn't fancy by any means, but it didn't have to be because this time was just about being together on my son's special day.  
  
We ate dinner, the four of us, and got to catch up on what was new in his life since the day before, when we had last talked. I got to know a little bit more about his roommate and about how much they had in common.  
  
When we were finished eating, I went up to the counter to pay the bill and the sweet, Asian woman behind the counter said to me, "How are you? I haven't seen you in a while. How is your husband doing? I haven't seen him in a while either." Because I had never been to this restaurant, I smiled and started to protest at knowing this sweet owner, but the Holy Spirit hushed me. For a second or more, I thought maybe I had been here before and didn't remember, but since this city was completely new to us, I was sure I had not. In fact, for a second, I even questioned whether or not my husband had been to this place without me. This woman's confidence baffled me. I answered as if I had met her before, saying, "We're all doing well. My husband is traveling, but I'm sure the next time he is in town, he will want to come by for some sushi." She continued to talk to me as if we had known each other for years and I started to question what God was doing. The woman blessed us as we paid and left, giving us a huge smile and telling us to come back again soon.
  
As soon as I got through the door to the parking lot, the Holy Spirit said to me, "She doesn't know you, but she knows the Jesus in you." 
  
Having already been emotional that day, the tears streaming down my face were not a surprise. As I walked to my car, I saw a vision of this same woman praising God, hands held high in the air, at a completely Asian church. The Holy Spirit showed me that this woman loved Jesus so much. That she was somewhat new to her journey, but that she had given her whole heart to Him. 
  
You see, God was not only doing something in this woman, but He was also doing something in me.  
  
For months, if not years, beforehand, the Holy Spirit had been teaching me that He lives in me. I remember the first time He clearly revealed that to me. I was driving in my car and heard the Holy Spirit say to me, "You have to believe that I live in you. I never leave you nor forsake you, but you have to trust that. You have invited Me into your life and I will never leave. You can trust Me. You can trust My Holy Spirit in you. You can have faith that I am working all things out for your good. When you speak, I speak. I have a plan, a purpose for your life and it will not fail." 
  
At first, that interaction was overwhelming to me. I didn't feel worthy of such love and blessing. In the days that followed I began to question, “Could Jesus really reside in me?” It didn't feel possible, given my sinful past and constant struggle to feel good enough. But gently and perfectly, the Lord showed me that it was in fact possible for Him to live in me.  
1 John 4:12 "No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us." (NLT) 
  
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (NKJV) 
  
Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (NKJV) 
  
John 14: 15  "If you love Me, obey My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you." (NLT)

Little by little, I began to see how, even in my sinful nature, God could still work His good through me. I began to have confidence in myself; but more importantly, in the Holy Spirit inside of me. Because of my past, trust had always been an issue for me. But I could see now, how the Lord needed me to have complete trust in Him so that He could work His miracles through me.  
  
Later that evening, as my daughter and I drove the three hours back to our home, I had a vison. I saw myself walking through life with a bright shining Light emanating from my face, my hands and my heart. I saw that both good and evil were aware of my Light. Goodness was attracted to it and evil tried to defeat it. I saw myself walking into stores and places of business; and those who knew Him, knew the Light in me. I saw that no matter what the enemy camp did to try to quash, hinder or cover up my Light, that the Light was always victorious.  
  
After the experience at the sushi restaurant, it was like I finally had the picture. I finally understood, grounded within my soul, that Jesus is in me. And that others, whether they acknowledge it or not, are aware that I carry His Presence in me. And now, after more than a year of my “god-fidence” transformation, I am beginning to see that the more I put Him first, above all else, the brighter His Light shines through me.  
  
Friend, as you walk out your marriage journey, I pray that you will draw close to Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you. It is so important to seek God first, above all things, especially in your marriage. Where the enemy wants to destroy you and your relationship with your spouse, you must have confidence in the God who lives in you. In order to do that, you must, without fail, make Him your number one. You must destroy the idols you have made of your spouse and your marriage and you must know that the Lord Himself will go before you, even if the road ahead seems bleak and uncertain. If there is one thing that I have learned, it is that although God is in me, I am not God. Let Him lead you. Let His voice emanate from your heart. And let the words of your mouth and the mediations of your heart be pleasing to Him, and Him alone.  

Blessings and love to you,
Deana

DEANA BELL:
Deana is currently one of the Directors of Covenant Keepers, International. She graduated from the Dove School of Leadership through Chesapeake Bible College and received her Pastor's license in 2019. Previously she and her husband, Koji, served as the Mid-West Regional Directors of Covenant Keepers and as small group leaders in that area. She has a degree in Secondary Education as well as experience in counseling from a biblical standpoint. For the last 20 years, she has also served her family as a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. Deana's marriage has been restored since 2013.
 
She is passionate about having a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She has seen many miracles in her life as well as in the lives of the people around her. At her core, she is an encourager and disciple of Christ, spending most of her days ministering to people and digging into the Word. She also speaks at conferences, loves to write, and teach the Word of God. She and her family currently live and attend church in the Charlotte, NC area.

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