If I had to encapsulate elements of my faith story down to one word, it would be: whispers.

I’ve never had a moment of big revelation or epiphany where God shouts at me through others, through his creation, or through whatever means that would make me listen. No Damascus Road or burning bush or, like my biblical namesake, no vision of angels ascending and descending from the spacious firmament on high while I slept on a rock. Nope. No big moments for me. My significant spiritual journey moments are birthed in the quiet. When I am still. When I am listening. When I am able, for whatever reason, to halt the never-ending conversations taking place in my head and to hear a gentle whisper from God.

It’s probably why I like night. For one, I don’t sleep very well (mostly due to the conversations in my head and my brain refusing to turn off), so night has become comforting; it feels normal. But there’s another benefit: it’s quiet at night. It’s easy to be still at night. And often, there is a gentle whisper that I know originates from God at night.

Now I wouldn’t say I’ve literally heard God’s voice…and yet, I’ve heard God’s voice. (I’ve tried to figure out a way to better explain it, but I haven’t found it.) The whispers are always gentle. Usually along the lines of: “You’re not alone,” or, “I’m here,” or, “It’ll be okay.” I cannot count the number of times this has happened in my life. Too many of them. And because I have learned to recognize the whispers at night, I now recognize them all the time.

And they happen everywhere. Many have been in a car. Some in hospital rooms. Some in the forest or on a mountain. Two specific instances stand out: a mountain top, and driving down the 101.

On the mountain I was skiing with my dad. We were at the peak and above the clouds. A sea of them below us as far as we could see. We had to ski through the clouds, but as soon as we entered them, visibility went to zero. A complete white out. I couldn’t even see my skis. I could barely see my hands. I skied slow, hoping I wouldn’t hit anyone or anything. But then there was an “I’m here” whisper…on the mountain…in the cloud. No transfiguration happening. No thunder. But I heard God’s whispering voice clear enough. He was there. And then we were through the clouds.

My 101 experience (at least, one of them…I’ve had a few) happened on May 23rd, 2017. I had just finished telling my parents about Joella’s cancer. I turned off the radio, and I distinctly knew I wasn’t alone in the car. I was. But I wasn’t. Tears streaming down my face. Some hand, not my own, seeming to wipe them away. Again, it was a whisper I heard. “I’m here.”

I love hearing God’s whispers. It means he notices me. And loves me. Even me.