In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
(Acts 2:17 NLT)
One of Joni’s Testimonies found in Bragging About God: Hearing His voice
THE BEAGLE AND THE BEAR
As a six-year-old girl, I had a frightening and urgent vision from the Holy Spirit. God warned me as I saw the events that would unfold before my eyes in a matter of a few minutes. Mom, my sister and I were out in the backyard yard on that sunny day in upstate New York.
Even at that early age, I already knew Mom, my family and friends didn’t want me to talk about hearing God’s voice or seeing visions from Him. I had to keep these prophetic encounters a secret from her and everyone else. This caused me to feel lonely, rejected and isolated, coloring all my relationships in a negative light. I knew I still had to take immediate action on the vision God gave me.
Not knowing what else to do, I sprung into action and ran up the few stairs to the screened back porch. Trying to muster up some excitement in my voice, I stood there and called my mom and sister from the backyard.
I said, “Hey, come on, I have something to show you! Hurry up or you’ll miss it if you don’t come now!”
From the backyard, my mother and sister promptly ran up the few steps onto the screened-in porch as they looked around wondering what I wanted to show them. I waited nervously and asked them to turn around and face the backyard.
Looking around, my mother asked, “What did you want to show us, Joni?”
“Just wait a minute and you’ll see!”
We did wait, but a little too long for Mom’s patience.
Mom grabbed the handle of the back screen door, ready to walk out again.
She impatiently said, “I’ve waited long enough, what is it you wanted to show us? I want to finish my work.”
Not knowing what my next step would be, I stood quietly and waited as I nervously looked up at her, wondering how to keep them safe on the porch with me. Mom’s patience was wearing thin and I was not helping. She stared at me as she put her hand on the screen door handle and pulled it wide open while she leaned forward to take that first step down the stairs. As she did, we heard our dog, Sandy, as he yelped and cried with terror.
All three of us glanced at the backyard as Sandy raced out of the cornfield. A big, angry bear was chasing him at full speed, gaining on him, only fifteen feet behind Sandy. Mom held the door open and we all moved aside hoping Sandy could make it to the safety of the porch. Still running for his life with everything he had in him. Our beagle made it to safety up the stairs and onto the porch. Still, at full speed, he crashed against the outside wall of our house and crumpled in a heap. He was fine but frightened.
We glanced back at the bear. It stopped in the middle of our big yard and looked around. With a snort and a grunt it turned and ran back into the cornfield headed toward the woods.
I looked up at Mom. She slowly looked down at me with a dumbfounded expression on her solemn face. With confusion and shock, she knew it had happened again. I knew better than to tell her it had been God who gave me this vision of warning. Silently, I looked up at her with an exaggerated sigh of relief with a shrug of my shoulders, knowing we were all safe again.
My only explanation was, “That’s what I wanted to show you!”
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
MY SECRET LIFE
Episodes like this were difficult for me as my following God’s word was usually followed by scoffing or laughter from others. My family and my friends never wanted to hear what God spoke, what visions I saw or that the Lord communicated to me in any way. They didn’t understand and thought these prophetic episodes were eerie and they were a little scary. I took all the scoffing to heart and became emotionally wounded. Still, I continued to obey and I did God’s will even though it came at a great emotional expense. I had to do my part or I wouldn’t have any peace.
God chose me for this and I didn’t fit in with normal people. Feeling alienated and alone become part of my journey too. Seeing visions and hearing the voice of the Spirit was a powerful blessing and a burden at the same time. I love being connected to God and doing His will. But I always wanted to keep my God-given gifts a secret and hide who I really was to protect my heart.
The difficult part of wanting to keep these secrets is that God wants my gifts out in the open to teach others about His ways. Having a direct line of communication with God is the purpose of these gifts.
God says His children hear His voice, and He knows them and they follow Him. (John 10:27)
I have been hearing God’s voice and seeing His visions over the last fifty-five years to accomplish His will in the lives of my family, friends and even strangers. I offer a testimony, scriptures from the Bible along with my conclusion to back up the fact that God has and still does speak to His children today.