God can and does speak to us in a million different ways. But we have to learn how to listen. The more time we spend alone with God, the more we learn to recognize His voice.

When we understand that God is completely in control of the universe, then we begin to see all of His thousand of little gifts and messages that He constantly showers upon us — a single yellow flower, the way sunlight shines through a colored glass, a good friend’s hug, a beautiful old song that unexpectedly floods your mind for no apparent reason. (Search the lyrics. It’s probably a message!)

There is no coincidence. “Chance” becomes God’s plan. Every component of our lives becomes a little part of this glorious orchestra that God is composing.

God can fashion a customized system of signs and symbols to speak just to YOU — a secret language between you and God. This past year, with me it has been deer. God has been using deer to give me messages. He often uses deer sightings in very obvious ways to give me encouragement and confirmations.

Let me explain. We live in an area where we do see deer fairly regularly so just seeing them isn’t anything extraordinary. But God has His ways of making it clear. A deer will suddenly appear walking down the middle of the street (something I’d never seen them do before) when I’ve awakened in the middle of the night worried about something. A deer will seemingly materialize from thin air in a place I’ve never seen one before just at the moment after I have asked God for confirmation about something. Or we will not see any at all for an oddly long time and then one will surprise us immediately after I’ve asked God for some sort of sign. These are my deer messages from God.

It all started last fall at our off grid cabin property when I was prayer walking through our woods. I experience God’s presence often. He speaks to me in various ways often. But there have been only a handful of times when He seems to have actually walked with me through the garden, when His presence has been almost tangible. When this happens, we can converse back and forth instantly. These have been the most precious experiences of my life.

This was one of those times. We were speaking together, almost bantering. He had already given me so many little gifts during our walk — a brilliant red leaf on the forest floor, a neon blue tailed lizard scurrying under a log, a cool wind softly whistling through the trees, a chattering squirrel, a little bird flitting about among the branches. I boldly asked Him to “show me a deer!”

He smiled (I could feel His smile!), maybe even chuckled a little, and told me, “I have to save SOMETHING for later!” I didn’t realize at the time that He was setting up a future message. He was building our private language.

Skip ahead nine months. God had abruptly picked us up and moved us across the state. We were living in a condo while we waited for Him to lead us to our new home. I thought I knew what kind of place He had planned for us. We had made a list. I thought we would know the right place when it matched the list.

But God had other plans.

Craig was out of town so I viewed the property without him. It didn’t match the list. But there some other undeniable signs. I really felt God wanted me to submit an offer. I called Craig and he agreed.

But it didn’t match the list.

And then the sellers accepted our offer.

So there I was lying alone in bed that night freaking out, having a meltdown, terrified that we were screwing up big because this wasn’t how I thought God was going to work. I was crying and fretting and giving myself an ulcer and begging God to get us out of this if it was a mistake.

Finally after many sleepless hours I got up at 3am and walked into the other room. Out of the corner of my eye I sensed a movement outside the window. A beautiful doe, illuminated by the streetlight, nonchalantly walked down the middle of the street. This was the first deer I had seen since we had moved here a week before. Why then? Instantly I knew God was giving me a message, “Shhhh… it’s okay. I am here. I hear your cries.”

This was the “something” He saved for later…

As I watched, the deer stopped and walked to the side of the road to munch on some leaves. She stayed there in that spot for over 20 minutes. Our condo is surrounded by trees. She had appeared and stopped in the only tiny bit of road visible through the trees from that particular window. If she had been a few feet back or further ahead, I never would have seen her.

Since that night, God has given us a hundred more signs and confirmation about this house. We closed yesterday, very confident that this is exactly what He wants for us.

But that first night, He heard my cries. He knew my fears. He knew nine months before that I would be lying all alone and afraid. He set it all up nine months before so that I would KNOW it was Him when He sent me that beautiful deer.

“”Shhhh… it’s okay. I am here…”