Monday, March 28, 2011

How do you know?

after reading my previous post, someone asked me, "how do you hear God? how do you know when it's Him?" so, i decided to answer her here. i don't know how everyone else hears God...i suppose its different for each of us. but i know that He comes to me through whispers. through the words of a song, through a verse from the Bible, through ordinary, everyday things. sometimes i will ask God something and He is silent. i don't hear anything, i don't feel anything. and then something will happen and it's then that i know...without a doubt, that it's God speaking.

i've written about some of these things in previous blog posts, but i will share 4 that have happened to me recently.

when i was at Ft. Myers Beach last summer, i was waiting on the trial to be set in my divorce. i was very stressed out and not looking forward to testifying. having your entire marriage, with all it's problems, come out in open court can be very embarrasing and humiliating. God had given me my "word" to live by earlier that year, which was actually two words, BABY STEPS. He had assured me that He would be with me, every step of the way. that i just needed to chill out and let Him take over. He would expose the truth if i just trusted in Him, and Micajah and i would be fine. A few days after giving me my "word" the date was set for trial and i learned that my ex was going to try and call my parents to testify. and that was not something that any of us wanted. they were not well and didn't think they could make the trip back home, and more importantly, they didn't want to have to testify for or against my ex. they had loved him like a son and it tore them apart when our marriage ended up like it did. i knew that he was just threatening me, out of spite, but still, it upset me. i grabbed my camera, like i did every day and went for a walk down the beach. it was early in the morning and there weren't many people out yet. but, ahead of me was a family of four, with the youngest being about 2 yrs. old. she was holding on to her daddys hand and walking right at the waters edge and when the waves went back into the ocean, their footprints were exposed. i just snapped a picture of them, because i love that poem about when you didn't see the footprints, it was then that God was carrying you. Later that day, when i was uploading the pics to my computer...THIS popped up.

one little baby step. i had taken the picture of the daddys and the baby's prints, but only this one little footprint came up. one little BABY STEP. and i knew that was God speaking to me, reminding me that i had turned it over to Him and He was going to take care of things. and He did. the judge decided that my parents didn't need to go back to GA and testify.

When it came time for the trial, i left the beach and went home. my sister, Paula went with me to court. it was only going to be a one day trial, but still, i was so nervous about getting up on the stand. he had served me with a bogus counter-claim and i was going to have to prove that he was lying. a friend of mine had suggested i take something physical in with me to hold on to, that would remind me that God was in control. So, i grabbed a yellow legal pad and in big letters, i wrote my favorite verse, "Be still, and know that I am God." my attorney had warned me not to show anger or hostility towards my ex, and not to let his attorney try and provoke me into getting into an argument. well, he did try and provoke me and each time he tried to twist my words around or make it look like i wasn't telling the truth, i just held my breath and looked down at that verse i was holding in my hand. and it calmed me instantly and i was able to answer him, with no hint of anger, even though i wanted to scream out LIAR, LIAR. God calmed me with just those words and the judge saw through all the lies and i came out of the divorce very well. He took care of us, just like He said He would.

this year God gave me another "word." FLY. i thought ok, this one is a little strange and i wasn't really sure what it meant when He gave it to me. but He let me know that this year He was going to take me to new places. not necessarily that i was going to be traveling, but that He was taking me to a whole new level of faith in Him. that He was going to show me just how much He loves me. and a few days later my family and i went to eat at Cracker Barrel. they all knew my word beforehand, and thought i was a little bit nuts. i was walking around the gift shop when i spotted a little basket sitting up on a shelf with these little tiles that were like dominoes, but they had words written on them. HOPE, FAITH, BELIEVE. very common words that you see everyday. i stuck my hand in the basket and pulled one out and it said this:

and i was thinking, well that's pretty close but it's not the "word." i went to put it back into the basket and i turned it over and saw this:

now, how often do you see the word FLY on something like this? mixed in with hope, faith, believe? and it was the only one in the basket. i bought it and took it to the table and showed my family and they couldn't believe it! THIS was God speaking to me.

in the post previous to this one, the one that actually sparked this was a friday night, a little over a week ago, when i did the nosedive. i had been flying high and suddenly came crashing back to earth. i was so full of hurt and questions and i was repeatedly asking God, WHY? i had asked Him to slam the door if this was not His will, because i knew i was getting in deep and instead He kept opening doors. and as i wrote, i didn't hear anything. God was not speaking to me. He was there...but, He was silent. for days. and then He decided to speak to me. it was this past friday. Micajah got up at 6:30 to go to school. i had fallen back asleep after waking him up and just as he was getting ready to leave, he came and opened my bedroom door and very nonchalantly, as if this was something he said to me everyday, he said, "mom, i just wanted to let you know that the dining room window was left open last night and there is a bird in the house." and he closed my door and left. WHAT? i thought it was part of my dream. i got up a few minutes later and walked into the dining room, and sure enough, there was a little bird flying from one end of the room to the other. i went through the kitchen and opened the door to the screened in porch, hoping i could shoo him out that way. he flew into the living room and down the hallway and back to the dining room. it was as if he was saying, "here i am, now i'm over here, everywhere you go, i go." i thought it was a little weird and i went back to my room to get my camera, because i take pictures of things like birds flying around in my house. and he was gone. i suppose he found his way to the open door and took flight. no picture. but, i went back to my room and turned on my computer and hit my itunes playlist. it was set to shuffle the songs so i didn't hear them in any particular order. and of all the songs on there, THIS song began playing:

did you catch the part where she sings "He'll do and He'll use, whatever He wants show you I LOVE YOU." God had spoken to me. through a bird. He was telling me that no matter where i go, or what i face, HE is always there, always waiting on me to turn to Him and to trust Him.

THAT, my friends, is how God talks to me. it may seem silly to some of you, but, i KNOW that i KNOW...and that's what is important to me.

Oh, and right after i posted the story of being in His will, satan came right in and started telling me that i shouldn't have put on that on my blog for who knows who to see...and i was a little bit worried about it...until i scrolled down my newsfeed and saw these two quotes that a friend had posted: (thank you, Lisa Sinclair)

* Where there is a will, there is a way. If there is a chance in a million that you can do something, anything, to keep what you want from ending, do it. Pry the door open or, if need be, wedge your foot in that door and keep it open * Pauline Kael

Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts * Rick Warren

it was for me. it was affirmation that i had done exactly what God told me to do. and i feel good about that!

I am in His will...God's will

Dear Lord, you spoke to me, and i heard. this past week has been difficult for me and i come to you now, asking for forgiveness...for allowing even a moment of doubt to creep inside of me and cause me to look away from you. i know that you only want the very best for me, and when things don't go the way i think they should, the flesh in me starts the questioning, which leads to an open door for satan to come in and start telling me lies. filling my head with things that are only meant to destroy me. and while some may think i am strong, i'm not. you know Lord, that i am weak and that i struggle every day of my life with low self esteem. for so many years i tried to do things my way. i allowed myself to think that my happiness depended on other people accepting me and loving me and i was so wrong. i have allowed other people to dictate who i am and what i should be. and i have made so many mistakes. years ago, when my boys and i were in that horrible accident, i wondered how you could possibly make anything good come out of that, but that was the very day that i knew how much you loved me. you saved our lives and i drew closer to you than i had ever been. i saw where the life i was living was taking me...and i didn't want to walk that path anymore. you became the rock i stand on and my faith over the years has continued to get stronger and stronger. still, i tried to do things my way, on the pretense of doing what you wanted me to do. and i failed. miserably. staying in a marriage for so many years that was wrong from the beginning. unequally yoked. and you allowed me a way out. and over the last couple of years i have sunk to a low that i never knew existed. i was in a very dark place and wondering why you would let me stay there. but Lord, you brought me through it, understanding that we must go through the fire to be refined. that you allow things to happen so that we will be drawn closer to you, putting all of our trust and faith in you. it's hard to see that sometimes, through the tears and the pain, but you always put me back on the right path and ask only that i follow you. Lord, i seek your will for my life. you have blessed me with so much more than i deserve. i have godly parents that love me despite my many flaws. i have children that will spend eternity with me in Heaven, and grandchildren to love. you have brought people into my life that encourage me and pray for me and with me, who i can confide in and laugh with. you have brought me to a church where i can hear your word preached and where i can find comfort when i feel lonely. and Lord, you brought someone so very special to me, back into my life, for reasons that i can't fully understand yet. i asked for you to open the doors, only if this was of you, and you did. and i know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was of you. i come to you now asking for wisdom. satan has crept in and seeks to destroy me once again. he is filling my head with lies, trying to turn me away from you, help me to be strong, to flee from him and to run to you. Lord, you know the desires of my heart, yet, you may desire more for me. if that's the case, help me to let it go, without anger or bitterness. fill me with your love, with laughter, with joy. with understanding. help me to love the person you are shaping me into. fill my head and my heart with thoughts that are pleasing to you. empty me of me. i love you, Lord, with my whole heart and i thank you for loving me enough to die for my sins. giving you all the glory for the work you are doing in me.

Ok, God is still talking...and i'm just going to go with it here.
when i was very young i accepted Christ into my heart. but, from the time i was a teenager i put God on the back burner of life, knowing He would always be there, but i chose to live my life the way I wanted to live it. i was pretty, i had the kind of body that boys liked and i loved the attention that it got me. i never had a shortage of boyfriends. my parents prayed me for every night, but there were many times, i'm sure, that they questioned God as to WHY i was always making such bad choices. i made A LOT of mistakes. when i went on to college, it was the same. there was no shortage of guys and i looked and felt better than i had in high school. i lived for ME. i didn't care what my parents thought of me, or anyone else for that matter. certainly i didn't care what God thought about me. He wasn't even on the burner then. it was then, i can look back and see now, that i began to put my happiness in the hands of others. i let men tell me who i was and who i should be. i let men take control of my life. they determined if i felt good about myself. and i made A LOT more mistakes. i got married, had two kids, seperated and lived life in the fast lane. i fell into a horribly abusive relationship and i began wondering why God was letting all these bad things happen to me. but God wasn't hearing me. He was still there, but He was waiting on me to let Him have the controls. and i jumped into another marriage, thinking that because this man was so unlike any other guy i had ever dated, that he was going to fill my life with all the things i had ever dreamed of. i didn't ask God if he was the one He had chosen for me. i just did what i thought was right at the time. he was going to protect me from the evil that had come into my life. he was going to give me back all the love i was going to give him. he was going to be my savior. and i found out right quick that i had just landed myself in an even worse kind of evil. i tried to fix things. we went to church, he (supposedly) got saved. we had a lot of friends and we had a new baby. things should have been ok. but God wasn't in our marriage. and it was doomed to fail. i stayed because i had made a commitment to God, for better or worse, and i was determined to make things work. i had been in the accident the year before we got married and i had rededicated my life to the Lord, but i still wasn't seeking HIS will. i was still trying to do what i thought would make me happy. when i think of all the years i wasted being so makes me so sad. with the divorce came the dark time, when i felt like i was drowning in hopelessness. i knew God loved me, but i had allowed the world to tell me all the bad things about myself, and those voices are so hard to turn off. i did more praying in that time of darkness than i ever have in my life. i asked God to bring me good christian friends that i could surround myself with. many of them He led me to on facebook. still others were in my church. God began working on me and i began to let loose of the controls and let Him have it all. He has brought such a change in my life from the girl i used to be. i would not wish that girl on anyone. He has strengthened my faith, He has taught me to listen for His voice. He has shown me how to ask Him for help when i just don't think i can make it another day on my own. there are still times that i find myself asking Why? but those times come less often now. a short time ago i made a commitment to let God have complete control of my life. whatever the costs. to use me and to shape me into the person He had always wanted me to be. and when things come into my life that i'm just not sure of, i am quick to turn to Him and ask this of YOU, Lord? is that what you want for me? Open doors. or slam them shut. give me a peace about it. and a few weeks ago He brought something into my life that i was totally unprepared for. He brought me the desire of my heart. not MY desire, but His. and i prayed, Lord how i prayed. and i felt total peace. it was right. and i allowed myself to feel things i had not felt before. i had never been as happy as i was then. others could see it. others felt good about it. others prayed and felt total peace. and then, one minute i was flying and the next i was taking a nosedive. it was like a force that came out of nowhere and things just started spiralling from there. and you can bet that the first person i went to for answers was God. but, i couldn't hear Him. not a sound. and i begged and pleaded for answers. and He was faithful. He spoke. and He hasn't quit speaking. and He showed me that at times we pray for His will to be done, but only if it fits our list of criteria for what WE think will make us happy. do we think for a minute that WE know better than the one who created us, what will make us happy? WE look toward the outside first, that's just the flesh in us. we judge people on whether or not they meet OUR expectations. and when they don't, we back away and say to ourselves that maybe we were wrong. maybe that wasn't Gods will. and we flounder around, asking ourselves what went so wrong. God will lead us to the well, but He won't make us drink the water. He gives us the ultimate freedom to choose which path we will take. and sometimes, we take the wrong one. sometimes we are so caught up in our "feelings" and what WE want and we don't see the whole picture. we don't stop ask God, is this of you? because it's so much easier to give in to the flesh. and that just may be what we end up with. flesh, with no substance. flesh, with no heart. flesh, without God. we've all been guilty of judging people based on their race or whether or not they look good, or if they weigh too much or if they're too short or too tall. but we are told in Gods word, not to judge by the outward appearance. but to look at and examine the heart. is God truly there in the everyday living? is God the center of your life? for some reason we find it so easy to believe what satan tells us we are. instead of believing we are what God says we are. i AM awesome. i AM beautiful. i AM smart. and i choose to believe that because God thought i was all these things and more. He sent His son to die for me! He called me to be one of His own! and sometimes, just know. am i in Gods will? yes, i am. do i BELIEVE God and not just believe IN God? i do. do i believe that He is going to fullfill his promise to give me the desires of my heart? absolutely. do i trust Him enough to have complete faith that He is going to bring me through this? more than enough. and i know, with certainty, that God has brought people into my life who are supposed to be there. if they choose to walk out, it doesn't mean that it wasn't Gods simply means that God brought them to the well and they made the choice not to drink. He will still love me and He will take me down another path. but, i am praying and asking my friends to pray...that He will open our hearts, examine them to see if we are being true to God or true to our own desires and helps us to be still and listen for His voice. thank you friends. <3<3<3