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How To Know We’re Hearing From God: Part 2

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How To Know We’re Hearing From God: Part 2

This is the second of a four part series on How To Know We’re Hearing From God.

God wants us to know that we know that we know when He or She is speaking to us.  We’re the ones that think we can’t hear – that is, until it happens to us.  God’s messages to us are always very personal, and God will confirm it making us aware of things that we didn’t and couldn’t already know.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB)

From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.  Isaiah 48:6 (NIV)

I have written poetry all my life as a kind of therapy, never meant for anyone else to read.  Many poems are prayers, some talking to God and others are conversations. I dreamed of being a full-time author with my books for sale at Barnes & Noble, but knew that could never happen.  First of all, I wouldn’t let anyone read my work – it was too personal.  Also, I couldn’t imagine a publisher accepting a book of poetry from an unknown author.  Yet, God knew my heart’s desire, because He had placed it there.

My husband, Bud, and I have a good friend named Connie.  Shortly after Thanksgiving, 2010, Bud encouraged me to share some of my writing with her.  I felt nervous and shy, but agreed to do it.  We went to see her, and I took three or four poems. I wanted to see her reaction. 

She was sitting across from me, and when I finished reading a particularly raw, painful poem, Connie fell out of her chair on her knees, laid her head in my lap, and sobbed.  Bud and I were shocked.  Finally she looked up and said, “I’m in charge of the logistics for a conference two weeks from now.  The attendees are non-traditional Christians, many of whom have been marginalized by the Church.  I want you to read several of your poems, starting with this one.”  I froze in terror, screaming “NO!” without words.  But another voice in me whispered, “Do it.  This is a group of Christian misfits.  If anyone will accept my work, it might be this bunch.”

When the time came, Bud said he was sure I was going to back out, but I went to the podium, holding my radical writing in trembling hands.  “Let’s get this over with,” I thought.  I knew they would be horrified, politely applaud, then crucify me later.  Instead, I received a standing ovation.  Many in the crowd had tears streaming down their faces, and hugged me afterwards.

That was shock number one.

Then something happened that changed my life forever.  A stranger walked up to me and asked, “Are you published?”  No.  “How many of these do you have?” About 500.  “Where are they?”  In a drawer.  Without hesitation, he said, “I’m a publisher, and I’m going to publish your work.  It’s redemptive, and people need to know it’s OK to be that honest with God.”  Seven months later, my book was for sale at Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com –   Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling With God.

The impossible happened, and God arranged it all, beginning with giving me the courage to read some of my poetry to Connie.

As I began working on the manuscript with my editor, my dream of being a full-time author resurfaced.  I’ve had a variety of jobs over the last forty years, but never a career.  Nothing fit. Our daughter is a surgery nurse, one son is an electrician, while our youngest son is a Marine.  And I’ve been…an author doing other jobs for a living.

Last spring I contracted a debilitating form of colitis.  After three months on short-term disability, I was still too sick to come back to work.  The prognosis was my disease might prevent me from working anywhere for an indeterminate period of time, perhaps years.  Only one option was left:  quit my job and work at home as a you-know-what.  God fulfilled my heart’s desire.

Now, why did it take forty years?  God hasn’t told me that.  I figure it was finally time.  Was it because I became willing to listen?  Yes, in a seemingly small way that resulted in monumental consequences.  My husband nudged me to read my poems to one person who nudged me to share my writing with a group.  God did the nudging through other people, but I had to act on the advice, step out of my comfort zone, and follow God, even though I had no clue what would happen.

God confirmed what I didn’t and couldn’t know until it happened, and I got the message loud and clear.  My heart spoke, then God answered, and we are walking together in this adventure of a lifetime.

How will you hear from God?  I don’t know, but I promise you will when it’s time.  Look for it.

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About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.

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