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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hearing God's voice and Discovering a Portal into another World

Hearing God’s voice is hard for me. I’m sure I hear it all the time, but the voice in my head conflicts and confuses me. Most of the time, I look back later and know I’ve heard Him—or realize I didn’t—but in the moment it’s a crap shoot as to whether or not it’s actually Him telling me to do this or that.

Yesterday, I lucked out.

I was freezing on my deck, wearing my husband’s heavy leather coat, my legs wrapped in a throw blanket from the couch that I inherited from my football fanatic youngest son, Will. He started his obsession loving the Steelers, so for Christmas a few years ago I bought him a soft, cuddly Pittsburg Steelers blanket. Then Rusty told him that Kurt Warner loved Jesus and he decided to switch allegiance and threw his support and prayers to the Arizona Cardinals. And he’s been a diehard fan ever since—despite Kurt’s retirement, unfortunate stint on Dancing With the Stars, and the Cardinals’ less-than-stellar recent performances. He’s hooked and there’s no talking him out of it.

Anyway, football notwithstanding, I don’t have any luck hearing God unless I’m sitting on my deck. Whether I’m freezing or sweating. So I got the idea yesterday to send a private message to my friend Laura, who is offering her help with an upcoming writing workshop I’m giving. It’s been a week or so since we connected and I felt guilty for not keeping up. But that’s something I do. My friends have to really love me to hang in there with me. But I’m trying to do better, so I casually messaged her, figuring it was my own head telling me to do it and that was good enough for me. Because I love Laura and missed her.

I got a quick message back that said, “Hey, I was just thinking about you. Do you want to grab lunch today or Friday and catch up?”

Friday was out for me, but I thought about how much I missed her and decided to go against my normal aversion to making split-second plans and invited myself to pick up pizza and come to her house instead of going to a restaurant. Her youngest, Ada, has become a little friend and I wanted to see her and the rest of Laura’s bunch. She went with the idea, so three hours later, I found myself about to turn onto their street, waving at her two youngest who were on the porch waiting for me.

And I felt loved and wanted.

Here’s the thing about Laura and her family. They have ten kids. Their two oldest boys are through college and married with babies. Another son is in college and Laura home schools the rest. She’s the most laid back, cool woman I know. Her house is clean and comfortable, but not perfect, the way my mother-in-law’s house was always perfect. Her dogs smell like dogs—not in a bad way—and her kids are independent and funny. Laura lets them be kids. Each their own person. And for some reason I haven’t been able to figure out, they like me.

I admire Laura. And admiration comes hard for me. Probably due to my cynical nature. But Laura lives and breathes God. She can’t have a conversation that doesn’t include Him and I like that about her. Spending time with Laura makes me want to know God better and I always feel like I do know Him better when I leave her house.

After we grabbed our pizza and one of the kids said the blessing, Laura and I sat in her living room and she started talking about a friend of hers who died recently. She spoke about the woman’s life and service and how her love language was to come into Laura’s house and start cleaning.

As Laura revealed this woman to me, a peace settled like thousands of soft leaves falling over me and I felt God in the room with the kids and Laura and Clark, the dog and Onyx, the puppy.

I wanted to hear that cancer left her body. That she had been healed and that maybe if she wanted to be my friend she might use her love language to organize my house. But that didn’t happen.

But something even more satisfying happened in the story. As this amazing woman of God lay dying, she saw Jesus.

Laura asked her once, why do you think this is happening to you? The woman said, “someone has to take this journey or how will anyone know what the journey is like?”

I have been thinking a lot about that since yesterday. I don’t know if she had cancer so she could share her journey or not. But I know God uses our experiences if we let Him. And I thought about how Laura’s two youngest, Honor and Ada, pretended the back door was a portal into another world--and I wanted to play like it truly was a portal too. And Ada wrote me a song, and Honor sat on the arm of my chair and told me rhyming words and the sounds letters make. And I fell a little in love with Honor yesterday.

Eleven-year-old Trinity sang me a song she wrote and her voice was beautiful and she played her own accompaniment on the piano. And I thought about Maranatha, the Ashley’s Flower Child who marches to the beat of her own drum and has the cutest dimples ever, but also eyes that hold a lot of wisdom and also questions. And True, (whose real name is Timothy although Laura wanted to name him True McKay, but her husband Roy felt it was too close to The Real McCoy). True is the cool one in the family. I know this because he told me. And I believe him, because he seems very cool to me. The oldest son left at home is Jordy and he is about to graduate, works at Walmart and is just trying to figure out his next step. And Ty—who is the only one with a regular name—I’m still figuring him out, but I think he’s very smart, maybe the smartest.

When it was time to go, Ada wanted me to spend the night, and then everyone prayed for me. All the kids took turns and Laura. And Trinity prayed I wouldn’t be too stressed and I wondered how and eleven year old even knew to pray that. I could only figure out that Trinity hears God’s voice and He led her.

And True said, “I don’t know what to pray God, but thank you that Tracey brought pizza.” And when he prayed that, I knew for sure he was cool.

And little by little my heart healed from the hard weeks of sharing this journey I’m traveling. Into truth and consistency and authenticity.

As I was leaving, Laura’s husband called and he told me “hi” through Laura and I left so she could talk and as I drove away, I realized I had heard God’s voice while I was freezing on my deck. But I also realized I could have done what I’ve done too many times to count—ignored the voice, missed the opportunity to spend a couple of hours feeling God’s presence, talking to Laura and listening to her kids.

I thought about my journey again and how God is using me in a way I never dreamed He would. Through words of truth. And Trinity’s prayer came true as the stress fell away. Because if I’d never stepped into this journey, how could I reveal the truth and share my heart and maybe, give someone a glimpse into trust, truth, and change, as it is occurring in me?

I wish I knew His voice better. I wish my head didn’t get in the way so much. I suppose I’ll be spending a lot of time on the deck, trying to hear His voice and hoping I get it right.

Where He leads me I will follow. Where He leads me I will follow. Where He leads me I will follow. I’ll go with Him, with Him. All the way.


Melissa Tagg said...

This is awesome, Tracey. I think there are so many times God's talking, but I'm not exactly listening and then I miss out on experiences like what you had. But I love that He never quits on us...that's just beyond-awesome to me.

Also, so, I'm a slight Gilmore Girls fanatic and so I couldn't help putting the last lines of your post to that theme song instead of the actual tune. If you've never watched it or don't know the theme song, that probably means nothing to you. :) But it made me giggle...

J M Gallagher said...

Thanks for sharing this. I thought I was the only one who felt that way about hearing the voice of God. =)

Laura sounds like a friend I would love to know (she reminds me of my mom).

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