Are you truly Hearing the voice of God?
Have you ever Googled, "How do you know if you are hearing the voice of God?" I have. Have you ever been so weary, so exhausted in your thoughts and prayers that you wonder, truly wonder, is he hearing you or if you are praying right? So you think well, everything else is on Google, why don't I ask someone smarter than me? I guess I could be embarrassed that I have. But when you have been in those rough patches, and you have prayed and poured your heart out, in that quiet place, You just know that God is gonna speak so loudly that it will solve this issue. Like manna from heaven, Gods gonna say, oh look she is so spiritual today, let's go ahead and let her have her answer!
Have you ever been at this place? Back years ago I would study my bible, read a devotion, pray and close my bible for the day. I would talk to friends and they would say things like, " Today I just really felt God leading me to do this or to do that. Or, I just felt this on my heart so strongly!" I would walk away feeling like, "What's wrong with me? Why don't I feel like this? How come I don't hear him say these things?" Or even more like, Could I please just get an email address? That way there is no confusion down here!
I came across a dear friend, her name is Jessica. She is a superhero to me. Her spiritual walk is like no other. She is a strong mama and prayer warrior like no one I have ever met. She loves to homestead, raise her kids, and praise Jesus just like I do. But there was something different in the words she would use about her realtionship with our Lord and Savior that was different... And I desired that different. So one day, as we were talking about it, she says, "Hayley do you journal?" Not bible journaling with pictures. Cause I absolutely love doing that. But this is real-time, in your quiet spot, on your knees journaling? I said no, I have never thought to do that. She said, Just Try It! Write out your prayers, your feelings, your worries, and your fears! Everything you can think of, Give it all to him. So I Did. And boy! It is awkward and weird at first. I felt like a 13-year-old writing a dear diary page. As I would write, I would praise him first and foremost, and then tell him everything. From how I loved seeing the sun peak over the trees in a house that had no walls from the kitchen to the bathroom, to how I was terrified that with homeschooling my kids, that my son would never learn to read or spell correctly.
He. Is. In It! He wants to hear. He wants to know that you trust him with all these things. By telling him, it confirms that you care that he is above and below it. Isn't that what we Want? We want something or someone more powerful than what we are, to take all these things? Gosh, I sure do!
She also Instructed me that once I talked to him to just sit in the silence. Wait to see if he speaks. Write what I hear. Be it scripture, thoughts, whatever you hear. So I did. And it was Amazing the growth and the closeness I started to come to have with Him. I can't even describe how it feels to go back and read something that I wrote years ago. Things I prayed over, worried over and now those thoughts are just a vapor. And how He was right there. Now, there will be times that I hear my own voice. Or write something I hear and its just desires of my heart. This has been hard for me. One of the hardest parts to decipher. But, just as that has been hard for me, this is nothing for my Lord and Savior. So he sends another friend along.
Her name is Sally. She is the most loving, welcoming, hardworking mama I have ever met. She has a laugh that is contagious and loves her family with a ferocious kind of love. Agape Love. She and I share this way and how we love our kids. She has bio kids, adopted kids, and ME as a kid! And she loves us all. She wisely advises me, when in question, "Is it biblical, Hayley?" Ok, if it is then it's in his will. Always, always, always, check God's word for what you hear! If it's there, its something he could be whispering. If it's not, then its the flesh. Somethings are that easy to see. But, if we look, a lot of things are. If they aren't, then we pray for Wisdom. James 1:5
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."
So with all that said, I have been journaling for quite a few years now and went through right many notebooks. I have had many, many answered prayers, and a couple that I still don't know the answer to. One thing is for sure is that when he speaks you will know it. There is a peace that is unlike anything I have ever felt.
I came in from a run the other day and just as still and peaceful as a newborn baby sleeping, I heard out of nowhere, "you need to let this go"... Um... Lord, say that one more time. I had been praying for over 2 years about this and just that easy, I heard it. Now, I will say, I busted into a million tears. I got in the shower and had the ugliest girl cry you have ever seen. But the peace... All this time I would read about it, hear other people find it, get on my knees, and beg for it.
Like Paul who wrote,
"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me--NIV
I was starting to fully 100 percent understand what this meant. I have prayed, wrote, and poured myself out to God over this thing. I would say 100 times, I'm over it, no really, I have completely given this to him. Next day... Pick it right back up.
Until this Day! This particular Sunday morning, I hear it. Just as soft and as still as a morning sunrise. It's like he spoke with the gentleness of a loving and soft-spoken Father, "This will be ok," sound. But, you need to hear this, he said. And instead of being upset, like wanting to lay on the floor and roll around like a toddler, I embraced his love. I understood what he was trying to tell me. There is one thing that I do know for sure. God uses pain. He never lets it be wasted. If you have a pain, a prayer, a worry. I can promise he will use it if you allow him. He will show up. And when he does, in his timing He will show up Big! I've seen it... I have watched it through a young woman who was ravaged by drug addiction, come into my home as a small broken child. And I watched our lovingly and powerful Father turn her into a daughter of King!
Now once all this happens, you don't want to pick it back up. This is a true hearing. No: Please, but no Lord? Well are you sure, can't we try this or that?? Nope, this is a "you know he has spoken" It is also weird that you can also actually do what the Bible calls, us to do in James 1:2-4
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Even when the answer is not what you thought it would be, you can still Praise. This has been a true revealing to me. He has answered so many prayers in my life, blessed me beyond measure, but this...
This Agape love that he shows us through sweet, quiet, communion with him. If you don't have it, I urge you... Just try it!
Photo Credits to Kylah Knowles and Editing by me.
Sites used: NIV Bible Study App
So, I'm really getting into this whole bible journaling thing. I'm no where near what you see on pinterest or even close to any of those websites out there that promote it. But I share it because it really does help me to put these scriptures to memory. I have a really hard time putting things to memory because I am raising and teaching 4 children, and I promise, promise that with each child, each subject that I teach them I honestly do believe for them to get smarter I have to loose a little bit of knowledge. I think that's where bad minds come from... I think by the time you hit around 60 or higher if you have children then your brain is possibly half the size it once was because they have robbed you of your own to make theirs bigger... it just has to be! I have to tell myself this because what other reason would it be for my craziness... So anyway, since I don't have as much space in there to retain the scripture to memory when I put a picture in there and I say it over and over again as I sketch some how I can remember it once I'm finished!
So anyway, I have put pictures of some of my previous journal entries on here, but I'm gonna just display them on this particular entry to show some of them and different ways you can do it. Some are not the greatest looking, but at the time when I was reading and found something that really struck my heart as I was studying, the picture may have come to mind and then I just started sketching it out... Well sometimes something looks so beautiful in your mind but it never looks the same on paper cause I'm not one of those fancy, nancy awesome art sketchers. So here are couple that I've done, I hope that with seeing just how simple you can make them that it will encourage you to make a go at it if you are considering journaling.
This is my newest one. Job 14:1-2
When I come onto my blog sometimes I just sit here holding my hands on the keys wandering how to start. I ponder and think, I don't want to start another one with "Well, this happened" or "So this was next," you get my drift. But sometimes I think where do I begin? Where do I start?
But then there are those other times when I'm just doing something simple like standing in the shower and it comes to me and I can't wait to rush to get done with my nightly chores so I can get something down.
I love bible journaling it has been such a enjoyment for me to use art or pictures to help me retain scripture. Its really really hard for me to remember verses and where they are located in the bible and the artwork helps me to retain it, I have talked about that in a previous post. There are ones that touch my heart so deeply or mean a lot and I want them to be added to my "armor" of scripture that I'm learning so I will have them in my heart when the enemy attacks.
Today, I'm writing about Isaiah 1:18, though our sins make us scarlet, you makes us white as snow!
This is an amazing thing for me. To know that no matter how far I have strayed or things I've done, God sent Jesus his only son to pay the ultimate sacrifice for me.... crabby, frustrated, complaining about this and that, me!
I've learned at the ripe ol age of 38 that time waits for no one. Things, people, come and go. Seasons of life change and you must change with it. You don't have a choice. People especially don't stay the same, friends, family all the above, we can't help it. We have situations and circumstances in our lives that make us change.
Two of the biggest lessons I have learned!! That I will take with me always.
Did you know that its easier to be mad at someone than to forgive them?
Did you also know that its easier to be mean to someone than treat them with kindness when they have hurt or wronged you?
These two things I have experience from both sides. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of both of these 2 lessons. But fact is, its really hard to love a mean person, and its hard to forgive when you don't feel like you are in the wrong.
I was listening to a pastor once that said we as a human tend to tell other people when we are comforting them that, "Hey you have the right to feel this way!" Or you have the right to feel angry! Because as humans we want to decide what is right and what is wrong in a situation.
Something I have also learned is that it is possible for 2 people to see a "right" in the way they are thinking about something and for them to disagree on a subject. All in all is that, "Is there anyone on this Earth, that you can think of, that had more of a reason to Exert his right, than Jesus?" Did he sin? NO Did he do anything wrong to deserve what he got? NO
He out of anyone, that had the right, to Exert his RIGHTS! But he Didn't, did he? He went to the cross for us all. I have had to tell myself this over, over, and over again. When I get angry with anything, the kids, my husband, or my family, I have to say, I don't have the right to stay angry, mad or frustrated because we are all sinners trying to do our best.
So I say all this to say, forgive often, love often, don't hold grudges, try your best to live as peaceful and humbly as you can. This is very hard, cause the Enemy wants us squirming and stranded. But I can promise you, holding on to anger, bitterness, malice, its way heavier than humbly handing it over to God and saying this is to big for me. Please take this God, because I can't carry this heavy load of frustration anymore. Thank you God for not exerting your right and carrying all our sins to the cross, so we could fly away like a bird and be washed white as snow!