For the first time in my life, I intentionally sat down to listen for God's voice one day. I've been a Catholic my whole life and go to church every week not because I have that "Catholic guilt" if I don't go, but because I truly want to be there, to give thanks, to worship and feel that connection with God that I experience when I'm on His 'turf'. God has always been a big part of my life and has gotten me through some rough times, but until about a year ago, I had never sat and just listened to Him. I regret not doing it sooner.
Despite growing up a christian, never did I stop to think about listening for God to speak. Sure, I've always prayed, but that meant I was doing the talking and and mostly asking. So, when I attended a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) leadership seminar last January, I heard an amazing lady share some of her conversations with God. I sat there thinking, "Wow, this is incredile. I want to hear God's voice too!" The thing she said that had the most impact on me was with regards to her daughters. She said, "If something were to happen to me, it's important for me to know that my four young daughters are able to hear and follow God's voice. If they can do this, then I know that no matter what happens, they will be okay." This really stuck with me and I decided that's what I want for my children too.
So a few days after this, it was a Wednesday and I was sitting out on my deck while my children were napping and I thought I'd sit and listen and see if God was ready to speak to me (little did I know, it was more a question of am I ready to listen, than is he ready to speak!). First, I prayed that I would hear the words He wanted me to and that I would know that it was His voice and not just thoughts and words I was putting in my head! I sat there for a little bit and then from nowhere I heard "feed the hungry" and I have to tell you, I starting laughing! This wasn't quite what I had envisioned God had to say to me! I thought, "umm, I feed little mouths three meals and a couple snacks everyday!" But I figured I'd be patient and see what He meant and where it would lead. I was just so thrilled that I was pretty sure it was God speaking to me (if it had been me putting words in my head, I don't think I would've chosen the words I heard)! That Sunday in church, four days after hearing "feed the hungry", the priest was reading the announcements at the end of mass and he said, "The Sister Carmen Food Bank is in need of food, so be sure and grab a bag on your way out to fill and return!" I about fell over. I knew when he said this that God had truly spoke to me. You better believe I took a bag with me! I even took all three kiddos along to the grocery store (you moms know what a challenge that is) to get what was needed and deliver it to the Sister Carmen Food Bank. It was my joy to be able to help others, to follow God's direction and to also teach my children about helping others in need and being selfless.
I now take the time to listen to God regularly. I don't always sit in complete silence (very rarely do I get complete silence unless it's when I ready to fall into bed at night!) and wait for Him to speak. Instead, I pause to listen for his voice when I'm driving down the road or when I'm in the shower or even when my house feels like a three ring circus! But every time I pause to listen, He gives me the words I need to hear in that moment. It may not always be what I want to hear, but I know God knows it's what I need to hear. It may only be a word or two, but I know it's His voice and knowing He sees what I'm going through brings a sense of peace and comfort.
Sometimes I just sit and write down my thoughts, fears, joys, prayers, etc in a journal. One day I decided to let the words I was about to write, be the words of Jesus and just see what would result. First, I wrote my note to Jesus and then I paused for a moment and asked Him to share his thoughts with me. I wrote the letter to myself as if it was coming right from Jesus. I sat there writing and writing without a pause and sometimes smiling at the things I was writing, knowing it was not my words. After I was done, I went back through the 10 pages or so and I was truly moved by what I was reading. Some things brought me comfort, some things challenged me. Some things didn't seem real relevant for that moment. There were things He had told me to let go of that I had been holding on to. I was simply amazed. When I sat down a few weeks later, I reread what Jesus had written to me the first time and I couldn't believe how the things that didn't have much relevance the first time, were exactly what I need to hear the second time I sat to read them.
In my second letter, he mentioned a friendship of mine and how He brought her into my life to draw me closer to him and vice versa. I just smiled at this because I know she has already done that for me in many ways! This was another example of His perfect timing as I feel like our friendship began at just the perfect time for both of us. God knew we needed each other and it's awesome to see Him working on our behalf for our good. If you have never done this, try it. It feels a little awkward at first, writing a letter to yourself from Jesus, but when you ask him to give you the words to write you'll be amazed at what He has to tell you!
If you were like I was and haven't sat and just listened for God to speak to you, I encourage you to start today. Even if you have only five minutes, it's worth it! We have to be open and ready for it because He won't force himself on us. He's ready when you are!
God Bless :)