The Voice of God
In my last post, I asked God to SPEAK. Life has been very difficult lately, and I don’t think I really expected an answer, but in true Lordly fashion, God did provide one.
Before six months ago, I had never heard the voice of God. I would listen to people with semi-annoyance, semi-jealousy wondering if they were not a bit delusional as they told tales with God speaking to them as the climax. My own mother has a climactic statement that has caused my brother and me to snicker under our breaths and sometimes behind her back: “…and that’s when I knew that the Lord smiled on me.” I think both my brother and I realize now, after life’s twists and turns have maneuvered in our own lives, that as one grows in maturity and willingly accepts a life walking with God, sometimes you do just know when the Lord is smiling. Things are happening in our lives that force us to choose to walk more uprightly and purposefully. And it’s not always the easiest of choices. It’s hard to walk with God all the time, especially when “most of the time” and “more often than not” feel like epic battles. So when I tell you that I have heard the voice of God, it’s true. I would not make something like that up because I know how funny and weird others have sounded to me.
God first spoke to me in September or October of last year. I had accepted a leadership role at work reluctantly and as a favor to a friend. Don’t get me wrong, my work proved that I deserved it, but I would not have taken it had it not been for the insistence of one I truly love and respect. In this role, though, the bubble of oblivion burst, and I became aware of some negative practices that, quite frankly, appalled me. Believing, though, that these practices were not intentional, I started to try to address them, giving my peers the opportunity to redress wrongs and improve for the benefit of all stakeholders. Some did; some did not. Then the backlash, gossip, and intentionally rude comments started. My role and goals were being misconstrued, and instead of others trying to gain clarity from me, they talked about me. And it hurt. To make matters worse, I had a lot more responsibilities after work with meetings, planning sessions, and decision-making that cut into my already limited personal time, so I began to question quitting; I could always go back to the comfort of my old position and have none of the pressures and stresses I now experienced.
After a particularly daunting day, I lay on the bed planning when and how I would step down when a voice said, “Leaders don’t quit.” I sat straight up in the bed, knowing that my husband was not home and that my children were already asleep, and looked around for the source. I knew it was God, but I wished it were someone playing a cruel, insightful trick so that my plans could commence. I wanted to quit so badly, but I knew that purposefully disobeying God, rather the charge was direct or not, would not end well, so I closed my eyes and decided to forge ahead.
Believe me when I say that things have not gotten any easier. I am tired, frustrated, disregarded, and on the brink of insanity most days, but I do have renewed sense of purpose even as I write this. God has manifested himself again in a voice as I took a shower a few months ago and in three dreams in the last two weeks. I believe that God gives us what we need most when we need it most.
Last night, I dreamed that I was in heaven on my way to God’s house. There were others with me, but for all the familiarity I felt with them, I knew them not. All I knew and needed to know was that we were Christians, and God had smiled on us. We walked toward the house; it went as far to the left and right as I could see, and I could not perceive how far back it went. There was a celestial choir singing one of my favorite songs, “I Shall Wear a Crown,” and as I stepped closer and closer, I began to weep. I was not crying like I do when I sometimes wonder what life for my children would be like if I were to die before they could care for themselves. This was a joyous cry. As I got closer, I could see God standing at the top of the house. I’m not sure if it was the roof or the balcony He was standing on, and I could not make out his face, but I could see that He had outstretched arms welcoming us, and this image so overwhelmed my soul that I began to shout and cry so uncontrollably with each step. I knew I was going to enter into His gates, and I was so thankful and happy to have made it. The choir sang, “I’m going to put on my robe/ tell the story/ how I made it over.” I never opened or even reached the gate, for I’m still alive able to type this, but I know I would have. My journey’s just not over yet.
As I write this now, I’m so overcome with emotion, which many of you know is not like me. Tears are welling in my eyes, but I just had to tell you that if you are going through like I have been going through, God is waiting, and you’ll be able to tell your story. It’s not in vain. When you stay the course, even in the midst of adversity, even while knowing that quitting will make life so much easier, even when everything around you is trying to knock you down, God is smiling. Keep the faith. Be steadfast. You will wear your crown when it’s all over.