So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by, and a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, [there was] an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, [there was] a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, [there was] the sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle (cloak) and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 9:11-13 AMP
Several years ago a friend said to me, “Carolyn, you always have a story. Maybe you need a switch so we can shut you off!”
It’s true, my life, the who, what, where, when, why and how of me is a story. So is yours. So are all the people who’ve ever lived.
I’m a reader and, along with the stories of people in the Bible who heard God speak to them, I read biographies and memoirs of people who down through the centuries have heard God speak to them. What I have noticed is the different ways that people have heard from the Lord, which encourages me when I hear from Him through a story or an unexpected person.
Forty years ago when my children were in what would now be called middle school, I was struggling with being a mother. I wasn’t a bad mother, but I thought I needed to be better in some areas. So, in the women’s Bible study, I routinely asked the women to pray that I would become a better mother. One of the women invited herself to my house for lunch, and in the process of our conversation, told me that the reason I wasn’t a good mother was that my mother had died when I was 11, so I hadn’t had anyone to model after.
I was crushed and resolved to become such a good mother that I wouldn’t be blamed for what I couldn’t help. I became an angry, critical, and rigid person, who for almost a year, made my husband concerned and my children fearful. Some of my closest friends tried to help, but I wasn’t ready to listen.
One day my son and I had a set-to about something he had broken that I had told him not to touch. He and I were both crying. My thirteen year old daughter said firmly, “Mom, you’ve got to listen to me. We want to become what you want us to become, but it will come from the inside of us or not at all. You get certain expressions on your face and tones in your voice so we shut you out!” And I thought, “God, it’s not fair. Now in addition to being a good student, she’s wiser than me!” But I heard, and I broke.
I went for counseling and cried the whole time I was telling my back story. The counselor listened and then said to me, “What I’m hearing is that all your life you have had to perform more than adequately in order to get any love. You need to remember that God loves you – no “performance” required. Although I had said that to other people, I heard it for myself this time.
Through my daughter and my counselor, I heard God speak to me. I still hear him in His quiet voice reminding me of His presence and his love.
How about you? Has God’s gentle voice spoken His love into your life through unforeseen people? I’ll be praying for you to listen for His voice speaking His love to you through someone this week.