Last week at this time I was planning a presentation to a mom’s group in a warm-hearted town in Indiana, a “fur piece” (as we died-in-the-seersucker Southerners are known to say) from my home in central Florida.
I had tweaked and edited and honed my message from my new book Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms to perfection – so I thought – making each carefully considered succinct word count toward making my most excellent point.
Right. Famous last words.
So the morning of the presentation a few days later, as I stood before the room full of moms in various stages of stress and exhaustion (some were comforting squalling infants in arms, while others had deposited their little bundles of endless energy in the nursery), I heard it. Yep. I surely did.
It’s so hard to hear sometimes. Especially in the chaotic throes of everyday life. Or when we’re trying to meticulously follow the speech written out before us so we don’t exceed our allotted time limit.
It? I’m talking about the still small voice of God. Actually, the Holy Spirit, the member of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) whose job is to advise, guide, and instruct us. He doesn’t shout at us in claps of thunder or windstorms or earthquakes or blazing flames. Oh, how I wish He would.
No, He whispers with a still small voice(1 Kings 19: 11-13).
Let me tell you, sister, He has a tough job guiding many of us, because before you can follow his guidance, you have to hear it. You have to intentionally listen for it and learn to discern His gentle voice above the cacophony of circumstantial worldly noise trying to drown Him out.
And the way you learn to discern is by practice.
So I’ll admit, sometimes I succumb to the self-imposed urgency of my little world and I miss it. I miss the message. I miss the steerage that I signed up for when I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. And I truly want – more than anything – to hear that still small voice when He speaks to me.
On that morning, I heard it. A clear directive speaking to my heart: “Tell the miracle baby story. Someone here has given up and needs hope.”
I fought the Voice for a long moment. My personal annoying need to finish what I’d started was wicked strong. I even started in on the next paragraph of my speech. But I had to stop mid-sentence. Because I knew what I knew from experience to be my heavenly Father’s voice, and after all, I asked Him every single day to lead and guide me. Here He was doing just that.
The BIG question was, and always is with us stubborn stick-to-my-own-agenda Christ-followers: would I obey?
Glancing distraughtly at my watch, and knowing if I injected the story now, I’d have to cut out the last page of my perfect speech (and thereby ruining it, in my humble but accurate opinion). Dang it. I’d worked hard on that speech. I just stood there in awkward silence at the podium, trying to decide.
As the ladies stared up at me with confusion on their faces, a baby cried. One single wail before her mama held her close and comforted her. It was then I knew with certainty what I would do.
You know, it’s always a choice.
“I’m sorry,” I said in no small befuddlement myself. “I’m going to interrupt myself now and tell you a story. It’s a story of Papa God working a miracle in the life of my family when we had lost hope. I think someone here needs to hear it.”
So I told them. I told those sweet earnest young mothers the amazing story of Papa God’s redemption of a horrible situation, His restoration of my broken heart by a series of unlikely miracles, and His provision of life and hope where there had been none. By the time I finished, I’d gone way overtime. I didn’t get to finish my speech. But I felt okay about it.
After the gathering broke up, I was approached in the back of the room by a lovely 30-something young woman with a pinched white face and big fat tears clotting her eyes. “It was me who needed to hear that story,” she said quietly, clutching my arm. “It’s true. I have lost hope and I’m not sure I even believe God’s promises any more. I almost didn’t come today. But I did. And maybe He does care, since He saw into my heart and sent me a special message through you. I want to believe again. I really do. Please pray for me.”
You bet I did. And I still am.
So Papa God stole my show. And I couldn’t be happier. Maybe I should just toss my next speech before I even start.
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