Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hearing God's Voice

Last year I went through a study called, Discerning the Voice of God and in August 09 I was given a book entitled God Guides. There have also been other verses and conversations that I have encountered that have influenced me as I have tried to listen more to God.

Since January I have been praying about opening a retail store. I know that sounds like something I have never done before, but after working at Abilene Educational Supply the past few months, the thought came to me. They have been open for 66 years and ACU has decided to close the store since there is a need for space for a new nursing program at ACU. Every person that comes into the store is sad they are closing and there is a real need for an educational supply store.

I prayed, I went to the small business bureau, I asked others for their opinion, and asked them to pray. I came up with a name, I found a location, and got the rent down to the budget I needed to operate with. It took a lot of think time. All the while I was praying and taking steps as I waited for God to answer.

As I listened and prayed about something completely different than considering opening a store, I heard God answer me this past weekend. We were at the hospital visiting Daniel's dad and I was answering three emails while Daniel and his dad visited. As I answered the emails I realized I desired more time to think about what I should be praying for in their lives1 and then actually praying for them. As I look back at all three emails, I asked them each to pray for me this week. Another thing that impacted my thinking was the simple act of looking at a recipe suggestion in my inbox that looked good. I began to think about how my time as I have worked since beginning work in December has been full and there has been very little time for extra things like fully connecting with others, having them in our home and trying a new recipe!! Now don't get me wrong, community is very important to us and we have had people in our home and have enjoyed a game night or two, since December. Time was a big part of what I was thinking about. As I finished the emails, I looked up at Daniel and said, "I'm not going to do the store."

I realized that God had allowed me to do a lot of thinking and dreaming about all of the people I have met at the store and all of the conversation that I have enjoyed since working at AES. I love to connect resources to people - the 12 yr. old girl who is looking for just the right Bible study, the missionary that is moving to Abilene and needs a rent house, the single mom who is trying to explain sexuality to her 2nd grade little boy. I meet a zillion people a day and it is so much fun. But then you have to come to reality, there is much more to running your own store than meeting people and finding resources. God has much more for me to do than all of the details of running a store and He will provide these situations and opportunities without having a store to operate. I don't know what it will look like specifically, but I know it will involve people and me learning to love.

If you wonder if God still speaks, I say YES!! It takes time and it takes being still and listening, it takes expecting to hear from him. He desires to walk close to us and guide us as we make decisions. He wants the glory and I know that I must leave time to think, pray, and listen if I am going to walk on the path He has for me.

As that Saturday ended, I looked back in my prayer journal to April 2, 2009 -- this is what I found, "thank you for all the time you given me to journey, to walk with you and others, to study and not have to give my time to a full time job. I feel I have so much on my heart and my thoughts, it would be hard to set it aside each day."

Thank you God for bringing that back to me two years later!! Peace to you my friends!!

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