Hearing God’s Voice Part 2
What has God asked me to do and how did he do that? In the last post I wrote about how this is an important question to ask yourself when you feel like you’re lacking the courage to stay the course God has set for you or perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed and wanting to run away.
In this post, I want to write down some things that God has asked of me and just how he did that. Often that involves writing things that sounds a bit audacious – but do it anyway – you might not understand it but sometimes these things aren’t for now or maybe God’s calling you to things you never thought you were capable of. Hopefully it involves writing down your fears and maybe even moments where you don’t trust God – be honest – it’s helpful for you and everyone else.
A few years ago, we were on home assignment in Australia and I had the pleasure of hanging out with Heather, our General Director who was visiting WA to attend Fresh Conference. We chatted a fair bit as I picked her up each day and we drove together to the meetings. One day, she asked me what I thought I might be doing and where I might be working in the future. I replied, “Maybe I’ll be doing your job.” I think I surprised even myself with that answer. While I know God has gifted me with certain skills for that kind of thing, it’s not really something I aspire to. We talked a bit about it and I said just that, “I don’t want your job, it looks ridiculously difficult. But if I’m honest, I think that’s the kind of direction I think God wants me to go in.” *
*This is the part where you write down stupidly audacious things and cringe at the thought of others reading them and thinking you’re out of your mind. Of course not everyone has to publish them… but for some reason I feel like this story, I do.
At Fresh Conference, I met Karen. I actually sat down next to her Mum on the Saturday morning. During one of the breaks, she asked me how I was enjoying it. I told her that I’d just recently returned from three years in Mozambique and if I was perfectly honest – it was all a bit overwhelming. She very kindly told me that she knew just how I felt and I could see in her eyes that it was true. Over the next months, Karen and I met and started talking about the possibility of her and Mark coming to visit us in Mozambique and leading our team’s spiritual retreat. It was lovely getting to know her a bit better.
At this same time, I’d started studying two units at Vose Seminary – one a Tuesday afternoon where I reconnected with Robyn, a lovely lady who I’d met when she came to visit our team in Mozambique a few years earlier. We sat down next to each other in class and I clearly felt God telling me to ask her if she would be my mentor. I had had the most incredible mentor during our first term but circumstances had changed and I was on the look out for someone new. Robyn agreed… I think it might have been the main reason I took that class!
The following week, my husband had arranged to have lunch with some other missionaries we’re recently met and an Agriculture professor that they both knew. I didn’t know it at the time or realise the connection but the professor’s wife also came and along and it turned out she was my mentor’s mentor! We all had a lovely time together.
At my next meeting with Robyn, I told her how I had had lunch with her mentor. It reminded her that she had a book that she thought I should read, that her mentor had loaned to her. I took home “Gifted to Lead” by Nancy Beach fully intending to read it before we left again for Africa but I never did get around to more than skimming the first part until it was too late. Not wanting to steal my mentor’s mentor’s book – I gave that copy back and took my sister’s instead. It travelled all the way across the ocean and then sat in my bedside table, unread for 8 months.
In January this year, when we finally took a proper holiday and my mind had time to get back to all of the thoughts that had been pushed to the side with the craziness of 2016, I took the book out again. I loved it! I read it all in one sitting and then went back and read parts again. The stand out for me was Chapter 6 on “Finding your Voice” and in particular #4 – Talking Back. Nancy was telling me, “A woman leader must develop her talking back from an inner core of strongly held values and beliefs, and a willingness to face her fears and even harness her anger in order to communicate with clarity, logic, and passion.” These words spoke into my exact situation at the time – I love it when that happens!
It was only a few days after that, that Karen and Mark arrived in Mozambique. Our plans had all come together and they were there to visit our village for a few days before heading to our team retreat together in Malawi. On one of the afternoons, we got together with Bek and Scott and had a time of prayer together. As we stood together to pray in a circle, Karen explained that she felt God telling her to pray over each one of us a specific part of the Armour of God. I knew before she’d even finished the sentence that she was going to say the belt of truth and sure enough, she did.
It was one of those goose bump moments where so many things aligned – our General Director Heather, Fresh Conference, Karen, Vose Seminary, Robyn and her mentor, Nancy Beach’s book, Karen’s visit and a special time of prayer overlooking a gorgeous Mozambican sunset.
So what does it all mean? To be honest, I’m not really sure yet – I guess we’ll wait and see. I do know God is calling me to speak up and maybe one day that will mean doing so in a leadership context. I know he spoke and his message was clear. I know if I were in Perth this August, I’d be heading along to Fresh Conference to hear Nancy Beach for myself.