I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

When God Speaks...

This blog has been even quieter than usual for a reason. Two months ago today I got a phone call saying I was approved to do DHS foster care in my home. Three hours later I brought home a five-year-old brother and his three-year-old sister. To say it has been busy would be an understatement. Five children definitely keep me busier than three children. It has been an interesting time and I have found out a lot of stuff about myself and my character. To say it has been challenging would also be an understatement. One think I KNOW is that God led me to do foster care and He led me to do it at this time. I have no question at all in my mind about that.

What I want to write about today is something I have considered writing about for a while now. In fact I have written examples of it in my story of the minivans and in my most recent post. God always confirms His direction to me through His Word. He does this in different ways. Usually it is through the content and meaning of the verses He shows me (or that I "happen" to read), as it was in the above two examples, but occasionally it is in the actual word usage of the Bible.

First let me say that I am speaking here of specific guidance that I already know lines up with the content and principles of the Word of God. God will never lead you or me to do something contrary to the Bible. This is an EXTREMELY important point!!! How do I know if it lines up with His principles? I have to READ the Bible...immerse myself in it as much as possible. I cannot adequately stress this point! God will never guide you contrary to His Word, AND I would totally discount and disregard an example like what I wrote below if it didn't line up with the content and principles God has written for us in the Bible.

It is astonishing to me when God uses the actual word usage in the Bible to confirm His still small voice. This has happened to me a handful of times and always stuns me because I feel like God was thinking of me and my situation thousands of years ago when the words were penned and hundreds of years ago when they were translated. He was thinking of ME! Wow! I am amazed and awed by His love!

On the morning of April 18 I wrote in my very-infrequently-used journal, "Last night the word "respite" came to me. Is this the direction God is leading me in? I will look for confirmation in the Word."

I prayed for confirmation. I felt like I was in such a low spot mentally and physically with all of the demands of the kids and uncomfortable revelations about my own character that I needed some sort of confirmation to know I was hearing His voice, especially since it was very possible that it was just my wishful thinking. After all, I KNEW He called me to do foster care, and doing respite for other foster parents seemed to be the easy way out. (Respite is short term care...for a weekend or a week or occasionally longer.) I did some looking in the Bible at lots of scriptures about rest and encouragement since respite is essentially a rest for the foster parents and I would have the potential to speak encouraging words in to their lives and the lives of the kids. Of course there are also so many scriptures about God's care for the fatherless that I was already familiar with due to my widow study. The concept certainly lined up with God's Word, but was respite truly His specific direction for me? I kept praying about it, and felt peace, so I decided that when my current foster kids go to their mom I will just do respite care. I almost forgot about asking for confirmation until last week. I "happened" to be looking up a word in the concordance. The word started with the letter "R" and I thought, "Hmmm...while I am in the R's I think I'll look up 'respite' and see if that word is even in the Bible." Sure enough "respite" is in the Bible, but only two times.

I looked up the first time. It was in Exodus. When I turned to it, I saw my bookmark from my first section in my Ten-Chapters-A-Day plan. The word "respite" was in the very next chapter I would have read if I had been getting up early to do my Bible reading. I turned to the only other time the word "respite" is used in the entire Bible. Guess what? It was at my next bookmark. It was the very next chapter I would have read after the one in Exodus! If I only would have gotten up early and read my ten chapters (actually I would have only had to read the first two of the ten chapters) the very next day or any of the days after writing my journal entry on April 18, I would have had my confirmation in the Word! I don't think I have read more than 2 days worth of my plan since the kids came in March (spread out over several days). I cannot tell you how many times in my exhaustion I have not gotten up early to read, and lately when I have been getting up early to read (because it makes SUCH a difference in my day and my life!), I have been focused in one book. (2 Peter!!! You should read it!)

Just think, THOUSANDS of years ago when God inspired Moses and Samuel to write their books, He had them use a word that would be translated "respite" thousands of years later, AND He put those words in the exact chapters so I would read them back to back in my 10-Chapters-A-Day plan immediately after He spoke that word of guidance to me through His Holy Spirit. Our God is an AWESOME God and He has a plan for my life!


Me and Jesus said...

Wow... I love when we hear God speak to us!
Respite is so desperately needed by so many foster parents! God can work great things in this!

Shannon said...

Very awesome, very cool! I'm in II Peter now, too, it is SO good.