"What will a life magnify? The world's stress cracks, the grubbiness of the day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? Or God" Ann Voskamp
About 3 or 4 weeks ago I took my son to the chiropractor after he took a spill down our steps and was complaining of his hurting tailbone. While I was there I tried to strike a conversation with a lady next to me who was holding a beautiful book. Because it had bird eggs on the cover I immediately was interested in knowing more. She introduced me to the book and I immediately whipped out my Kindle and downloaded a sample of it to remember it for later. The day before my Grandmother passed away I began reading my sample and ended up downloading it and a few others that had been on my list. As I began reading it, I realized it was going to be a special journey just for me.
My first clue was that I found my name, Aimee, in the first chapter. Intriguing. Then as I read I realized that this book had been introduced to me on purpose. Not by the beautiful young lady in the chair that day but by the One who knew I'd need it.
Within a few days of my grandmother passing away I found myself making time to read more and more. How she described the feeling of losing a loved one was exactly how I was feeling. It gave me permission to feel that way and at times, gave me hope that the book held the key. More and more I was convinced that our Lord Father wanted to make sure that the message this book held was placed in my hands. That thought alone was overwhelming.
So I read and you should too, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. As I read I started paying attention and as a result I am learning to be thankful in everything...even a spent bowl of cereal is beautiful to me know. So many blessings unfold when I am giving continual thanks. Simple gratitude.
If you would like to join me in recording my blessings and gifts I am doing so through my IG account http://instagram.com/homespun_mom and if you'd like to folllow me I'd like to follow you and see the blessings and gifts you encounter. If you don't have an IG account, they are worth having. Be sure to use the hashtag #1000gifts
Before now I have been in complete awe of people that say they can hear our Lord speak to them. Whenever people would say they could hear His Voice my head would cock a little to the side and I would wonder "how?". Then one day it happened. After asking for that experience and the desire or closeness, I found His Voice. It was subtle, clear, and could only be heard in the stillness and quietness of the moment I was in.
In order to hear His Voice I had to want to hear Him. I had a desire so deep inside me to hear my Father's Voice that I had begun to seek it. For days and days it seemed like I was trying to "unlock" a secret phone line to God. I wanted to be able to talk to Him and hear His Voice but what I found suddenly was that I heard Him.
I was laying in my bathtub one night trying to relax but was distressed about a few things. I can't even remember what they were now but I'll never forget when I became perfectly still and all the noise had faded away, then I heard Him. It was a small voice kind of like if you were to think thoughts to yourself. Only, it's not your voice. It's personal to you because He calls you by name, He begins to clear your mind and make the chaos go away in your head so that as He speaks, all the pieces come together. It always feels like He takes all the pieces, gifts, signs, words, everything and puts them together for me. What He reveals is a bigger picture. One I would not have thought of or seen had I not asked for Him to show me what He needs of me.
The day I first heard Him I was overjoyed, I had love flowing all through me, clarity, ideas, and excitement. The things He had placed in me, had spoken to me could only have come from Him. The next day a girlfriend came over and I shared with her what had happened. She felt it was absolutely necessary I call our pastor and share with Him. I did and I explained to Him that I had been wondering for a long time what it was like to hear Him speak. Once I found His Voice I had a desire for more.
The more I hear the more I desire to hear. There is so much to my spiritual journey and so many personal revelations that I may not remember them all. I believe with every ounce of me that is why He is calling me to write out everything He reveals. They are gifts but they are to be shared. They are not just for me, they are for all my sisters. I don't know what He wants to do with the revelations and writings but I have promised to do my best to reveal in such a way that it is clear. I want nothing more than each of my fellow Christians to be able to hear His Voice.
I no longer feel "weird" when I talk about how He speaks to me. I have found that it is more common that we realize. The more I surround myself with others that hear, the more I realize I am not alone and that it is something we all have a desire to experience. We can all experience it. Then again, it's okay if people think I'm weird.
He listens and...
My prayer for you my reader is that you find your still quite place and seek His face. I pray that you begin to see the things that are unseen and that God reveals to you the world through His lens.
There are times in our lives were we just give up, we throw our hands in the air and just fall to our knees. We realize that we can no longer handle everything on our own. We hurt because we can't handle everything but in our minds we must be strong and handle it all. You know that saying ..."God does not give us more than we an handle".. is true. He only gives us what we can handle and He handles the rest...if you let Him. Actually, if you let Him, our Father will handle it all.
About a month after my plea to God to step in and take care of my baby where I was not able so that I could stop worrying, James and I found out we were expecting baby number 2. We announced it quickly because of our excitement. Our wait had been SO long. While this baby was long over due in my books, I began to worry. I was put on bed rest to avoid the preterm labor and early arrival of this baby like I had my first. The entire time I was pregnant I prayed over my growing belly. I'd watch my belly move in the water of the bath and I'd cry out (literally) to God to protect Him. I did this almost daily. When that baby was born, God made it PERFECTLY clear that He had been in control the whole time, that he orchestrated his arrival and birth to be perfect, that his name was perfectly chosen and that was when I realized God was listening to me.
Soon after baby number 2, baby number 3 came along and I found myself a mother of three at home alone all of the time. I was more lonely then than I had ever been in my life. James and I had gone back to church when baby number 2 arrived but it was such a lonely place for me too. So, we stopped going again. Then one day God sent a friend to my door. She knocked and I opened and she said "I heard you had another baby?" It still floors me to this day that I was so lonely in my little life that my own friend didn't know. She wanted to buy some of my maternity clothes because she was pregnant too. I sold her two tubs for next to nothing because I knew I was done and she needed them. The most important conversation I had had with a friend happened that day when she asked "Are you going to church anywhere?" Usually, I would say really fast that I was a member of "This or That Church" but I was honest and said no. With excitement she invited me to hers and we went.
When we first walked into that church with a car load of boys we were welcomed and we were "fed". The Holy Spirit was there that day and my heart could not believe what it was feeling and my ears could not believe what they were hearing. The Spirit moved in that church but it would be a long time before the Spirit would baptize me. In the mean time of waiting on the Spirit the relationship with our Father began to grow.
I heard the preacher once say "God is speaking to me, I can hear Him." That was when I realized that I had never heard His Voice. I didn't know how to hear His Voice and I sure didn't know if it were possible for me to hear His Voice. I was sure that hearing the Voice of God was reserved for those educated in the Bible or those he had "chosen". There was no way it was for me too, it just couldn't be for me. Something in me wanted to be that close to God so...I asked if I could hear Him.
God was listening...
My prayer for you today is that if you can not hear Him speak, that you open your heart to the possibility that He needs you to hear Him. You are special and He has something special for you.
I haven't always been a seeker of my Fathers face. I have not always been a listener. I doubt my story is much different than many. It could be your story. You could be now, where I was...I was a prayer. I did pray but seeking His face and being a listener for His Voice puts you on a whole other playing field. For the next few days, I am going to share with you my personal journey. My prayer is that you will catch that you can become a seeker and a listener too.
I had a pastor friend from my childhood ask me before my husband and I were married, "How is your walk?" I stuttered for a second and then said, "I'm sorry, what do you mean?" He reply, "Your walk with Jesus, how is your walk?" My heart pounded and I turned red, my walk...what walk? I replied, "Oh, good. Its good!" With that response, he knew it was not good. He encouraged me to find a church home and to keep in touch and let him know more about my journey. We talked for a few minutes, he had to decline to come to Georgia from where ever he was then and marry us.
When I began to raise my family, I remember trying to take my babies and husband to church. I remember the struggle all to well. My sweat husband just did as I wanted and got ready for church, we got the baby ready and we went to the same church my grandmother and family had gone to for years. The baby would cry each time in the nursery so after a while we stopped going because knowing my baby was crying out weighed my desire to be in the church pew.
Years past and my husband and I had been trying for baby number 2. It was the longest I had ever tried for anything. My desire to have another baby was bigger than my desire to give up on all the treatments and disappointment. So, we kept trying. Eventually a night came in January where I laid out on my bed with the hottest tears in my eyes I think I'd ever had and I did something I had never done before. I gave my first baby back to God. We had never dedicated him to a church and that night I dedicated him back to God. It wasn't because I thought I should, it was simply because I felt so helpless trying to raise that sweat child of mine and I worried all the time. I worried about everything and even things that weren't things at all, things that would never happen but they were all in my head and I just could not worry anymore. My worry was becoming bigger than me, my desire to be a good mother out weighed my desire to do it alone. My prayer was...
"God I can not do it anymore! I think I will always be afraid of not being able to protect him from everything in this life. I have got to have You be in my place where I can not be. I need You God to step in be sufficient in this boys life where I am not. He is yours. You trusted me with Him but I can not do it alone."
even when you don't.
My prayer for you is that you give all your worry to Him. Even if you can't hear Him, he wants to take away what is burdening you and free you from that weight. If you can do that then He will take it and in doing so you will trust Him more and more. He is listening. He is waiting on you.
Come on...run with me a minute.
Thursday morning I woke up with a huge, heavy burden on my heart and all I wanted to do was run. When I run I escape for a little time, I clear my head, I release happy endorphin's, and I spend time learning lessons from God. As soon as my feet hit the pavement my eyes started welling up as my lips started muttering to God that I needed Him. I would dry my eyes quickly as I saw other runners coming my way and I'd just pull away from my feelings for a bit. Then after I trotted a little further I heard that small Voice say..."Top of the Hill". I just laughed to myself. Seriously? I'm supposed to go to the top of the hill? I can barely run on level ground much less up a hill. As I approached another road the Voice grew and grew until I could not deny it. "Top of the hill." it said over and over. So I reluctantly turned towards the hill, the highest in the park, but told myself I was not running up that big hill, I was walking it...and I did.
Along the way I talked to God about the burdens and all the chaos in my head. It became very windy where the road leveled out a bit, I paused, and then I kept climbing. All the while I was searching for Him and listening for the Voice. I got to the top of the hill and looked...nothing...except, there was a trail that went higher so I wasn't at the actual top of the hill, just stopped where the road stopped. So I took the trail taking note that it was unexpected and I didn't know where it led but I'd take it. I climbed until I reached the top and it was a grassy clearing. I went to the center of the clearing to listen and...nothing.
Ugh! I was getting frustrated. I was sure the Voice said to go to the top of the hill. I couldn't have been mistaken, there had to be something for me. I was so frustrated. About the time I decided to go back down I noticed another path. By the looks of it the path would take me back down the hill and it would probably end up at the road where I noticed earlier a path wound around and met the road I'd just come up on. So I thought, I'll go for it. Trail running is fun...I suppose.
As I start to head down, I noticed that the trail took a dip but then rose again and went up, way up. I couldn't have seen that before. I have to admit, I was starting to get uncomfortable with my place in the woods at this point. These woods have always felt a little creepy to me because I don't know them and when I finally, for SURE got to the top of the hill it really was creepy. There was a small opening in the woods and there were monuments on either side of the path. One was particularly tall and at the top was a stone civil war solider standing and looking off into the distance with no nose. He was almost the last straw for me, I wanted to turn and run back down the hill to "safety". Instead I stood still and looked around. I listened and prayed. I felt ...afraid. All sorts of terrible thoughts ran through my head, I could see the headlines now. "They found the woman in the woods and they spotted her by her neon yellow shoes. She had been hacked to bits by what we believe to be as a machete, there must be a murderer on the loose in these woods."
So, to calm my fears I sat down on a monument and put my back flat against it so I felt less exposed on all sides. I took a deep breath and prayed for God to show up. Seriously, I was finally at the top of the hill and this is how I felt? All of the sudden I felt something on my leg. I looked down. It was a tiny tick that I had picked up, a little hitchhiker. I plucked it off and tossed it away and realized that was my lesson. It was all so simple. The calmness I needed came over me and I felt the Voice rise up and say. "What is it you are afraid of? Your mind plays games and tricks on you. You are letting the evil one frighten you when I do not put a spirit of fear in you.".
I felt so safe at that point. I stood up and started walking back down the trail and back down the hill letting the Voice reveal to me the message. See, I was afraid of things that weren't real. I was afraid of things in my head instead of being still and finding peace with Him. Peace was found when I was still and allowed Him to point out and make me aware the real dangers. Once I saw what I was supposed to be aware of, that tiny little tick, I knew that all my other fears were false. That tiny little tick was dangerous. His little bite held poison that could ravage a body. It wasn't the fear of what might be that as dangerous but what I wasn't even aware of that was.
So, because I was still God calmed my fears and opened my eyes and senses to the real danger. That tiny little hitchhiker almost went unnoticed, I almost bolted with fear before ever knowing he was on me. I realize now that the things I'm afraid of are in my head. There are so many things that we worry about daily and don't deal with out of fear. Fear is keeping us from trusting Him and makes us want to bolt instead of be still. So, while the climb was hard and I didn't want to do it, there was a lesson at the top. If I had picked the easy road and not gone up the hill I might not have learned the lesson He wanted to teach me but instead I let the Voice guide me, teach me and grow my knowledge of His wonders.
When I sat down to write this out I opened my Bible and again it opened to the perfect scriptures. Proverbs 8. The whole thing...every word of Proverbs 8 was for me (and you) and this lesson He is teaching us. Here are the most powerful parts to me but I encourage you to open His Word and experience it as a whole.
Do not be afraid. Trust Him, be still, and pray for His wisdom.
From the Bible Gateway, NKJV Proverbs 8.
The Excellence of Wisdom8 Does not wisdom cry out,
And understanding lift up her voice?
2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill,
Beside the way, where the paths meet.
3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city,
At the entrance of the doors:
4 “To you, O men, I call,
And my voice is to the sons of men.
5 O you simple ones, understand prudence,
And you fools, be of an understanding heart.
6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things,
And from the opening of my lips will come right things;7 For my mouth will speak truth;
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness;
Nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
9 They are all plain to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.10 Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
Eve, oh Eve! You were so powerful and didn't even know it. Your words dripped from your mouth like honey and enticed your man to take a bite of sin. You Eve, have more power than you would ever know. 1000's of generations of women think of you and imagine your beauty, your simple beauty, as the first woman made by the hand of God. However Eve, your power has cursed the generations of women that came after you. We now raise our babies in a world of sin, try to love our husbands in a world of sin, we try to love our friends in a world of sing, all thanks to your. There is one thing we cannot do, we cannot look at you and say we would never do such a thing.
A while ago I spent some time with a few girl friends. It can get so raw when girls get together and talk about their marriages. We all have such deep issues that we are either dealing with or have dealt with. We are either in the midst of trails or have been through them. No one that is married is immune to that. We can be head over hills in love with our husbands or not. Sometimes we are in a place where we want to get as far from them as we can for awhile or we want to run right into their arms. What I have found is that every marriage, every single one, requires work.
What I think we sometimes miss is our power as women. We have the power in us to change our marriage for the better every single day. We have the power in us and sometimes we don't even realize it. I found myself telling a friend over and over that she was powerful, one of the most powerful girls I know. She didn't believe me. I have seen her influence women, bring tears to their eyes with hope, she's talked strength into me and into others but she didn't see herself as the pillar of strength that she is.
Holy Spirit Power...
What we can do is usher our families to the throne of Christ Jesus with the singing of our voices, with our daily love, we can offer up our bodies as worship, and we can change the face of our nation with love. As mothers, sisters, and daughters we are the gatekeepers of of our faith. We are taught that our husbands are the spiritual leaders of our homes, that is true. However, with the Holy Spirit a woman has the power to usher in generations to God.
It doesn't matter where you came from, what you believed before. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us who believe. Since God chose you to love, you must clothe yourself in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for others faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. The most important piece of clothing you must wear is LOVE. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. As members of one body we are called to live in peace and always be thankful. Colossians 3
This morning as I study before my babies wake up and husband rolls over to get ready for their day I am reminded of how I must be. Colossians is one of those little books of the Bible that I don't read often enough. If more of us who are striving to be like Christ would live these words, others would notice. I am more than tired of watching Christians battle against each other on theology or beliefs. The message is simple, we have got to get out of the way of the gospel and let the Good News speak for itself.
My prayer this morning is that God forgive me for what I do that is not of Him. I need forgiveness daily but I always ask for His help. When I am drawn away by the world and earthly things I must remember that it is me that is severing the building of our relationship. My soul longs for heavenly riches that can not be found here. My soul cries out for acceptance and words of affirmation but if I will remember to take the time to open my Bible each day and spend moments with my Father, I will find that my love language is understood by the One who created it to begin with. I pray that my eyes are open to His Will and I thank Him for the gifts He leaves me throughout the day because He loves me.
I'm Aimee, former Early Childhood Educator and Reading Specialist turned author, speaker, blogger, and mom of 5. This website is meant to inspire & equip parents of little ones to promote early literacy & language development at home. You will also find fun crafts, devotionals, and recipes to explore..
Learn more about me here.