Allison was a teenager when I met her. She was one of the youth from the youth group I lead. Eventually, she became a close friend of my sister-in-law, Bev. I remember Allison as a peacemaker and a soft-spoken girl who was always bubbly and friendly. I hope her feature encourages you to listen for those whispers from God.
Life With Allison
A Little (ok, a LOT) About Me
A great deal of my life story revolves around hearing (or not hearing) God’s voice. Not an audible voice (you’re picturing Moses and the burning bush, aren’t you?), but I would describe it more like a strong sense of knowledge deep down in my spirit.
Looking back to life as a teenager, I was sure that God wanted me to attend a Christian University and I thought I had the right one in mind. After travelling there for a prospective-student visit, I experienced feelings of disappointment, fear, and uncertainty. The visit went really wrong. As we drove away from that place with tears in my eyes, my Mom reminded me of another Christian University I had received information about, but I hadn’t been interested in, conveniently located along our route home.
So we made some quick plans, and a day later we pulled into the parking lot, despite my doubt and reluctance. As I walked in through the doors a huge sense of relief and peace washed over me like a big “whoosh.” It was a profound sense of knowing I was in the right place.
God’s voice can often create confusion or unrest if He has another plan in mind, it is important to be listening for His peace. He is in the business of peace-giving.
Come September, the second week of University, I met a guy named Chris – “whoosh” – God whispered His knowledge into my soul, and it was as though I heard “This is the man you will marry.” I went back to my dorm that night and confessed to my new roommate that God told me I had just met my future husband. God apparently is also in the patience business, as Chris seemed to take a lot longer than I did to hear His voice, but we were happily married 3 years later.
Sometimes God places people in your path to direct you to His perfect plan. As new University graduates trying to figure out the work world and our walk with Christ, we went through a period of looking for a home church. Our first visit to this one particular church involved an impromptu lunch invitation. So off we went to the home of complete strangers for lunch after our first visit to their church. (It was a different time back then… we weren’t as worried about psychopaths.)
They told us how they had just come back from teaching English in Japan, showed us their photos, and shared what a great experience they had. Chris and I finished our lunch visit with these very nice strangers, got in our car, started driving, and we both kind of glanced in each other’s direction. “So…. should we go teach English in Japan?” “Whoosh”- We both had the same confident sense that God not only led us to meet these strangers that day but that He wanted us in Japan. We applied online that night.
Life was good in Japan. After about one year of teaching English I “happened to” be reading an online magazine for Christians living in Japan. I’m pretty sure I had never read this publication before and haven’t read it since. I came across a story of a family who adopted a child through an organization in Japan called Ai No Kesshin (Loving Decisions). “Whoosh”- It was as though God spoke right into my very soul – “You should adopt a baby.” Again, it wasn’t an audible voice, but what can be described as divine knowledge. God’s perfect knowledge was placed into my spirit and filled me with complete security and confidence. I told Chris what I sensed God telling me, and he agreed. So we contacted the adoption agency to begin the lengthy process.
If we seek God and ask Him for peace and confidence when making life-changing decisions, He is faithful. After a very long wait, we finally received an amazing phone-call telling us of a baby girl that may be the perfect fit for our family… would we accept? We questioned, “God, is this the child you have planned for us?” We needed to stop and pray first and seek wise counsel. We called our pastors, had them pray with us, we prayed with each other, then there it was – that peace that passes all understanding. The God-confidence (Godfidence!) we were anticipating. Yes, this is our daughter, the one God has chosen.
Do not hesitate to bring your requests and petitions to God and seek out others to pray with you and for you and the decisions you have to make.
It didn’t take long for us to realize we loved being parents; our daughter, Maya, was sweet, smiley and squishy. We felt strongly that we should also start trying to have biological children since we didn’t want our kids to be too far apart in age.
This idea worked faster than we thought it would and resulted in having a 9-month old and being newly pregnant. We were excited to be raising a family in the Japanese culture and hoped to stay there indefinitely. That is until the day came when we visited a clinic to start the process of finding a doctor and receiving prenatal care. I had noticed a Mother’s Clinic close to our home and decided it looked like a wonderful place.
We walked through the doors to the beautiful reception area and explained in English, some broken-Japanese, and some obvious gesturing that we were pregnant and wanted to see a doctor and have an ultrasound taken. What ensued can only be described as mass chaos as the receptionists and nurses panicked as they faced these strange English foreigners who were not comprehending their double-speed Japanese conversation.
They didn’t know what to do with us, and nobody spoke English, so they essentially shooed us away with waves of their hands. “Whoosh” – the tears came along with fear, confusion and uncertainty. How could I deliver a baby in this country? How would I get the care that my baby needed? I can’t speak much Japanese, and I understand even less! I was suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling of going home. I wanted my Mother, I wanted to go home, I needed to go home.
God allowed me the uncomfortable feelings, the emptiness in my gut, the fear and confusion, in order to guide us down a different path.
With some remorse, we arranged our departure from our daughter’s home country. I trusted that God had a plan, and that plan involved delivering a healthy son, Wesley, a few months later in my hometown. Our first two children were fairly close in age with a 17-month gap; we were exhausted, poor, and thought it would be best to try and wait a while before having more children. Well, when we try to do things on our own time schedule, God often steps in, and you find yourself pregnant with a 5-month old and a 1-year old. We welcomed our second daughter, Reina, to the world that August.
My Daily Struggles
As a typical stay-at-home mom with three under 3, then three toddlers, then three school-aged, and now three in the tween/teens zone, God seemed to become almost silent. The “wooshes” stopped, and I no longer heard His voice in the way I had become accustomed to. Life started to feel very repetitive and lacked the excitement I was used to (laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, appointments… and repeat!) Previously, I found this life of mine to be a series of big leaps or adventurous jumps into what God had in store for me.
God had worked this way in my life so frequently that when some years passed with mostly just flat lines and daily grinds, I wondered if I still heard His voice at all. I now realize that the season I’m in might just be a time of waiting, a time of God preparing my heart for what is coming next.
Joys In My Daily Routine
Recent life has been mostly spent with making memories, forming little adults, and keeping everyone fed, alive, and delivered to their respective appointments and activities. Thankfully, God can still speak during these seemingly mundane days. He reaches out to our heart and soul in so many different ways.
We need to take time to earnestly seek God, acknowledge Him, and be mindful of His presence working in our daily lives.
I have still felt His spirit with me and near to me, but it has somewhat changed over these past years. Instead of big “whooshes,” I usually hear Him in smaller daily moments; I hear Him speak through a worship song on the radio (like the time in my mom-mobile while three toddlers cried in their car-seats behind me). Or I hear Him in the waves crashing on the shoreline at sunrise (that time on the beach with my son who refused to sleep in past 6am and I didn’t want him waking his sisters up back at the tent). Or I hear Him when I’m serving our church and community with my time and God-given talents.
Even if this isn’t a season of making big life changes, we can still be listening for His voice to speak joy, peace and love into our hearts during the small monotonous tasks.
I continue to pray that He will lead and guide us to what big thing He is planning for us next. This anticipation provides me great joy as I journey these more uneventful days.
Since we had the wonderful experience of living and adopting in Japan, we have a long-time dream of reuniting with that country and culture. I ache for the day when Maya can place her feet back on the land of her birth, and connect with those who first knew her and loved her. We try to scrimp and save and stash away with hopes that God will one day speak into our hearts with a big “whoosh” and say, “It’s time to go back.” I’m praying, listening, hoping for that day… but for now, God is silent. As we wait upon the Lord, trust Him, and take delight in Him, we believe that He knows our dream and pray that it will also be His desire for us one day as well.
Moments with God
So, what can you do if you don’t hear God’s voice? If you don’t sense the divine knowledge of the Lord leading and guiding you? Maybe you are in a time of waiting like I am. Or maybe God is waiting for you to listen, to pause and pray, to reflect on His Word and seek wisdom, giving Him space to answer. Search the depths of your spirit for His peace.
Or perhaps God is making you uncomfortable in a situation or with a decision, maybe He’s making you squirm in your seat or sweat through your sleep. He also speaks to us in those uncomfortable moments, guiding us to change course, leading us closer to Him and toward the path He desires for us. Have faith that God, through the work of the Holy Spirit that lives in us, can speak into our soul and guide our steps.
God’s little whispers are blessings from above and Allison’s feature has encouraged us to listen to God’s voice. Would you like to read about a young lady who had to put her faith in God when a man she barely knew asked her to marry him? Read: Life With Esther
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