Tag Archives: SMASH

Hearing Aids

When is the last time you’ve heard from God?  It’s hard to hear Him with all of the noise around us, but I believe that God still speaks today.

Maybe we’re afraid to hear what He has to say and we’d rather tune Him out.  Maybe we think He’s mad at us; that He’s going to lecture us about all the things we’ve done wrong.  Or maybe we think He’s going to tell us to become a missionary in Africa.  Or He’ll tell us to forgive someone we could never, ever forgive.  So we crank up the radio, turn on the TV,  check our Facebook status, go shopping, volunteer at church, anything to stay distracted and busy, busy, busy.

Or maybe we want to hear from God, but we’re not sure how.  How does He speak?  In the 20 years I’ve been following Jesus, I’ve heard from God in many different ways.  I’ve never seen or spoken to Jesus directly, but I know someone who has.  Check out Jaya Sankar’s Story to read, and hear directly from Jaya, about his encounter with the Living God.  Here are some ways that I hear from God.  I hope they act as “hearing aids” for you:

1) The Bible

God speaks when I read the Bible.  Not every time.  Sometimes I’m just reading words, but other times the Word truly is living and active, penetrating, dividing soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:13).  Those times are well worth waiting for.  Energizing, exhilarating, mysterious, thrilling to the core.  If we’re going to recognize someone’s voice, we need to get to know them.  What better way to get to know God than to read the love letter He wrote to us?

The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3), so if we want to know God, we need to get to know Jesus.  The best way I’ve found to get to know Jesus is by reading the gospels, which are the first 4 books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  You can start with just one, you can read them all start to finish, or you can read one over and over until it feels like an old friend (thanks to Dan Kopp for that great suggestion).  John is a great book to start with, as John goes into great detail about who Jesus is and why he came.  But if you love a good action movie, start with the book of Mark.  You won’t be disappointed.

The most important thing to keep in mind when reading the Bible is that it is not an ordinary book.  The best way to read it is in humility, asking God Himself to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.  If we ask for understanding, He is faithful to answer our prayer.  Jesus tells us over and over again that those who ask will receive, and James 4:3 clarifies further regarding asking with right motives.  I can ask for a BMW, but I really don’t think I’ll receive one.  🙂

2) Circumstances

I’ve heard God speak through circumstances in my life over and over again, and I love to write about those times.  If hearing how God has spoken to me helps you recognize His voice in your life, then I have done my job.  When I categorize a post under “miracles”, it’s probably a story of how God spoke through a particular circumstance.  This is one of my favorites, about how I knew I couldn’t giving up on having another child:  Fresh Eyes.

3) Music

I love to hear from God through music.  Sometimes it’s through the words of the song, like MercyMe’s Greater.  Other times it’s the music itself that makes my soul fly.  I fell in love with Switchfoot’s Fading West album after watching their documentary of the same name twice within 48 hours in late August.  I bought the album a few days later and couldn’t get enough of it.

Even though I didn’t see Swtichfoot in concert, DTE Energy Music Theater chose to play that album in between every set on Saturday night, September 13th.  All night long, in between Ellie Holcomb, Colton Dixon, MercyMe and Third Day, Switchfoot’s Fading West album played over the loudspeakers while the stage was being set for the next act.  As each song came on, my heart was being romanced by the God of the universe.  He chose the perfect background music for the mood He was creating between the two of us.  You can read more about that evening here:  Redeemed – Part 1.

4) Nature, 5) People & 6) the Holy Spirit

God speaks through nature, through people and through His Holy Spirit.  Instead of telling you about each one separately, here’s a little story that combines all three:

In May 2014, at the SMASH women’s retreat, we were given a morning devotional booklet to go off by ourselves to complete.  There was a question that I was supposed to talk to God about, but I also needed to eat breakfast, so I brought the booklet with me to the cafeteria.  I grabbed my breakfast, found a table and set down the booklet.  I went about my morning, chatting with lots of different women at breakfast, outside the cafeteria and on the long trail leading back to my cabin.  Walking through those gorgeous woods, with my cabin just ahead of me, I gasped and thought, “Lord, I forgot to talk to you!”  He quickly, but calmly, responded, “No, you didn’t.  You’ve been talking to Me all morning through all of those women.”

May 2014 SMASH Women's Retreat at SpringHill CampsMay 2014 SMASH Women’s Retreat at SpringHill Camp in Evart, MI, ready to go on the zip-line

Sometimes it takes “getting away from it all” to really hear His voice clearly.  Please join us at the SMASH Women’s Retreat at SpringHill Camp May 15-17, 2015.  Registration opens March 27th – click here: Events.  You won’t want to miss it!  And if you’re not female, Kensington puts on a retreat just for you each Fall.  Check the same link in Summer 2015 for the “Man Up” retreat, which is normally held at SpringHill Camp each October.

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Becoming Ms Right

After attending the SMASH women’s retreat at SpringHill Camp in May 2012, I was inspired to write about what I experienced.  I was particularly struck by one common theme throughout the weekend: we focus on what we lack instead of what we possess.

We live in endless pursuit of what we’re missing, instead of living in gratefulness for what we have.  Have you ever wished you could “lose that last 10 pounds”, only to find yourself a year later 10 pounds heavier instead of 10 pounds lighter?  Did you look back and wish you could have been grateful right where you were the year before?  I know I’ve been there, done that.

It’s a sad fact, but men tend to grow more and more handsome every year (grey hair and all!).  We women, on the other hand, tend to grow more wrinkled, saggy, less able to bear children, overall less “attractive”.  Fun, isn’t it?  But Proverbs 31 says of “the woman of noble character”:

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Did that mention anything about what she looks like?  Nope.  Nothing.  But how much time do we waste on thinking about what we look like?

Check out the whole passage: Proverbs 31:10-31.  She isn’t praised for her charm and beauty, but for how she treats those around her, how she spends her time, and probably more importantly, how she doesn’t spend her time.  It is our character that makes us more and more beautiful – the way we make others feel.

You may have heard, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.  I’ve also heard, “People don’t remember what you said or what you did.  They remember the way you made them feel.”  I think that’s true and that it works both ways.  You can make them feel horrible or you can make them feel treasured.  The more we treasure our husbands and build them up, the more beautiful we become in their eyes.  If you want to be loved and cherished in your old age, love and respect your husband now.  🙂

At the SMASH retreat, Michaell Dupin taught us that a wife, or a “helpmate”, is not just a “helper”.  A helpmate can be compared to “military reinforcements without whom the battle would be lost.”  Wow.  We have a critically important job.  This isn’t about me getting my needs met – this is about winning a battle.  And that battle started with a curse way back in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:16 (NLT):

Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.”

Contrast that with the Apostle Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives in his letter to the Ephesians (5:33 NIV):

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

The curse was that she would want to control him, but God wants her to respect him.
The curse was that he would rule over her, but God wants him to lay down his life for her (as Christ loved the church).

We expect unconditional love from our husbands, but for some reason, we refuse to give them unconditional respect.  We expect them to have to earn our respect, but we don’t expect to have to earn their love, do we?  What would happen if we chose differently?  How would things change if we changed our response?

I was given some very important marital advice several years ago.  I was told, “You are not John’s enemy.  He is not your enemy.  You are on the same team.  But you have an enemy and he hates you and hates your marriage.  He wants to eternally separate you from God, but he can’t.  So he’ll do everything he can to separate you from the very people who love you and support you.  And, if you don’t recognize his schemes, you’ll help him do this by adding fuel to the fire.”

Let’s go back to that first paragraph.  We focus on what we lack instead of what we possess.  What do we possess?  We possess the ability to choose what we focus on.  What if we chose to respect our husbands unconditionally?  I’m not talking about flattery.  Really, it has a lot more to do with what we don’t say than what we do say:

1) Choosing NOT to correct him, especially not in public
2) Choosing NOT to tell him what he forgot to do
3) Choosing NOT to give him 18 reasons why his idea won’t work
4) Choosing NOT to overload him with requests when he walks in the door after work
5) Choosing NOT to punish him for “hurting your feelings”
6) Choosing NOT to ask him if you look fat in that outfit (there is no good response here)
7) Choosing NOT to interrupt him when he’s actually talking to you (you want him to talk to you, right?)
8) Choosing NOT to tell him every detail of your day (get to the point – God gave you girlfriends for a reason – they want to hear details – he doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you – his brain just doesn’t work that way)
9) Fill in the blank – you know what irritates him – choose NOT to do it

What if we chose to fuel the fire of respect?  I think we’d get a lot more of that unconditional love we’ve been looking for.  Maybe we didn’t marry the wrong man.  Maybe he married the wrong woman?  We can do something about it.  We can choose to become Ms Right.

Very important side note:  If you are being abused, this does not apply to you.  Please get yourself and your children to a safe place.  No one deserves to be abused and you are not being “submissive” by allowing the abuse to continue.  Please find help now.