You know that slogan for E. F. Hutton a number of years back, the one that said, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”
Well, when God talks we should have the same attitude, so the question that begs an answer: “Are we listening?”
Today I sat in a room full of people hungry to see the freedom Christ promised us manifest in their own lives, and to take this freedom out to the people they serve in His name. The afternoon session involved two things. 1. A Music Lesson, and 2. An afternoon of listening for the questions God wanted to answer and then asking them.
John 10:27 says that God’s sheep know His voice. Interestingly enough, this is a Scripture that tells us a spiritual truth wrapped in a natural fact. I have heard pastors and teachers alike speak about going to Israel and walking the countryside where shepherds are tending sheep. SHEPHERDS.
Several different shepherds may tend their sheep in one area. Now, my grandaddy used to keep sheep on his farm in west Texas and to be honest I hated the smell of them, but I loved helping him tend them. One particular summer we proceeded to “dip” them. Sheep “dipping” is a vaccination against Scab Mites. My grandaddy used an oral vaccine, but I’ve seen pictures of an actual trough where sheep are sent down into the dip and walked out, hence the term “dipping” sheep. The only way I could tell the sheep that had been dipped from the sheep that had not was the big black dot I spray painted on their wool. I could yell with all my might and the sheep would run from me, but my grandaddy would just give a whistle and call them and they would come a running. His sheep knew his voice.
Well, back to the SHEPHERDS. Several shepherds tend their flocks together and then begin to call them to take them home. The sheep would go to their shepherd, AND their shepherd knew which ones were their sheep. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice.
Today, I heard my Father’s voice, the Good Shepherd’s voice.
We started by asking “friend questions”. A friend question is something like, “What do you like best about me?” or “Show me how you see me.” My question: “Is there something in my life that makes you sad?”
The answer: “Yes.” So I asked him what made Him sad. “You still don’t trust Me completely.” A little more than a year ago God began to unearth the deep buried woundings that had led me to not trust Him. He said, “You say you trust Me, but you don’t trust people and therefore you don’t trust Me.”
The moment brought me to grief over those wounds and set me on a healing journey asking Him to uncover them and open my eyes to ways I didn’t trust Him. We’ve made progress… But, clearly there is still work to be done.
The next question: “God, what question do You want to answer today?”
Answer: “When?” So I asked Him, “God, when?”
Answer: “Soon. There’s a time to dance and your time is coming soon.”
I knew immediately what that meant. God’s been walking things out with me for some time now and I’ve been seeing Him move my heart to release my expectations about His promises so I may one day receive them fully. His timing.
Today’s answer opened my heart afresh to His promises. Then the group was assigned to break off with partners and one partner was to ask God the question that needed to be asked for their partner. To pray what God showed them for their partner.
My friend prayed with me as she often does. She prayed and began talking to me about God doing something new and wanting me to be released to do ministry. I knew it in the moment she spoke. I’ve been feeling it in my spirit as the Holy Spirit has been talking to me about an unsettledness in my heart. A restlessness to get on to the next thing. I had a very clear picture of that next thing, but today God told me what I’d begun to realize a few months ago-He’s reframing my picture. His perspective is different. It’s not going to look the same way I think it does.
Which stirred up all this stuff I’d left behind. Words spoken over me, and words He’s given me even back before I even knew what it meant to tune in and hear His voice.
Today, God told me that He wants me to step out in this new direction one step at a time, letting Him map the journey instead of running ahead to make the path I think He’s revealed to me. A new season to be sure. A season where I might get lonely, but He’ll always be with me. A season of risk taking and moving forward in dreams I’ve held close to my heart for many years.
I remember a warm Sunday morning in August 2008 when a woman who had been a stranger two days earlier sat with me in the wee hours of the morning and gave me a word about harvest and BIG things that were coming to me. “Big,” she said, “B-I-G. Big.”
I remember those early days when I couldn’t believe that God would entrust leading, directing, teaching and guiding other women to me… And, He said, “This is the starting place… Be ready to Go when I tell you to.” Today, I learned that is the same word Joyce Meyer received. Then it stirred up this picture of me walking head down in the rain from the Alamodome to my hotel room the afternoon before my new friend delivered that BIG word in my life. She said, “Yesterday, when you were walking in the rain ahead of us by yourself I saw a picture of you in a hotel rooms alone, speaking at events just like the one we are attending this weekend.” An event where the speaker sold books and addressed thousands of people in a large arena.
I cringed. I’d known it but I thought it was my own grandiose, wishful thinking that had led me to believe that I could be one of those people. I still find it overwhelming if I think on it too long, but I know that just hours after I returned home another friend pressed in about that BIG word I’d received. She saw a big tree with many leaves. The tree was me, and the leaves were the many, many women whose lives were changed because of my ministry.
I wonder what it will all look like in the end, but the most important question God answered for me today was this one. “Will you still love me if I never do ministry again?” He said, “I’ve always loved you with an everlasting love, and that will never change.”
Though none go with me, I will follow. Come what may. I’m a sheep.