Stop, Look & Listen to God

On New Year’s Day 2014, I attended mass at a local Catholic Church.  I suppose it may seem like a strange thing for a Protestant to do, but it has become commonplace for me on special occasions.  It was the perfect time for God to show up and remind me of what brought me here in the first place, and to give me direction for the New Year.

The Fruit of Spiritual Growth

It was three years ago this month that He put the wheels in motion for my first step into this church.  Within weeks God brought about the amazing revelations and healing that led to my writing “Walking My Mother Home” published in Journeys to Mother Love.  So I sat in church reflecting, and taking in the significance of how God has aligned so many events and brought so many people in my life these past several years that led to my unique walk of faith.

One place of my reflection and prayer in Spain on the island of Mallorca, July 2013.

One place of my reflection and prayer in Spain on the island of Mallorca, July 2013.

There are too many to thank here, but they know who they are:  pastors, support group leaders, and men and women of faith, here and abroad.  They encouraged me to follow where God was leading me, to reclaim my identity, and to live missionally.  They planted seeds of righteousness in me.  They fertilized my dreams of bringing Glory to God through my writing and my voice.

After 13 years of actively seeking spiritual growth and ten years of recovery, they have supported me in my journey to turn my weakness into victory, and my brokenness into a personal ministry of compassion for the poor in spirit.

Stop-Look-and-Listen-to-God-Large-Poster-9780764707513A Word from the Lord

“What’s next, Lord?” I asked during a moment of silent prayer in church.  The word He immediately gave me was ‘STOP’.  It wasn’t to stop serving or reaching out to others.  It was more like ‘stop, look, and listen’.

In all of my excitement about going to Spain last year, it wasn’t unusual for me to get ahead of God or to start acting on something that really wasn’t the right time.  Case in point, I thought I was supposed to speak in Spain and eagerly jumped into setting up talks and honing my speaking skills.

“Not now,” He lovingly told me.  “But, but, but…”  I knew I had to let go and trust Him.

The other word that God gave me for 2014 was ‘reflect’.  That doesn’t sound like a hard thing for a contemplative to do.  I spend hours in prayer every week; so what’s the difference this year?  God reminded me recently of a scripture that He gave me when all of these amazing things started to happen.  It was Luke 2:19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

I have gotten away from that posture in the past two years.  I was so excited about traveling to Spain, being a first time author, and Pedro’s music success, that I haven’t slowed down much to just take it all in.  It is a normal part of my life now, but there are times that I forget to do as Mary did.  Don’t act on it, just treasure it.

treasure heart verseTreasures of the Heart

God made some pretty big deposits in my heart these last few years.  He has given me new dreams for the coming year and beyond.  This year I want to be more deliberate in noticing when to stop, look, and listen for His guidance.  I want to abide more and react less.  Maybe that even means not being so bold on my blog, sharing so much, or so often.

Whatever it takes, I want to be in alignment with God’s will for my life and to wait for His perfect timing.  Hopefully by the end of 2014, I can attest to His building the fruit of patience in me like never before.  And I’ll have more things to treasure in my heart for the coming year.

What is your focus for 2014?

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8 Comments

  1. heartwriter

     /  January 15, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful post and for asking the question. My focus is PEACE.

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  2. Denise Myers

     /  January 15, 2014

    Very inspiring! My 2014 intentions are to keep clear boundaries and say no twice as much as I did last year. Love your sharing so I stop and reflect when I say no,

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    Reply
    • Yes, that’s the idea! To align our boundaries and our ‘no’ around God’s agenda. It’s about what’s best for us, and maybe not just good. 🙂

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      Reply
  3. HI Ardis,
    I am following you from Missional Women. Love the journey God is leading you on. I too need to wait for Him. Always watching where He wants me to go next. B
    Blessings,
    Janis http://www.janiscox.com Author of Tadeo Turtle

    Like

    Reply
  4. Henriet Schapelhouman

     /  January 22, 2014

    Great post and thanks for “including” me in the list. 🙂 You’ve come soooo far…amazing. My focus is kindness. Love you! Henriët

    Like

    Reply

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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