Sunday, April 22, 2007

Do you hear what I hear?

As I've mentioned before, God is my homeboy and whatnot. Sometimes he tells me things really loudly and clearly, and sometimes he whispers to me. But we talk.

I know people think I'm weird for that, but really? I don't care. I've never been very religious, whatever "religious" means, but I've always been very spiritual. I really believe that God not only loves me, but he likes me a whole lot. Which is cool.

There have been a lot of times in my life that I felt like God hated me. And I'm okay with saying that too, although it's not easy to admit.

When my first husband walked out on me, I was really, really, really po'd at God. I remember screaming into the night, "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!?!"

Because, really? I tried to be a good person. I really did. I've honestly lived my life trying to do the right things. I've never done anything really, overtly bad. I love animals and small children. I went to school, worked at a job, got married, bought a house. I did all the things I was supposed to do and this was happening to me? And bad people everywhere were having good lives, all around me? What the crap?

During that time period, when I was pregnant and desperate and alone, I went to church.

I felt nothing.


It was really freaking scary. I suppose I expected to have some sort of epiphany or something and then everything would be okay when I got home. But I felt nothing and going home was the same hell it had been for weeks and months.

I don't remember the exact day or time it all became okay. I don't remember a lot.

But I remember waking up one day, in 2001, in my little room where I lived with my two babies. And I remember hearing, nothing more than a whisper in my head, "You need to buy a house."

And I thought to myself, "BAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

Because GOOD LORD. I made around $20,000 a year. I was a single mom with two kids. What kind of house was *I* going to get?

But I got up, and I went and got the newspaper, and I looked at the real estate section. I thought to myself, "Maybe there are houses I can afford."

And then I thought to myself, "BAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHA!!!!"

Because, of course, the only house I could afford, would be a crack den.

Two days later, I did my taxes. I added up the numbers three times, each time, in more and more disbelief.

I looked at the number that was the refund. And I said, quietly, but out loud:

"I'm going to buy a house."

I went to a mortgage broker and I got preapproved for a loan in about five minutes.

I called real estate agent after real estate agent, but no one would call me back after they found out what I wanted to spend. (I was preapproved for something that I wasn't comfortable spending and I didn't want to share the preapproval amount so they wouldn't pressure me) I looked in the newspaper again one day and saw a real estate agent who had kind eyes and in my head I heard, "Call her."

So I did.

And I adored her. She and I spent days together driving around looking at houses. I didn't know the area very well and she couldn't lead me or steer me anywhere, but she had a daughter close to my age and she'd say, "I don't know if I'd want Melinda to live here." Subtle!

I loved her.

I found out that I could buy and afford a brand new townhouse. I got to pick the paint and the wallpaper and the light fixtures. It was amazing. I could afford it. I didn't have grass to mow. It was mine.

We moved in. It was great.

One morning about six months later, I woke up and was laying in my bed, waiting on the alarm to go off and in my head I heard, "You're going to marry Jason."


Because, no, I wasn't going to marry him.

He and I had dated since 1999. He was extremely anti-marriage. Extremely. Um. EXTREMELY. He had told me since day one, "I do not want to get married. Ever. To anyone. Ever."

I went on about my life, thinking God had probably missed the boat on this one. Sooner or later he and I would break up and I would go on about my life and find someone who wanted to marry me. Because I always knew I'd get married again. I'm a marrying kind of girl anyway.

But I loved Jason. I loved him in a way that I knew that if he were absent from my life a really, really big hole would develop and it would not be okay. It would never, ever be okay. He was my best friend. It wasn't all about romance with us. (Very little about romance...we're not really romantic people) But we laughed all the time. I could talk to him about a lot of things. He was more than my boyfriend.

A few months later, miserable in my job and desperate, I was sitting in my office and I heard, "You are going back to school."

And, guess what I said?

Yeah. The hysterical laughter thing again. That's probably getting old.

But I picked up the phone and I called the local community college and I made an appointment with an advisor. The next day, I marched into his office and sobbed, "I'm almost twenty-seven years old! I'm to old to go back to school! I don't know what I'm doing! Oh my GOD!"

And he looked at me and smiled and said, "What's the big damn deal?"

No, he really said that.

And I laughed. And I took my entrance exams and I enrolled in classes. My dad picked up the kids two days a week so I could go to night classes and the rest of my classes I took online. I continued to work full-time.

On December 5th, 2002 I came home from my college health class and Jason was at my townhouse, waiting on me. He'd picked up the kids from my parents house and they were sound asleep. He looked anxious and weird. Since he's generally anxious and weird, I pretty much ignored it and crawled into my pajamas. I sat down on the couch and he got down on both knees in front of me and asked me to marry him.

My first thought:

I have a hole in the toe of my sock.

Then I said, "Are you serious?" I'm classy like that.

At some point I did say yes, and seven months later, we got married.

Over the last few years, I've heard that voice so many more times. Once it said, "Go to Tennessee" and so we went, with no jobs and no plans, and not knowing if we were going to sink or swim. Other times it's spoken softer, "Start this Girl Scout troop" and "Apply for this job". I keep following and things keep happening.

Oh, I've been mad again. When the doctor looked at me and said, "I'm so sorry. It's called secondary infertility" I was so angry I screamed all the way home. "WHY ME? WHY NOW? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?"

I still don't know.

But I know there is an answer. I just have to stay quiet long enough to hear it.

Today I sat in church, feeling a deep, deep sorrow. Things have not been great in my life lately. There are a lot of things that I know need to change and I'm really overwhelmed at the sheer volume of all I have to do. In all honesty, a lot of my sorrow is feeling sorrow for myself and the guilt that comes along with feeling sorrow when you have so, so much.

But that's the thing about being friends with God. He doesn't get mad at you for yelling at him when you don't understand or feeling sorry for yourself from time to time.

The voice said, "Volunteer for the nursery. It will help heal your heart."

And the pastor said, right at that exact moment, "And we need volunteers for the nursery, so call Miss So and So if you are willing to serve."

So I'm listening. I don't understand. But I'm listening.


Lizarita said...

Ummm..the next time you hear that little "voice" that tells you these things, could you send it my way b/c I could REALLY use some direction right now.
And the voices in MY head are all smart-ass bitches with attitude.

EE said...

Now THAT is an amazing testimony!!
I think that I'm afraid to be still...afraid that "the big man" is going to tell me something that I don't want to hear. I'm trying to work on that, though.
Your story definitely helps...thanks!

CPA Mom said...

I don't care if you don't consider yourself "religious." That is the most amazing testimony to the power of prayer, the power of an open heart, the power of our AWESOME GOD that I have ever heard. Sweet Chick, you have given me a great gift today with this post just as you give yourself a gift each time you listen to His voice. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

(p.s. we work the nursery at our church. LOVE IT! so does Kelly (Mrs. CPA) and her husband.)

my4kids said...

I love your story Chick! It really is awesome. I listen also. Usually its him telling me "everything will work out. It will be okay... Now do this" Sometimes I look up and go "are you not paying attention? things are looking realy bad right now" But they work out in the end just like he said they would. Even if its not always the way I expected it to happen. I takes a strong person to go through a lot and still listen to His voice.

Unknown said...

This is wonderful!!

I'm also asking for the voices to be sent my way as I, too, need some direction. ASAP.

Angie said...

Wow - you have such a gift with words.

I was reading Metro Pulse the other day. We don't usually read, but we're packing boxes. : ) There was an article by a girl about deviled eggs. I turned to Mark (my DH) and said, "This chick writes just like THAT CHICK."

Seriously. You have a gift.

PinkCat said...

Wow I think you are such an insperation to me. You do have a gift for writing.

Take care and big hugs to you xx

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Chick, you are amazing. I've been "religious" (like you said, whatever that means) my whole life. But I don't have the faith you do, I just don't. Being receptive to what the scriptures call "the still small voice" (i.e. Holy Ghost), is amaing in an of itself. Having the faith to listen, and act? That's practically miraculous. And telling people about it? Planting that seed that can grow into the knowledge and understanding that God does love us, and yes, even like us? That he's loving and forgiving and out for our good, even if that means going through crap sometimes? Who knows how many lives you might touch?

frannie said...

I hope that God tells you that I love you very much and am glad to have you in my life--- even if it's just my virtual life. and if He ever tells you to move to Atlanta, it will be because He is trying to help me.

Jocelyn said...

I hope the pastor didn't then do the hysterical laugh, after asking for nursery volunteers...Eek.

This is a powerful post, Chickhoney. Have you read much Anne Lamott? She might be your second cousin once removed, methinks.

Oh, and I love the advisor at that college.

Emma in Canada said...

Yeah, there's something going on there.

Unknown said...

I can honestly say I don't know you that well, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog (and LOVE the new look). Therefore, I have given you the THinking Blogger's AWard.

Come on over and get the details.

Shanilie said...

Thanks for sharing that. I always enjoy learning more about you. Well praise the lord you did marry Jason. You four were meant for each other. Anytime I have a down time and am discouraged I just have to tell myself that God loves me and He is always there weather I go to him or not. I guess I like it simplified during the rough patches.

Anonymous said...

Oh, for the love of God...WOMAN!...a kleenex-warning, next time!

Perhaps we should all learn to trust our inner voice, as well.

Beautifully written and thanks so much for sharing.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

You are a very inspiring person, Chick. I just wanted you to know that.

M said...

I love you on many many toasted bagels. I'm so glad you hear that voice and better still...listen. xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

The other day my 19 year old called me on my way home from work and she asked me if I believed a person could hear God's voice. We had an hour long conversation out of that one question. I should copy this post and send it to her. Really good, thought-provoking post.

Anonymous said...

The other day my 19 year old called me on my way home from work and she asked me if I believed a person could hear God's voice. We had an hour long conversation out of that one question. I should copy this post and send it to her. Really good, thought-provoking post.

Alpha Dude said...

What Ellie said, times two.

Okay, really, Chick you are the coolest.

I am so very glad I know you.

Blessings to you (with glitter and stuff).

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. I hear the Voice occasionally in my life, but lately I'm getting mixed messages. It's kind of a coincidence that I read this, I'm 27, and I can't decide if I should go back to school or not. Hmmmm, interesting.....

SJINCO said...

I wish I would 'listen' to the voices that I hear.....and now that you've opened my eyes a little, maybe I will. And then maybe things will make sense.

You continue to amaze me. You are truly one inspirational lady.

Heathie said...

This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing all of this; it was a big reminder to me that I need to get back to listening to what God wants me to do and not just go around trying to figure it out myself. Because even when life is hard, it's way easier if we're doing it the Lord's way.

Patiently waiting said...

That is amazing! I'm glad you listened. I could sure use some direction too and your post has really got me thinking. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Bethany said...

First, Alpha Dude sent you "glitter and stuff"!! The girly is rubbing off on him!

Second, thanks for talking about your faith. It helps me in a way I don't want to discuss in a comment :)

Third, I do nursery now. It's pretty easy because it's only Ebaby! But I used to schedule my vacation to run VBS for 100 kids. Why? God told me to.

Unknown said...

Wow, Chick. Wow. That was beautiful. I wasn't sure what direction you were going in, but I like the destination you ended at.

Yes, do read Anne Lamott if you haven't yet (see Jocelyn's comment above).

I get that voice, too. I really do. And you have given me the encouragement to write about what I have heard from God. Crazy as it may sound.

Blessings on you, Chick.


PS Sorry for the shameless plug/request, but would you be willing to put my website link on your site? If not, no worries, and I won't be offended.

Stephanie said...

Oh my. I'm gonna reiterate what Margarita said, cuz I could really use some direction right now. Also, you are pretty damn cool and I'm sad now that you don't live close to me...

Adventures in Baby Fat said...

Ahh, Chick. Beautiful. So beautiful. Tearfully beautiful and everything.

It is a gift that you recognize the voice, the value of your faith and the relationship that is possible. Totally beautiful.

I've heard the voice before. A thought in my mind that seemed ridiculous moments before is suddenly so real. "Write. You must." And millions of other powerful words that make me know I am not alone.

And the nursey will heal you then. In whatever way.

Loves. :)