When God Whispers...That Still Small Voice

It happened in the early days of our church plant at Journey. One evening the hubs and I were driving from Reno back to our new home in Fernley when we passed by a canyon. Sitting far back into the mountain-side was a building of sorts, with bright flashing red lights. I mean BRIGHT, and FLASHING! What in the world was that? I asked the hubs and he said that he had heard it was a  brothel!

And then I felt it. That heavy burden pressing in on my was palpable. My heart cried out for the women at that place...women who used their bodies for financial gain.  I wanted to weep for these women and hated the lies of the enemy that had led them to that place.  I knew this was the voice of God speaking to me...But what could I do?

God said pray...

So I began to pray for those women, knowing nothing about them really. Who they were...why they were there...if they even wanted to be there.
As I prayed, I asked God...Lord why? Why have you placed this burden on my heart?  What in the world could I do? Brothels are legal in Nevada...doesn't that mean these women are choosing this lifestyle? Are they living this lifestyle in response to a painful past, one even more painful than the life they are presently living out?   ...and on and on I prayed.

As we began to get settled into our new life in Nevada and our new ministry God began opening doors...slowly...oh so slowly.  Several things began to happen...

I met the Director of the Local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Journey had decided to take this on as a local mission and thus began a sweet friendship.  I even began training at the Crisis Pregnancy Center, thinking maybe God would use me there as a counselor. This invaluable training has deepened my burden for those women who find themselves in hard places. It has given me the ability to see these women as God sees them. Beautiful, loved and adored by their creator...yet marred by the enemies deceit and lies. His heart breaks over their brokenness. Oh to have a heart that breaks over the very things that break the heart of God!

I got connected to the Director of Awaken INC...a group in Reno that fights human sex trafficking right there in the streets of  Reno. I have heard first hand some of the atrocities that go on in our own 'backyard'.  Please believe me when I say that human trafficking is not just something that goes on in other countries far away. It is happening in our neighborhoods, to our children, across the nation.  God has opened my eyes to the heartache and pain, the brokenness that surrounds me. I continue to pray.

My next connection was with a woman I met through the Open Doors Women's Conference, a one day conference held by one of our local churches every year for all women in the community. Journey, our church, hosts this event in our building. It was there that I met a woman who is involved in a ministry that goes into the brothels just outside Carson City to minister to the girls who work there.  So we began to talk about how I could learn more about their ministry and how it worked
...and I continued to pray.

In the midst of all of the previous 'for such a time as this' encounters, our family moved to a new neighborhood...just across town. I love to walk and I began walking again as soon as we settled in, mapping out a two-mile route that I would soon follow day after day. The hubs came home one day from golf and said one of his golfing buddies told him that someone connected to the brothel, the madam, lived right there in our neighborhood.  I had been walking by her house every day!  As I became aware of the exact location I used this as the prompt to pray for her and the girls at the brothel as I walked past her house. I still do...although my walking routine has become rather sporadic.
 But still...I pray.

One gloriously beautiful day (we have a lot of those here in Northern Nevada), I went out for my usual two-mile walk. As I passed by 'the house' I distinctly heard a still small voice. "Go knock on the door." To which I said,  "What???!!!  Are you kidding me, God?  What the heck am I going to say if she opens the door? Hey...I know who you are?  I mean...really?  I can't even think of anything going on that I could invite her too. She would say no, anyway."  And on and on and on I went. I stood right there on the sidewalk for a solid ten minutes arguing with God. Telling Him all the reasons this was just...well... a bad idea!

But in the end...I went and knocked on the door.  I waited. I knocked again. I rang the doorbell. I waited.  Ok, told me to knock. She has to be here!  So I knocked harder.  It was dark inside from what I could see. It appeared no one was home. Still, I knocked and I waited some more. Surely God would not tell me to knock if she was not there. What sense did that make? But no one answered the door. So finally, feeling a bit dejected...and relieved, I walked back out to the sidewalk.  As I stood on the sidewalk I looked heavenward and said, 'Why??? Why in the world did you tell me to go and knock on her door?  You knew she wasn't why???

Immediately I heard His answer, "Obedience".

Okay, Lord...I hear you.

You see, if I am to be given the honor of walking out this ministry to these women, I first have to learn to step out in obedience to His voice. Even when it makes no sense to me at all! I need to be ready to go when He says, "go"; to do what He tells me to do; to walk in obedience to His word in every area of my life. So that when He is ready to open more doors in answer to walking the next step of this journey, I will be ready and willing to go through the door.  I suspect some of those doors are going to be hard to step through. They may take me way out of my comfort zone. But I believe I am willing and where I am weak and 'unable'...He will enable me.

 I believe He will bring others along-side me to continue on in whatever this ministry will look like. I'm still waiting and praying. I could run ahead and start things...but I know I cannot do this in my own I pray and I wait to hear His voice.
 I believe the primary way He speaks to us is through His Word.  In order to hear His voice clearly, we need to be grounded in His Word.(Click to tweet).  It certainly makes it easier to discern His voice over and against the cacophony of voices that surround us every day.  He may speak to us through a particular verse in scripture, a sermon, a friends advice, or a song we hear on the radio.  God's voice echoes through many different avenues the message He intends for us to hear.  However, it is so very important to be able to discern when those 'outside' voices conflict with God's Word...even the well-meaning ones. For it is then, when there is a direct conflict with the Word, we know that it is not God speaking.

And so...I sit before Him each morning, with coffee, reading glasses, and Bible in hand.  I wait expectantly because I know that He has a plan. I walk and pray...and listen for His voice. I know that in listening to His voice I will find the purpose He has for me...and in finding that purpose I know I will find my voice.(Click to tweet)

How about you? Are you listening for His voice?

Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you. saying, "This is the way; walk in it."   ~Isaiah 30:21

I am linking up with Jo Ann and the other beautiful women to talk about listening for the voice of God...hearing His voice and in that, finding our own voice...sharing our stories. Not to rehash the past...or commiserate over our wounded-ness but with freedom and joy and purpose to share our hearts and allow God to use us...our make a difference, to help women find hope and healing.