Let’s give a warm welcome to Niki as she shares a difficult decision her family faced as part of the Listen Close, Listen Well series. Niki and I connected through the #RaRaLinkup over on Kelly Balarie’s blog, purposefulfaith.com. Join us this Tuesday as we linkup encouragement and uplift Jesus’ Name.
Are You Praying for Revelation?
By Niki Hardy
Have you ever prayed for God to reveal His will for you? Prayed for Him to reveal it in a ridiculously obvious way that leaves no shadow of a doubt that He’s spoken? You know, write it in the sky, or in the froth of your cappuccino?
Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that does it? But that doesn’t seem to stop us praying that He’d PLEASE just SHOW US which way to go! Which job to take, which man to date or which outfit to wear (yes, I’ve prayed that prayer!).
Twelve years ago, my husband Al was in seminary in Oxford, England, and we were madly praying for revelation. We’d been asked to lead a church plant to Charlotte, North Carolina, where a group of people wanted a church with the same DNA as our vibrant London church, and pretty much everyone believed we were the ones to lead it.
Being the couple of deep, unwavering faith that we are, we immediately said, “Are you kidding? No way! Move our three kids across the pond and start a new life? You must be joking. No. Absolutely not.”
But we did agreed to pray about it.
I’d like to say that while in deep meditative prayer, the Lord spoke in a booming, Morgan Freeman-like, audible voice. In truth, I spent two weeks frozen in perpetual indecision, turning in circles like the spinning beach ball of doom I get when my computer jams. One moment I was sure that God wanted us to move, start a new life in the land of the free and resign ourselves to having kids that say “cookie” and “sidewalk” in a Southern drawl, instead of “biscuit” and “pavement”. Then, in the blink of an eye, I’d do a complete 180, and be sure that God’s call was to stay and evangelize London’s unchurched, and raise our kids to drink tea and watch rugby.
One morning the beach ball abruptly stopped spinning.
Standing in the chaos of my daughter’s classroom, I turned to my friend Stephanie, “We’re going,” I calmly announced.
She nodded unemotionally, “Yes, yes you are.”
And that was it. No fireworks. No fanfare. No massive revelation.
We went straight back to tying shoelaces and hanging up rucksacks, before I went home to talk to Al.
The only way I can describe it, is to call it a realization. I had prayed for a revelation, but what I got was a realization. A deep knowing, anchored right in my core that this was right, this was God’s plan, and this was what we would do.
Twelve years later we’re those Brits in Charlotte leading the church that serves English cream tea on their annual retreat. We love it here and so do our kids. We’ve learned the rules of American football and how to order water in an American accent so the baristas at Starbucks understand us, and I think we’re here to stay.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. We’ve had a bumpy road that has included terribly painful times of leadership and financial crisis, my cancer and most recently, Al’s burnout.
Yet it’s been at these darkest times that this deep realization of God’s call has saved me.
I know that I know, that we were called here. That this is where God planted us. Many times, as I’ve been tempted to give up, head back to Blighty and the bosom of our family, this deep realization of God’s will has held me firm and strengthened me.
Are you praying for guidance, clarity or direction? Are you pleading with God to write it in the sky or send a good looking angel into your living room like He did for Mary (Luke 1:26)*? If you are, I feel your pain sweet sister.
I pray that the God who knows your heart, your dreams and your desires, gives you a deep realization of what His will is. I pray that you know, that you know, that you know. I pray that He writes it on your heart where it will not fade, so that when you enter stormy waters, it is there, anchoring you to His will.
*Biblically there is no evidence to confirm Gabriel’s dashing looks, but I’ve always imagine Him as the tall dark and handsome type.
Resting in Realization,
Has God given you a realization that surprised you? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Niki Hardy is a Brit living in Charlotte, NC. A self confessed fresh air junkie, dog lover and tea drinker she is happiest running trails with her dogs. As a cancer survivor with three teenagers, she loves to find humor and grace in the midst of life over on her blog, My Story My God, on Facebook and Twitter.
Read the rest of the Listen Close, Listen Well series below:
Not Ours to Give Away by Tiffany Parry
Lean In My Daughters by Kerrington Sweeney
Listening When It’s Loud by Teri Lynne Underwood
Fear and Doorknobs by Kim Osterholzer
What God Wants by Crystal Hall
Preparing a Place by Abby Banfield
The Luxury of Listening by Ashley Hales
His Grace Isn’t Just for Today by Abby McDonald
The God Dare by Kate Battistelli
Out of Your Comfort Zone by Tracey Casciano
Got Milk? God’s Got Answers! by Christy Mobley
On Hearing God and Being Surprised by Kristin Hill Taylor
Put On Your Listening Ears by Karina Allen
Letting Go in Order to “Go” by Martha Reid
It’s Over by Jami Amerine
When Listening Leads to Obeying by Kristine Brown