I'm not a fan of the four letter word, can't. My children know that I don't let that word float around because of its carcinogen effects. However, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to listen to the voice of God. He is real, and He is speaking to us. The world is LOUD and full of distractions, and if you don't get still and make time to hear, you won't; I know this the hard way. But to encourage you, I wanted to share several ways in which I have heard the Lord communicate to me clearly during a process of humbling, meditating on His word and seeking His face over the past five years.
When I last wrote on this topic, Called Back To Center Stage, I knew over the summer that God was calling me to this screenplay project, but didn't know how all this would play out. It was a challenge to find time to work on this project, while juggling other looming projects. We had water seeping up from under our driveway, our oldest was looking for a car, we were still going back and forth with our insurance company to honor their obligations of covering my medical costs from the beginning of the year, and had major issues with our large deck out back. Truthfully, I felt a bit overwhelmed. After leaving a Wisdom for Wives class, my friend, Karen, asked if I was going to be working with Special Events again in the fall. I replied with an almost certain, "yes" because not only did I love the women I worked and formed relationships with, but our family needed all the income we could earn. It seemed like a spiritual no brainer. When I got in the car, I became convicted.
Don't ignore conviction; it's there to help you, unlike condemnation.
Not in an audible voice, but His voice, nonetheless, I hear Him say, "Weren't you going to ask Me about this?" I became aware that I hadn't prayed about that decision like I should have. Not only that, my boss always asked us to pray about being on the team, and I was a team leader, so I should have been praying about it fervently. I apologized and repented, and asked Him to show me clearly what to do. Trainings were coming up and I needed to let my boss know asap because I was one of the trainers. A week later, on a Tuesday morning, after praying specifically about it again, I heard a message from Ron Hutchcraft on Victory 91.5 and knew the Lord was speaking directly to my heart and answering my prayers. With tears, I felt He was calling me to leave my job of fourteen years, before having it all figured out, and I needed to trust Him and be obedient to His voice. What I feared most was missing the call of God.
What I feared most was missing the call of God.
As I was working on Eyes In Nuremberg, set in 1938 before the onset of WWII, I was concerned, and rightly so, on how to write this story in an authentic way that communicates what life was life for people of that time period and generation. I asked the Lord to help me write with an authenticity and understanding of the culture and times. Then I waited for His response.
During the mid summer, I had noticed a new face, smiling and waving as I drove through our neighborhood. She was out walking for exercise and would politely wave to me as I drove by. I immediately took a liking to her. When the plumbing truck was parking out front of our house. I saw her walking by and was concerned the driver might not see her. I walked up and introduced myself. As she told me her name, Christiane, I noticed her accent. Turns out she was born in Berlin in 1937. I about fell over at the shock, and shared the story I was writing. I invited her over for coffee, and we bonded. We started having regular coffee dates, and she began to teach me about life in Germany during that time. Not only did God provide right in front of our house, but He blessed me with a new friend.
Her account of being forced by the Nazis to leave their hunting lodge home, when she was a child, is still a very vivid memory. She said it was the coldest day of the year when they were forcibly placed on an open top truck to be driven off and then dropped off in the middle of nowhere during winter. Christiane was separated from her mother at one point. Thankfully, they were reunited and taken in by a Priest, who knew of her father, a famous photographer.
Here I am with Christiane at the Christkindl Market at Atlantic Station.
Later, I heard Him speak to me through a persistent urge to email the brother of my step mother, who is a serious stamp collector, I had wanted to reach out to him for years, to ask him some stamp related questions, but never got around to it. Then I felt this strong push to finally sit down and go through my stamp collection and reach out to him.
A week later, I received a beautiful letter from him, with stamps from Germany around the time of WW11. Please keep in mind, I never mentioned the project I was working on, never asked for stamps, never even asked about that time period or region. BUT GOD! I'm so glad I listened to that push, because that is often how He speaks to us through His Holy Spirit. It's hard to fully explain, but I'm overwhelmed with His willingness to answer specific prayers. In this case, I thought looking through my stamp collection and writing an email would distract me from the task I knew God had given me, so I was surprised to feel such a strong, continual push to contact him. NOW, I understand why!
When I opened one of the packs of stamps, I was struck with a sickening feeling. Grieved for all the people affected by this infamous man's ideologies and the lives tormented and lost. Somehow, just holding actual stamps from the Nazi era, gave me a great sense of the fear and foreboding that these images represent, and a tiny glimpse of what life might have been like for the average German citizen, Jewish and some Gentile alike. My writing took on a new level of importance and duty.
Back in the spring, I felt led to join the Atlanta Writers Club. What has amazed me is how many of the speakers have spoken directly to where I am in this process. Laura Harrington taught a Screenplay workshop at the spring conference, Tamlin Hall led a four part series on screenwriting and then there was a lecture by Dr. Steven Nicklas, author of Memories of a Lost Generation: German War Letters, 1939 - 1945. His topic was on the use of random sampling techniques to address historic stereotypes. I am currently in David Fulmer's Fiction workshop and am going to a screening of Regina Mason's film, Gina's Journey: The Search for William Grimes, in celebration of Black History Month. Again and again, I see how God is directing my steps as I listen to His voice.
During this process, I have realized that God meets me when I listen and step out in faith and obedience FIRST. I find that His method of operation is to tell me, "You go first, and I will meet you there." Several times, I found myself avoiding my writing space, for fear of staring at a blank screen. I cleaned and straightened the house, telling myself these things needed to be done. I told myself that at least I wouldn't waste time looking at the laundry. I could at least finish that job. Then I felt this call to be still and listen, to sit down and type. I stopped procrastinating and took a seat at my desk. And it happened! He met me there every time, and the story started to come into view day by day. Now it is in the editing process, but what a journey!
His method of operation is to tell me, "You go first, and I will meet you there."
Hope this encourages you to get still and listen to Him. You won't regret it if you do.
Christina is an
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