My Story: “If only I could hear His voice”

By Denise Rhoades

Eleven years ago was a long period of searching for truth about God to feed my own soul. I’d lost my grandpa. My (now former) fiancé had called off our wedding four months before we were to be married. In short, I was in a state of life- altering confusion.

One night alone in my room kneeling by my bed, when I was at a point of final desperation, I cried out to God, tears waterfalling down my cheeks.

I can’t do this anymore. I have tried to live my life my way and all I have is a mess. Lord, I want you to take charge of my life. I am sorry for all the bad things I’ve done, the self-centered person I’ve been and horrible decisions I’ve made. I want a different life now if it’s not too late.

Early the next morning, just as I was beginning to awake, my eyes not quite open yet, I heard it.

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Different Strokes? Marital Differences as You Look Overseas, Part I

One of the biggest stresses on my engagement wasn’t really the normal stuff–the wedding planning or whatnot. It was a phrase I’d rerun over in my head a hundred times: I don’t feel called overseas. Evangelism is not my gift. My husband-to-be surpassed the one I’d been looking for so many times over. And it really did seem God was leading us to marriage.

But was he?

Was I…selling out? I’d been headed in an overseas direction for years. What was I missing?

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FREE PRINTABLE INFOGRAPHIC: 5 WAYS TO PRAY FOR GOD’S WILL AS YOU CONSIDER GOING OVERSEAS

It was a big “aha!” for me when I realized God wanted me to do his will even more than I did.

I used to think I needed to be alert for the smallest sign, the slightest indication of what He wanted. Wasn’t that being surrendered? I thought. But for me, I was a bit afraid of missing the signs. I ended up traipsing around on spiritual eggshells, deciphering some Christian version of the tea leaves.

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He Said/She Said. You Say? “How can I know if God’s calling/leading me overseas?” Part II

Missed Part I? Grab it here.

Years ago my husband had a friend who was contemplating starting his own non-profit (oh. And he had a family with six kids. So there was that.)

Our friend decided to take forty days to fast and pray, in search of what he should do.

At the end of all this fasting and praying, my husband wanted to know: Did God show you what to do?

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He Said/She Said. You Say? “How can I know if God’s calling/leading me overseas?” Part I

I’ve written before that my husband’s and my decision to shuffle our family of six overseas wasn’t perhaps as clear as we would have liked. But when I finally arrived overseas, y’know the funny thing? Everyone’s story and path on how they got overseas was completely different.

None of us had heard an audible voice, to my knowledge. That would have been nice, considering all the times you wonder what in the world you’ve gotten yourself into; all the times you’re second-guessing because the work and the results didn’t look how you thought. Did I hear you right?

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Does What I Want Matter? On Desire & Dreams (…and 7 Reasons not to Go Overseas)

It had been one of those days.

I was attempting to stomach a failure of mine in my job, and I sat at the kitchen table with my husband, shaking my head. There may have been some tears involved. I explained that this past year, one of God’s key messages for me seemed this idea of making “no graven image”. I had to be really careful, I told him, not to remake God as “the God of what I want”–that Divine Waiter.

But my husband’s hazel eyes leveled with my blue ones. “I think you also have to be careful not to make an image of Him as the God who represents whatever you don’t want.”

Huh.

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God’s Will–and the Clarity I Didn’t Have

We weren’t clearly “called” to Africa. That I know of.

I was thinking of this the other night, as friends and I gathered around steaming plates held on our laps with friends who’d just returned from a “vision trip”–hopefully helping them discern whether God was calling them to India. Unfortunately, clarity wasn’t showing up.

Maybe God will correct my thinking in the future. But there my husband and I were in Little Rock, with a bunch of little kids, contemplating whether or not to, you know, sell 70% of our stuff and wheel our bags to a continent I was sure was just buzzing with malaria and typhoid.

I say that—but honestly, I was thrilled. Africa was a dream come true, one I’d put on the shelf in the “maybe God will explain why” category of my mental Dewey decimal system. And as we discussed it, I don’t think I’ll forget what my husband said one night.

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