Episode 12: Jenn Uren on When I Heard God's VoiceApr 20, 2021
Jenn Uren talks about times when she has heard God's voice in her own life sharing about times when she listened - and times when she didn't.
Links to resources mentioned:
Episode 3: Overwhelm
Episode 9: Connected Parenting
Emily P Freeman: Episode 25 - Come Home to Yourself
This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 12
If you are caught up with the conversations that we've been having here at this mom knows, then you heard Deidra McGeever share in Episode 10, about how she literally lost her voice for six years. For six years she didn't speak, she was told she would never speak again, but God healed her. And she has a new perspective on what it means to find your voice. And then in Episode 11, Mary Ethel Eckard, shared with us about learning to hear God's voice. Well, today, I'll share with you about how I have heard God's voice in my own life and what has happened when I ignored it. And what has happened when I've listened.
I think, I think we can all relate to the idea of a gut feeling or intuition. You know, when something pushes you to say something or do something, or even the opposite can be true and you find yourself being cautious about something and you're just not sure why.
Well, let me give you an example. When my first two kids were little, we lived in a townhouse and our front door opened to a short stretch of street that dead ended right in our house. The only cars that drove along it were the four neighbors in the building across from us, because that's how they got to their garages and I had a pretty good sense of when they came and went. So most days, we were able to play in the street with great freedom and no problem. We would draw sidewalk chalk, we would get out the tricycles, we blow bubbles, but we had no yard so to play in this little stretch of street was kind of nice. Well, one afternoon, we were playing outside, and I was suddenly overcome with this overwhelming feeling that we needed to go inside right now. So I quickly gathered the kids and despite their protests, I took them into the house. We sat at the kitchen table coloring, and I was really wrestling with why was it that I had brought them inside. I felt like I was actually being irrational because there was no rational reason in the world for me to have brought them inside. The weather was nice, it was quiet, nothing was going on.
And then all of a sudden, full speed ahead, a pickup truck came down that dead end street and drove down the embankment between our dead end street and the street that ran perpendicular to ours. That pickup truck plowed right where my kids had been sitting just a few minutes earlier. He never slowed down. And had I ignored that impulse, my kids might very well have been killed that afternoon. It was that bad.
I believe that I heard God's voice that afternoon. And because I listened, we were protected. The thing is, I don't think we always get the reason for why a strange impulse for thought crosses our mind, sometimes we just follow it and we have no idea was it for a reason or not. But I do think that from time to time, we get a glimpse so that we can begin to confidently know that we are hearing god, it's part of building our faith.
So let me tell you about another time when I rationalized away that overwhelming feeling and did not follow it. I had an older laptop, and it was pretty finicky and slow. And slow like molasses slow. So we we finally purchased a replacement. And I was in the process of copying the files off the old laptop onto an external hard drive so I could transfer them to the new computer. And I had it sitting on the kitchen counter out of the way so that it didn't get bumped. And once it was all cleared off, we were going to have it returned to factory settings and we were going to donate it to a place that just wanted a computer to run a video that needed to be played on a monitor. And that it could do - it was sufficient for that. So we were excited that it was going to get used again and have this purpose. And I suddenly was overcome with this feeling that I should move the computer off the counter. So I looked at it and the progress of copying the data was about 80%. And I'd already bumped the cord once which caused the whole thing to start over and so I didn't want to risk that. So I decided to just let it finish it was almost done.
At this point, the baby was still napping. The older kids were still at school they were going to be home shortly and so I thought if I just let it finish transferring I can get it all cleaned up while everything is calm and quiet and we can transition into the afternoon. So I went to the living room to do something else while it finished.
And just a few minutes later I heard the loudest crash you have ever heard. I peeked into that kitchen, and I saw that the cabinet full of dishes have fallen off the wall, it had come crashing down. And it was so - it was hard enough that it shipped the tile floor, and it crashed into the front of the stove causing the whole glass stove door - oven door - to shatter. There were broken dishes and broken glasses, everywhere and piece of cabinet. Things that shut down the hallway all the way to the front door thing it shot into the rooms on either side, it was a royal mess. And my laptop bore the brunt of it. It was destroyed. Had I listened to that overwhelming thought it would have been perfectly fine. And even though the cabinet still would have fallen, the laptop would have been protected. And we would have been able to donate it where we wanted to donate it. Now as it turned out, I was able to hook it up to a monitor and still transfer off my data. So that was a blessing.
But I ignored that voice. And the more I did this, the more I rationalized away the things that I thought I was hearing in my gut, the less I was hearing God's voice. And I stopped, stopped hearing it. This went on for several years. And so if you've listened to my story of overwhelm in Episode Three, then you know how things just kept piling on my shoulders, leaving me feeling buried. I just kept taking on more and taking on more. Well, the other part about that season was that the more things I had vying for my attention, from, you know, my thoughts, my time, the harder it was to hear God's speak. Because all these things were just loud, it was just loud and chaotic, and it drowned out that quiet voice of God.
Until I started to hear it again. I had sensed really strongly that I needed to get caught up on a whole variety of personal projects that - they needed to be addressed sooner or later. So I could do them now and remove a burden. Or I could ignore them and let them get even more out of control. But I was already overwhelmed, and so the idea of digging into these projects was equally overwhelming. And out of that overwhelm and feeling stuck, I ignored - I ignored that feeling. And I ignored those projects. And then we had our surprise adoption, which I shared about in Episode Six.
And so I was caught off guard when I didn't have to be. I had ignored the voice of God. And I could have been so much better prepared if I had not done that. So as I started to dig myself out of this overwhelm, I was keenly aware that I also wanted to figure out how I could return to a place where I was hearing God's speaking again, where I was sensing the direction and knowing that what I was doing was in alignment with what he, what he had for me what he wanted me to do.
Part of how I had gotten into this place of overwhelm was not knowing how to say no. And in order to get out of the overwhelm, I needed to learn how to do just exactly that. And that meant that meant getting out of some things that I committed to and I just wasn't sure how to start. At the adoption support group that I shared about in episode nine, Hyacynth told us one week about a podcast episode that she had listened to that was very impactful for her. It was one I'd never heard of. It was Emily P Freeman's podcast The Next Right Thing. It was Episode 25, which was entitled "Come Home to Yourself." And it was exactly what I needed to hear.
That episode set into motion me learning to say no, me learning to remove things from my plate, me learning to return to a much simpler way. So as this happened, the chaos went away. And so that volume of noise was turned down. And I began to hear the quiet voice of God again. The Next Right Thing - both the podcasts and the subsequent book - became a roadmap of sorts for me to give words to things I've been feeling.It gave permission for me to stop things and it gave me room to dream again. It gave space for me to move forward.
So, when I began to get an overwhelming feeling that I needed to be ready to move, you can bet that this time I listened. Now I, I had no idea if get ready to move was a literal move, or if it was a figurative move, but it didn't matter. I started simplifying. I started purging our possessions, making things easier at home. I tackled it all - our time, our energy, our possessions, our decor - everything was eligible for the chopping block. And in the fall of 2019, we took a five-week road trip and began to dip our toe into the waters of what we had been dreaming about, which was life on the road. Our dream is to get an RV and travel the country for a year. But with older kids and owning a home, it's been a little bit of a process. So this was a great experience for us. We got to get a taste of it, and we liked it.
So in February of 2020, we got our house ready, and we put it on the market we listed it Valentine's Day weekend. And we were full of anticipation. So many of our friends had told us they sold their house fast. They had multiple offers, they went over their asking price. And so we just assumed that the same thing would happen for us. But it didn't. We had a decent number of showings. But it was interesting, the feedback was kind of silly. Like one person would say "we only want three bedrooms" (Yeah, but you knew we had four bedrooms when you decided to look at our house). Or "we don't want to back up to an open space" which was kind of a highlight of the listing. (And again, something they knew before they came over.) Or someone said "if the kitchen counter was granite, we would have bought it" - you know what, you can change that out.
Other, other comments and feedback was just insulting. "There are obviously too many people living in this house." Yes, because we are a family of seven, and we actually live here. Or someone said "there are too many boxes in the basement." You know, maybe just maybe that's because we are moving and we have started to pack. It was really crazy. And when we didn't get offers like we were anticipating, I began to question if I had heard God clearly. Finally, we got an offer that checked most of our boxes, and we sold our house.
So we were closer to fulfilling our dream of life on the road. But the timing still wasn't right for a whole variety of reasons particularly related to our older kids and college, we needed to keep residency for a little longer. But now we didn't have a house, we needed to figure out where to live. And so this is where God showed his hand so clearly. And he confirmed that I had heard his voice correctly.
So one day, I noticed a friend was starting to sell furniture online. Now, we're not talking like pieces of decor and you know a little bit of a purge, but we're talking like big pieces, like you're getting ready for a move. And so I used my superpower of being inquisitive, or, as my husband calls it, being nosy and I sent her a message and I said, "hey, what I see you selling does not look like a simple spring cleaning. Are you guys moving?" And surprisingly, her answer was, "yes, we are getting ready to."
But there was one catch. They were not ready to sell their house and they wanted to rent it out. So I jokingly told her that we were looking to rent but that their house was probably much more than we needed. But she got super excited and asked if we could hop on a call to talk about it. So we did. In that call, she told me that they were planning to go overseas and one of their adult teens didn't want to go she wanted to stay in the house. But how do you rent out part of a house to strangers and leave your daughter to live with them? That that's really hard to do. So they kind of had this short list of a handful of families with whom this arrangement could potentially work. But the problem was to their knowledge. None of these families were looking to rent a house - and we were on that shortlist.
So when she found out that we were looking to rent and we were on that shortlist, she got pretty excited. Now it was a bigger house. Our goal was to downsize and so going into a bigger house was not what we were looking for. We were looking to save money, downsize and simplify, and I was concerned about what the cost would be. So when we told them what our number was for rent, she clapped her hands and said, that's exactly the number we have in mind that we need.
Oh, and did I mention yet that this friend was the same Hyacynth that helped us with support after our adoption? So, just as God had used her to help us in our miracle story, God was now using us in their miracle story of moving overseas during a pandemic.
I'm still listening for God's voice. And sometimes it's that small nudge to send a message. Sometimes it's a big ask, like selling a house. But when God is behind it, there is blessing in listening and obeying. So I'd love to hear your stories. Where have you heard God's voice in your life and what has happened when you listened? What happened when you didn't? Let me know.