Listen & Follow May 25, 2017
I feel like a little child, fidgeting in my seat and learning how to listen to my teacher. It’s hard to focus on what my teacher is saying because my mind and body both want to take off and play. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m approaching my sixth decade of life. I’m still like a kindergartener sitting before my teacher, the Holy Spirit. Learning to listen to the gentle whisper of the Spirit is like focusing on one instrument in a beautiful symphony.
My teacher has the patience of one who is teaching delicate hand sewing. The Holy Spirit teaches me in petite, but significant steps, making sure I am ready for each one. Even when I take a detour, thinking I am going the right direction, He is gentle and loving, allowing me to see the ultimate folly of the direction I chose. I’ve just completed one of those diversions, as it turns out, a ten-year detour. That’s why I am feeling like a little child; I want to quiet myself and listen more carefully to the sweetness of the Spirit’s wise guidance.
In my youth, I lived in the emotional trauma and overwhelming pain of physical and sexual abuse. I lost the innocence and fun of childhood in the constant fear of what I knew was coming. My God was with me, loving me and giving me strength to survive. As a young adult, I was in counseling for twelve years. I also delved into the Bible, the Words of my teacher. I began to listen, to soak in the love of my God.
I had such low self-esteem that I needed affirmation all day long. Even when I felt the love of God reigning in my heart, I had self-doubts that grated against the truth of my value. I struggled with hearing the compassion of God and who He made me to be. I demolished the idea that I had any skills and found myself under dark clouds of despair at least twenty-five days a month. I turned to my old self-comfort, numbing my emotions with TV and constant eating. At long last, I chose to take baby steps toward a healthy life. I began to listen and receive the love of God, to trust Him even more than I leaned toward self-incrimination. One day, I realized that I only felt those dark clouds hanging over me one day a month; that’s a huge turn-around!
When I chose to listen to the Spirit and follow His guidance, I grew in personal skills and slowly learned to embrace the value that God placed in me. I heard His sweet voice encouraging me to write. I slowly explored that, learning that I could only write well when I am at peace with my Lord and am actively listening to His Spirit. I and have been surprised ever since. My first book, Flame of Healing: A Daily Journey of Healing from Abuse and Trauma Healing is blessing people in Canada, United States, England, Northern Ireland, El Salvador, Australia, and Jamaica, through a precious retreat ministry for healing from sexual abuse issues, called Grief to Grace. Good Samaritan Ministries is also embracing the precious healing devotions in Flame of Healing.
I have learned so much in this process; the biggest lesson is how I feel when I really listen to my teacher, the Holy Spirit, and follow Him. For so long, I had felt discord within my spirit. I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough! I am finally letting go of every plan conceived in my own head, and saying instead, “OK, Lord, I’ll follow you.” Oh my, a profound peace has settled into my soul, filling me with great joy! I am learning the blessings are just beginning.
Life is a process; even when I feel like a squirming child, my God loves me and prepares great and wondrous things for me. I am still learning to quiet my thoughts and listen to the gentle whisper of my teacher, the Spirit of the Living God. I feel His tender words pressing into my spirit, “You are becoming the encourager I created you to be, even encouraging yourself in my grace.”
One of the most remarkable things I’ve learned is Listening Prayer. I have been blessed over and over by this and have even been able to bless other people as I listened to the Lord Jesus for how He wanted to bless them. The following is the Listening Prayer I had today:
I began with nothing in particular in mind; I had no idea of the direction the Lord would lead me. I merely asked Jesus for His wisdom and love. The first thing that came to mind was a triangle. So I drew it:
The when I looked at it, I drew a complete blank. So I listened to the Spirit; he said to draw hair. I accomplished that and listened again.
He told me to add bangs, so I did.
Then, I felt the impression to add the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
When I came to drawing the mouth, I was confused about what type of mouth to draw. I asked the Lord to show me. He said to draw a large, open mouth, so I did.
And finally, the Lord lessened the focus on the bottom portion of the triangle. I made the adjustment.
As I drew this final picture, my hand wobbled a bit and it brought dimension to the picture. The Lord asked me how I was feeling. I wrote:
I have a voice and a message of healing I feel like I’m squeeking out my voice, even though I’m trying so hard to shout it from the rooftops. I’m hearing the pain of thousands crying in their despair. I know that despair; it’s like being held underwater and not being able to breathe.
Then, in a visceral shift, the Lord blessed me and I wrote:
Oh Jesus, I feel you tenderly reassuring me that my voice and my message of healing in your love and grace will be heard with increasing intensity.
Listening prayer allows me and trains me to listen to the Spirit. I write or draw whatever comes to mind and listen to the next step. Sometimes, Scripture comes to mind and I look up the passage and write it down. The Lord always draws out my emotions and then blesses me more than I even anticipated. He helps me to be ready to follow His guidance.
Submitted By: Freda Emmons
Freda experienced physical and sexual abuse. She was broken and confused for years. As a young woman, she sought counseling for 12 years. When she began to grow in her Christian faith, she realized the depth of healing in the words of the Bible. She then combined tiny steps of healing with those comforting Scriptures and wrote Flame of Healing: A Daily Journey of Healing from Abuse and Trauma, a devotional with a journal, for in-depth, personal healing. Flame of Healing is helping people in 6 countries to heal from deep emotional pain from abuse and trauma.
Freda is also an inspirational speaker, addressing issues of abuse and trauma with compassion. She is a wife of 39 years, mother of three adult children, grandmother of one, and a child of God.
Her second book, Resurrection Hope, is a Christian novel about Heaven, angels, and living in the Presence of God. Freda’s website is: www.fredaemmons.com