You may think this is weird, but I hear from God. I have thoughts that seem to come from nowhere, and they are always aligned with the essence of Jesus — I know this through reading the Bible. Often, I hear from God while I am helping someone.
One day in 2013, I saw on the news that Syrian children were being killed, and I wondered how people could be so evil. I fell to the floor in anguish and began to pray, pleading with God to help them. That’s when it happened: My heart started racing with the type of heartbeat you have when you see a toddler grabbing a pot of boiling water from the stove. And then came the words, “Be a soldier!”
Confused, I spoke with a friend whose husband is a pastor, and even she thought it was odd. Could God be asking me to join the military? It seemed like such a strange request.
“Be a soldier! Be a soldier! Be a soldier!”
I googled “be a soldier.” You know what popped up first? A website called Soldiers for Christ.
I was still confused but knew God was calling me to somehow recruit people to Jesus. However, that was incongruent with my lifestyle. I worked in the corporate environment. I was married and had two children. I lived a typical life. Sure, I believed in Jesus and went to church, but that about summed it up. But after I heard the words, “Be a soldier,” I felt different.
I always felt as though the negative things on the news — the things that disturbed me so greatly — could be changed by God. But, as I read the Bible more, God began to change my thinking. I started feeling as though the negative things on the news could be changed by God working through me!
I became concerned about parents who didn’t read their Bibles or teach their children about Jesus. One day, as I was praying for them, my heart began to race in that all-too-familiar way, and I heard these words in my heart: “I want you to write a book about raising godly children.”
I knew this was somehow part of what God meant when He said, “Be a soldier!” But why me? Though I was changing, I was still so unqualified to teach people how to raise godly children.
Shortly after, I heard a preacher say, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” I sure hoped the last part of that statement was true. I talked with my husband about God’s request, and he was supportive. So I immediately began working on the book, all while trying to believe God could do this through me.
But I quickly realized one of the ways God was going to qualify me was to teach me to trust Him completely; the next week, I lost my job. I was devastated and confused. Since I was doing what God was leading me to do, shouldn’t everything fall into place perfectly? Yet I knew in order to trust Him, I’d have to experience some challenges.
The company I worked for also owned the car I drove, so we took a chunk out of our savings and purchased a used vehicle. But shortly after we bought it, it broke down. I couldn’t understand how God expected me to write a book without the additional income and a broken down vehicle.
And God blessed us with a severance package from my company. I didn’t have to find employment right away, and I could stay home and work on the book. I was even able to pay off my student loan debt. We were starting to see that God was working through what seemed to be chaos.
But Why the Car?
Well, I learned that God doesn’t always consult me in all His plans, but His plans are always perfect.
Along with my 4-year-old daughter, we took the car to the shop. After they fixed the vehicle. A lady who worked there gave me a carnation. I asked if they always gave their customers flowers. She seemed to be glad someone else thought it was odd. She whispered that she had never been asked to give out flowers before; she was simply told to hand flowers out to ladies that day. I chuckled, thanked her, and handed the carnation to my daughter.
On the way home, my daughter played with the flower and said, “I can’t wait to sleep with it tonight.”
“Honey, you can’t sleep with a flower,” I said, somewhat amused at her plan.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because the petals will fall off,” I said and explained that we’d put it in a vase when we got home.
“It won’t want to be all alone in a vase of water.”
“But the water will help it live longer,” I reassured her.
I explained how flowers needed to remain attached to the vine to live.
“If I was a flower,” she sadly said, “I would always remain on the vine.”
I was frustrated by the whole situation. Why did I have to go through all this when I could have been home working on the book?
Weeks later, I asked God to help me with the title of the book. I prayed and sat in silence, waiting for Him to give me the title. Finally, my heart started thundering, tears rolled down my face, and these words resounded in my heart: “Training Your Children to Remain in the Vine.”
I was amazed, but I still didn’t understand the depth of what that title meant. I got up from the prayer and turned on the television. Joyce Meyer was on, and guess what she had next to her? Yep — a flower!
Since that little incident with my daughter, I hadn’t been too excited to see flowers, but at that moment I was intrigued to hear what Joyce Meyer had to say.
She was teaching from the Bible — John 15. She discussed how the gardener represented God, the vine represented Jesus, and the branches represented us. My mind kept going back to that day on the way home from the mechanic. I remembered saying, “In order for a flower to live, it has to stay on the vine.” Suddenly, I thought, “In order for me to live, I have to stay connected to Jesus!”
My heart started racing, and I felt so energized! I ran to my Bible and read all of John 15 intently, and this verse struck me:
In John 15:5 (Jesus states), “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
That verse became the basis of my entire book. As long as I stay connected to Jesus, He will show me how to lead people to Him — how to be a soldier — how to let Him work through me to change a hurting world.
God ensured we had enough money for the entire year I worked on the book. The day I finished, I prayed, asking Him what to do next. Within three hours of that prayer, a company called. The representative said someone had given her my name as a possible candidate for a new position. They wanted to know if I was ready to go back to work.
Yes! Thank you Jesus!
God wasn’t just teaching me to write a book; He was teaching me how to fully rely on Him. There hasn’t been anything in my life quite as sweet as knowing that I am so loved and cared for by God. Sometimes people confuse my peace as a lack of concern when hardships arise, but I wish they could understand the depth of my trust in Jesus. He has taught me so much along this journey, and I look forward to how He plans to use me to help others understand the depth of His love.
I wonder what God will say to me next?