I subscribe by email to a few blogs - Charity Singleton Craig, Ann Kroeker, Laura Boggess, and (in)courage are a few of my favorites. Sometimes I’m disappointed when I don’t read a thought or receive an insight that I can apply to my life. In fact, for a period of a few weeks, I quit reading these blogs and a few others, telling myself: “These don’t apply to me.”
I realized after these few weeks that my attitude was distancing me from God, something I didn’t like.
Frustrated with my distance, I was desperate to recapture communion with God that has sustained me through many rough patches since I was a child.
How I Heard God’s Voice Through Phrases
The first thing I tried was reading a few Guidepost magazines that someone donated to the chaplain department of the hospital where I volunteer each week. I thought for sure reading these stories of God at work in other’s lives would surely help. Well, the opposite happened. Reading how God helped others, I thought, “God is helping these people who believe and put their faith and trust in God, just like me. Why don’t I hear God’s voice like I used to? Why doesn’t God answer my prayer for connection? God seemed to answer the prayers of these people in various circumstances and trials – I just want to feel God’s presence?”
God did begin to sense my needs as I read each magazine. I would record a phrase or word from each article that spoke to me. Here is what I recorded from the April, 2009, issue:
- Give me strength.
- Thou art with me.
- Make good come.
- Bless my work.
- Lord, thank you.
- Open my heart.
- I need you.
The first phrase I chose, “Bless my work,” carried me for many days, slowly rebuilding a foundation for a soul in despair that wondered why God felt so distant and far away.
One Saturday, feeling especially disconnected, I became restless, alternately standing up and sitting on the couch. Finally, I felt a stirring in my heart and these words came: “God is here.” I celebrated another moment of connection, knowing these three words came from God. God reached my heart with a personal message.
Upon reflection, I discovered that the blogs I dismissed and thought were not relevant to what I was experiencing did have something to offer. When I read the content more calmly and with an open heart, I saw that they contained scripture references, phrases, and perspectives, just like the Guidepost features. When I isolated these elements and applied them to my life, I gradually felt more connected to God.
At long last, I was back on track with God!!
How I Heard God Through Art
Often when I am caught struggling, in turmoil, where I have no language to express what I am experiencing, I turn to art to give form to my disequilibrium and create an opening through the chaos.
These past few weeks when I felt distanced from God, I went to a box of fabric scraps resting in a box in my office. Choosing a few strips, I held the cloth and wondered how could I represent “connection”? After some consideration, I took a four-inch-long piece of cloth approximately two inches wide, folded it in half length-wise and then tied two knots. I repeated the same folding and knotting sequence with strips of fabric for many days, trying to re-establish my link to God and knot it in place.
In time, my heart opened as I folded and tied. Art was helping my return to God.
I am deeply grateful to God for helping me realize that even though I may not feel God, God is with me and guides me in my search to reach a destination – that destination is always the heart of God.
St. Augustine said, “That which you are seeking is causing you to seek.” During those weeks, I kept seeking God, and God was directing that search, giving me tools to use until I heard God’s voice once again.
Prayer: God, thank you for navigating me through weeks when you felt distant and far away. You were guiding my way, offering ideas that eventually let me hear your voice again. I am so grateful. Amen.