While I’m in Africa, I’m having some friends post over here on the blog! And how fun and fortunate that this first one actually lives in (South) Africa! I learned from this post that we have something in common: we both thought high school was less than enjoyable. 🙂 Fran is super fun, writes hilarious things about being single (you know I love me some single-sass blog posts), and describes herself this way: Equal parts sassy, kind and fun, I tumble through life a writer, thinker and sushi eater. I reckon when we are generous, cool things happen. Running, writing and Jesus keep me sane. Somedays I eat banana chips for dinner and some days I drink wine with my friends while watching the Cape Town sunsets.
Catch the updates at: franthring.com
Soak up this story from Fran:
When I was a child I used to climb a hill to talk to God. I would put on my Tommie Tekkies (the pair with holes in the toes) and a zip up wind breaker. I’d take the dogs – Dad always said, “go, but take the dogs.” I’d climb through a barbed wire fence, run down the hill, avoid the thistles and cattle dung and jump over the stream.
After this, I’d climb until I came to an outcrop of rocks. When I found what I thought was the perfect rock I’d sit on its bronze edge with my legs hanging off and my socks poking through the toes of my shoes like two brightly coloured worms. Then, I’d talk to God.
It wasn’t fancy. There were no Dear Heavenly Lords. There were no Our Father Who Art in Heavens, it was… a conversation in my head. I wanted to talk to him, so I did. I talked about Mom’s job, or our farm. I asked that I would win Monopoly; I told him what I did at school. When I was done, or cold, I’d pull my dangling legs up and head home. And everything in my small world felt better.
Does God talk back?
As an adult I’ve struggled to keep this small and simple trust in the goodness of God and the fact that he cares enough to talk back.
I was raised in a church where people stood in circles and my Mum played the guitar. The adults gave me presents (I was cute) and every week I fell asleep during Bible study. When you grow up in a church like that God is as much a part of your day as puzzles, plastic plates and bedtime stories. Talking to him and believing in him isn’t strange.
When I became a teenager, I disliked High School and I started to question the notion of a God who cares. People did horrible things and I wondered, is God really going to help me? I would pray, but hear no response.
In 2011, a few years after high school, I started to consider going to Bible School in Australia. I wasn’t sure; it was expensive and far away. When I mentioned my uncertainty to someone at church the notion of God talking came up again:
“Just pray and see what God says,” they responded.
“I AM praying,” I told the person.
“Oh… ok… I’m sure you will hear soon.”
I went to Bible College. Nothing tangible told me I made the “right” decision- no clouds in the sky or talking donkeys pointed out my way. I met wonderful people, I learned a lot and I worked hard. I dropped the issue of hearing from God for a while until half way through the year when it came up again.
God does talk!
I was in Brisbane with my friend Amy for our half year break when I had a “God does talk” experience I’ll never forget. It was a Sunday and the people we were staying with for the break took us to their church for the morning.
Amy and I were seated like guests of honour at the front of the church. When the service ended the pastor came to talk to us.
“Biblical college students… Ahhhh….can I pray for you?” he asked.
“Yes,” what Bible College student says no to prayer?
We closed our eyes. Suddenly I heard the pastor utter two words: “creative writing.” I looked up.
He peered at me, the next words he said was: “have you traveled a lot?”
“Uh, yes all over… and I often write about it.”
The man had my attention, traveling and creative writing are two of my greatest passions. The Pastor closed his eyes for a moment longer, “I feel like God is going to use you to speak to young people and you’re going to write a lot.”
I grinned and nodded. I already knew this in my heart, but having a complete stranger say these things encouraged me. The pastor had known nothing, he could never have thought this up on his own, but God didn’t know nothing. God knew a lot.
Hearing from God
As I’ve walked longer in my faith I’ve realised hearing from God isn’t about having all the answers to my decisions, or receiving a loud yes to my long list of life requests. God isn’t as simple as we want to make him.
I’ve learned hearing from God is an inexplicable connection between God’s spirit and your spirit. God’s “voice,” although maybe that’s not the right word for it, is often quiet and subtle. It’s the tap on the shoulder to remind you to care for someone or push through when you feel tired. Even though sometimes it is an experience like the prayer in Brisbane, many times it’s a sense of nearness, peace and perspective when everything around you is up in arms.
My relationship with God isn’t perfect. Many times I’m angry and frustrated. Often, I wish he would speak louder, or differently or more clearly. And yet, the same God I spoke to on the mountain waits for me daily. Patient and available, when I come to him, I find in his own way he always lifts my head.