This week Sarah shares her story and talks about how she learned that God speaks.

If you are someone who likes to have things all ‘mapped out’, enjoy planning ahead and like to be in control of situations, when something unexpected hits it can really rock the boat! This was me a couple of years ago. It was a year to the day exactly after I had finished my last day of teaching to become a full time mum; a decision we had taken in faith and believed was right for our family. That evening my husband Gabriel came home from work with the news that his role was being made redundant. I fell into a deep panic, with stress levels like I had never experienced previously. I was so sick with worry I pretty much stopped eating for about a week; it was at that time I was trying to breastfeed our youngest and so the situation became distressing all round.

Thankfully my Heavenly Father began to gradually pull me out of this darkness and despair. As I started to pray, I felt a physical unburdening of the load and stress I had been carrying, this verse from Matthew 11:28-30 brought me to a place of calm:

Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.

God is very capable of removing the heavy burden of hopelessness and replacing our load with true rest in Him.

I found that wherever I turned I knew Gods voice speaking to me directly, clearly and vividly about our situation in a number of different ways, giving me peace, hope, comfort and reassurance. Since having kids I have found God speaking to me frequently through children’s book, a favourite in our house is ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ and one day soon after we were reading it and as per usual all shouted the line: ‘We’ve got to go through it!’ I knew this was God highlighting our time of discomfort, that it had purpose, it was necessary and that we had no option but to trust him.

That summer we had been making our tent water tight and Gabriel had bought a tin of fabsil to coat the canvas; it had been left on our window sill and one morning at breakfast God caught my attention with the words on the side of the tin which were in large bold text and read Universal Protector. It reminded me of how our God is the God of time and eternity; He is sovereign over all. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, which is one of my favourite verses in the bible, it encourages us to look upwards at the big picture of Gods glory in comparison to our own small issues and gives us a promise of His eternal love.

My biggest fear had been that we would lose the house and not be able to pay the mortgage. It was one thing I realised I was not willing to trust God with or let go of, but I felt Gods challenge very clearly not to give Him an ultimatum and that if we had to give up the house then that would be in His best plans. It brought me to a place of laying it down and saying: ‘Ok God I trust you with that’. Then I was at a Hungry Worship evening at church a few weeks later and Beth Howard sang a prophetic song which I knew was God speaking to me directly. The words she kept repeating were ‘I won’t leave you by the side of the road’. I knew then that God had our backs and would answer our prayers.

By His grace we experienced His provision for us, and since that time He has prompted me with those lessons I learnt of trusting him. I am still not good at waiting, but now I can find the place of ­­peace and contentment quicker. In Philippians 4:12-13, Paul expresses:

“I know now what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

In our Christian lives, we are always on a journey of faith and can continually be discovering new levels of trust. When God answers prayer and the seemingly large obstacles are removed, it is important to take time to appreciate the moment and not move on straight away to the next stress on the to-do list however big or small but to just dwell in His grace.

God’s plans and timings are perfect; He has the best for us and that can often be by kicking us out of our comfort zones because in that place of comfort we can sometimes stop listening to Him or seeking His kingdom. We can spend a lot of time fixated of certain hopes and dreams and when they don’t work out how we planned it can knock us back, or we can come to our Heavenly Father and despite trials be surprised by the inner peace we find in Him.