Listening for God in New Ways

Mim, June, and Marian enjoying a picnic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert at Ravinia in the summer of 1973.

In January of 1973, almost 40 years ago, a friend of mine, June Autry, called me with a job tip. That phone call was a gift from God. The job tip led me to a job that lasted only two years, but the phone call initiated a series of events that changed my life forever.

The day after I received the phone call, I drove to Chicago to interview for the job that June had called me about – editorial researcher for The World Book Encyclopedia. I was offered the job, and I stayed with June and her husband Arden for a couple days to look for an apartment and to plan my move to Chicago. One evening I went with June and Arden to a neighborhood Bible Study. That’s where I met Mim. When she heard that I was planning to move to Chicago, she invited me to stay with her until I found an apartment. Going on 40 years, and I still haven’t found my own apartment!

Why am I thinking back to something that happened so long ago? A couple reasons. First, I’m reading a very interesting book by Ann E. Aswegan, Awakening to the Song of Your Self: Revelations by Day, Dreams by Night. Aswegan is a registered nurse and an expert in dreams. The first 14 chapters of her book are about how your subconscious tries to communicate with your conscious self while you are awake. The last 14 chapters are about how your subconscious tries to communicate with you through dreams. Aswegan’s book is very helpful to me in gaining a better understanding of how God can communicate with us through premonitions and coincidences (“by day”) as well as through dreams (“by night”). Each chapter introduces a concept, provides lots of examples – often stories of her clients’ or her own experiences, and ends with several questions to help apply what you’re learning to your own experiences.

The first chapter, “Embarking on an Inner Journey: Finding the Paths That Lead Within,” included the following questions (among others): Describe the people you value and write a few lines about what each one means to you. What do you associate with each one? What feelings do they generate within you? What do they mirror about you?

That was a fun exercise! I made myself stop writing about the people I value after I’d written short paragraphs about eight of my friends and family. (I could have continued for a long time, but I wanted to get back to reading the book. I’ll continue that writing exercise later.) Number one on my list was Mim. That’s partly why I’m thinking about 39½ years ago when I met her.

The other reason is that Mim turned 65 yesterday. When we first met, she was just beginning her career as a registered nurse, working at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. Now we’re starting to talk about retirement – maybe in 5 or 10 years… We’ve lived most of our lives together.

Isn’t it amazing what June’s phone call about a job tip led to?

To quote from my favorite devotional book again, Jesus says:

I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, scriptures. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come… [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, published by Thomas Nelson, p. 216]

Whether it’s a phone call from a friend, an amazing coincidence, a dream, an odd feeling, a scripture reading, a favorite song, a goldfinch singing while perched on a purple thistle, a persistent memory – however God wants to communicate with me, I’m doing my best to listen. With Ann Aswegan’s book, along with Sarah Young’s devotional, I think my hearing is getting a little better.

One last note. Speaking of ways God talks to us, Ken Lund will be leading a retreat at Whispering Winds from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, August 18. The title of the retreat is “Formational Scripture Reading: From Information to Transformation.” Here’s a link to more information about the retreat:   http://whisperingwindsretreathaven.com/publicretreats.html. (You’ll need to scroll down the page to get to this retreat.) Please feel free to call me at 608-212-6197 with questions or to register.

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