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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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37

Tuesday 6th February 2018

Which voice do you hear?

Today’s post will likely elicit one of three reactions. You will either:

1 – Get that freaked-out feeling you get while watching a horror movie.

2 – Assume that I’ve lost my mind.

3 – Nod your head with a knowing yes, because you’ve been there too.

No matter what, I hope you’ll stick with me through the end because – spoiler alert – there’s good news after the creepy thing I’m about to tell you.

The First Voice

This story starts on Christmas morning, when many of you were sitting in the glow of your twinkling tree. That’s where I would have been, if it were any other year. I would have been in my snuggliest jammies, while holding a cup of steaming cocoa in my hands. The air would have felt warm and soft – the perfect mix of firelight and fresh cinnamon rolls, just pulled from the oven.

But the air was not warm and soft on my Christmas morning. There was a palpable chill because of what happened while I stood in front of my bathroom mirror. I was getting dressed, so I could get back to the hospital to be with Mom, who is battling a life-threatening infection. That’s when I thought I heard a voice in my head. Perhaps it was my imagination. Perhaps it was a lack of sleep. Surely, the stress was a factor. But this is what I heard in my head, like a growling voice from an awful being:

“I’m just getting started.”

I gripped the edge of the countertop, frightened by the words – feeling bewildered, attacked, violated, angry, frightened, and two shades away from certifiably insane. I mean, the first sign of madness has got to be hearing voices – or maybe sending your toddlers to bed with a bundle of Sharpie markers, and a few sticks of bubblegum.

But there I was, under the oppression of a threat that I could feel running down my spine.

Perhaps you think I’m nuts. Or perhaps you’re assuming I was under a spiritual attack. Let me tell you: It absolutely felt like the enemy was taunting me. It felt like he was promising to bring more fresh hell upon my family. Mom was in terrible shape at the hospital. My amputee father was (and still is) living with us, and he was so sad it broke our hearts. Christmas wasn’t at all what we had planned. And there were other things, unspoken things, hard things that I won’t get into today.

And now I was hearing voices, for the love! Fear gripped me. Who was next? My girls? My husband? My health?

Believe me, as I stood in the bathroom, I went all charismatic like a Pentecostal preacher in my bathroom. My eyes got big as saucers, and I waved my arms around, praying the blood of Jesus over everyone I knew, over my house, over the toilets and the doorways and the iPads and the refrigerator and our farm cats.

And then I pretended to be calm. I got dressed and went to the hospital, and didn’t say a word to anyone, because I didn’t want you to think I’d lost my marbles.

The Second Voice

It was days later when I heard another voice in my heart. The voice said the same words as the first voice, but this voice was clearer, brighter, landing gently on my insides. The voice was the still, small voice of God:

“No…. I’m just getting started.”

That voice came like a flood of relief. Here’s what this voice didn’t mean:

It didn’t mean God was “just getting started” by bringing some form of hell upon us.
It didn’t mean God was trying to make us suffer.
It didn’t mean He was coming up with ways to torment us.

It meant that God was with us in our suffering, making something beautiful out of something awful. It meant that He wouldn’t waste this pain. It meant that we weren’t alone. It meant that what Satan meant for evil, God would turn for the good.

God is taking us on a journey that stretches out into forever, and He’s just getting started. 

God’s voice came a few days after the dust had settled, after the doctors had finally declared Mom officially “out of the woods.” Her white-blood count was coming down. By then, we’d seen God moving in mysterious ways all around us. We’d found laughter in hospital corridors. We’d found arms opened wide enough for us to fall into. We’d found care from the local church. We found God outside the tiny boxes we commonly draw. We found permission to cry whenever and wherever we wanted to. We found people standing in the middle of our crooked, pot-holed paths, and they were like stubborn barricades, preventing us from walking the wrong way. And we found healing, hope, peace – not always, but in waves.

Somehow, we are growing through it all. Somehow God is redeeming the worst things around us, to unearth the best things within us. It’s too early to say for sure, but I think we are becoming better humans somehow – learning more about ourselves and more about our God.

“I’m just getting started.”

God was telling me that I can stop being afraid of that jerkazoid Satan.

It seems to me that Satan is shouting lies over us all the time. God is doing just the opposite: whispering truth upon truth upon truth.

The voice we listen to most is the one we will hear the loudest.

Where are you at today, my friend? What lies are being thrust upon you today? What hell does it feel like Satan is unleashing upon your precious life?

Hear this truth today: The enemy you fear has already been defeated. Yes, the enemy prowls like a lion, but like Ann Voskamp once wrote, “he’s a lion on a leash.”

Word to the world: Satan is a defeated foe.

Today, I am grabbing hold of that truth. I am learning that God “is just getting started with me.”

No matter what happens in our lives, God is working behind the scenes. Sometimes we’ll get a glimpse of what He’s up to, but sometimes we’ll have to wait for the grand finale to know how this all turns out. Meantime, I know it for sure: the enemy is going to try to keep you afraid, pointing to your struggle. But when the enemy points to your struggle, you can point to God’s promises.

God is in this with you, and He is with me too.

Don’t fear the journey. He’s just getting started.

A few photos from our journey these last seven weeks

These get-well cards came in the first two weeks. Dozens more have come since then. God was “just getting started.”

One day, Mom asked us to play the song “Orange Colored Sky” to motivate her during a particularly tough therapy session. The next morning, God painted the sky a beautiful shade of orange. He’s done it several days since then. He was “just getting started.”

We have seriously been the LOUDEST people at the hospital. We are beyond grateful for all the fun visits. We’re looking forward to more good times ahead because …. God is “just getting started.”

Every night in the hospital room, Dad rises up from his wheelchair, stands on his one leg, and gives his wife of 58 years a goodnight kiss. This is love. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Even now, as I watch their love grow, I see how God is “just getting started.”

 

#TellHisStory

Each week, I host an encouraging community of bloggers who are telling their stories around the web and across the world. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT) on my blog. If you are a blogger who loves to encourage others with stories of faith and hope, you are welcome to link up with us.

Each week, I feature one of the writers in our #TellHisStory community. Our featured writer this week is Stacey Pardoe. Her blog post title is When the Storms Keep Rolling in and You’re Looking for Hope. That says it all, doesn’t it? If you need hope today, be sure to read her words. Find Stacey here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. That badge can be found here. xo Jennifer


  • Mary

    I adore your parents and you. I cannot get enough of seeing the sweet love shining through any photos you take of the two of them. It makes my heart happy.

    To clarify I do not think you are crazy, certifiable or insane. God does speak to me too. I love how he got your attention but didn’t let it go with just one message. He wanted to make sure you knew it was him and that he was in all the details of your life. Our God is a big God who loves deeply, cares more than we do and shows us the way just when we need it. So glad the journey is looking better and better.

  • Susan

    Jerkazoid satan. I love that – it’s a new one to me. I believe every word you just wrote. And, I can pentecostal pray with the best of them. LET’S TELL SATAN JUST HOW BIG OUR GOD IS. Take that you jerkazoid. xo

  • DeanneMoore

    It’s true, He is “just getting started.” This is the Kingdom mindset. The only way to live in hope in the middle of suffering. How we need to hear from each other how living in the Kingdom plays out in real life on earth as it is in heaven. My future DIL is was very sick a few weeks ago. I didn’t hear a voice but I did get a vision that stirred me up. It scared me at first but then I was later able to see how God used the vision to move me to prayer at the time she needed it most—I didn’t know how life and death it was at the time, but God knew…what mystery. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. You bless me always.

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  • Liz

    OH WOW! Those pictures at the end brought me to tears! God’s just getting started! So true… He has all of eternity to show off, too!

  • Tara Ulrich

    This is beautiful my friend! So much THIS: “No matter what happens in our lives, God is working behind the scenes. Sometimes we’ll get a glimpse of what He’s up to, but sometimes we’ll have to wait for the grand finale to know how this all turns out.”

  • Amen! You had me laughing and crying at the same time. We were just talking about this last week in prayer meeting. Someone asked if we would have rather not had cancer and mental illness in our family. Of course we wouldn’t want those things again, but what God has done as he came alongside us in our suffering we wouldn’t trade for anything else.

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Jennifer, such a beautiful, powerful post. Yes, the enemy speaks lies over us. Hoping he can defeat and discourage us. But God . . . Our God speaks life over us. His truth and His life prevails. And for that I’m most thankful. I LOVED reading how God has “just gotten started” in the ways He’s shown up for your family.

    This is just beautiful.

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    Lifting you and your sweet family up in my prayers right now….God is just getting started….claiming His eternal promises.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  • So encouraging to remember that God is just getting started! Choosing to listen to his voice over the enemy’s makes a big difference. And I love how you and your family have seen so many signs of God with you even in such a difficult time!

  • Sarah Geringer

    I completely understand where you are coming from today, Jennifer. I have faced many spiritual battles and I have been hearing “voices” since I was a teen. When I was facing marriage problems, I once put Lauryn Hill’s “Forgive Them, Father” on replay and pretended to flick blood from a Passover lamb all over the windows and doors in our home. That night an unprecedented healing occurred, and I am sure it’s because God helped me take a stand in the spiritual battle. Praying that He will equip and guard you with heavenly armor in the days of recovery ahead for your dear parents. Thanks for vulnerably sharing your photos here and on Facebook, as they help me pray specifically for you!

  • Oh, Jennifer, spiritual warfare is real and I’m so glad God is so much more powerful and we can put our trust in Him. Though hard at times, we have to remind ourselves that He is with us even if we feel alone. Much love to you and prayers for strength and healing in your family. <3

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  • What beautiful words, Jennifer. I’ve found the enemy likes to kick us while we’re down. Trials and suffering are definitely also times of warfare, of believing God’s character and promises over the lies. Wow and wow. What a personal love note from God to you as you were in the midst of battle. You need that on a sign in your kitchen. 🙂

  • I love just getting started. And I love that your dad still kisses your mom every night. Beautiful, Jennifer.

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  • Jennifer, this was so powerful. Thank you for sharing your family with us. My favorite quote is, “God is taking us on a journey that stretches out into forever, and He’s just getting started.” Now that is an exciting thought!

  • Well I kind of needed this reinforcement today. Thank you.

  • Amazing to see God at work in such a powerful way in your life. How kind of Him to bring you moments of joy in the midst of the hard, long slog through sadness and stress. And how wise of you to cherish them.

  • CM Hazelwood

    Yes, I’ll admit to hearing both those voices. And praise God, “Greater is he who is in us, than he who is in the world.”

  • Rachel Lee

    This was not only entertaining- it was powerful!!! Love all of the pictures, and glimpses of the God who is just getting started! Thank you for sharing this piece of your life with us!

  • Sherry Thecharmofhome

    Awesome testimony! He is with us and refining us with every situation. We go through the crucible but when we get to be with Him in the end it is worth it. Thanks for hosting!

  • Rebecca Jones

    Before I finished reading, I recognized that voice of the enemy and was thinking, ” Wait a minute, God’s just getting started. “

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  • Yes, been there too! I’m so thankful for His voice and that He’s just getting started!

  • I am so glad you are sharing your journey with us. Every post, every photo of your parents is like a shot of encouragement for us all. Praying for the story to continue on for I truly believe “He’s just getting started!”

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  • That last picture of your parents just gets me in the heart. 🙂

  • Wow, this had me “listening” to you with intent, Jennifer, because, no, you’re not mad and no, you’re not alone! Those hissed satanic lies are loud to me too. But God’s whispers are the words I am trying to pay the most attention to. And I’m succeeding some days better than others. Thank you for this powerful, encouraging and instructive post. It’s beautiful to see how God is working in you and your loved ones. <3

  • Joanne Peterson

    Jennifer, you’re not crazy. I’ve had a similar experience, but it was being woken up by footsteps walking up and down the length of our home, and sensing the presence of evil, and realizing it wasn’t a burglary. I knew I had to pray, and prayed until I felt released. But I heard the footsteps stop in front of our daughter’s bedroom door. Then an hour later a huge crash came down on the house and woke everyone up. We all were okay. I massive tree limb fell on our roof on our daughter’s bedroom ver her bed. There is no attic, and it glanced off the roof and the gutter “just right” so it wouldn’t go through the roof. I was telling my son when he was older about prayer and this incident, and then I heard Jesus gently and distinctly tell me that the footsteps weren’t the evil one’s footsteps, they were His. I knew then Jesus was patrolling our home. I started to weep because I knew this to be true. He was/is walking before us, and with us in the midst of what the enemy intends for evil. God has continued to show Himself in our midst. This true story of yours and God’s story is so absolutely powerful and beautiful, and does continue until we are taken home to be with HIm. Thank you so much for sharing this continuous encounter with God. It came at exactly the right time for encouragement too. You wouldn’t have known this, but God did. Thank you for taking the risk to be vulnerable. Blessings.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you, Jennifer, for that wonderful affirmation, “God is just getting started,” and then proving it with all those positive examples. He accomplishes MUCH in the midst of difficult circumstances. That quote from Ann Voskamp reminded me of another quote from another Ann. “Satan may prowl around like a hungry lion looking for someone he may devour, but God removed his teeth at Calvary!” (Ann White).

  • Jennifer – I have to admit I almost didn’t read your post. Its late, the house is dark, and I still have to take the darn puppy out to the bathroom. I don’t do scary. So glad I finished it. God is with you and he is not done. I actually say that to myself frequently when I am overwhelmed. Glad I read your post today. I need to remind myself, God is not done. It got me excited to see him work.

  • FYI – I went to order your book and it was out of stock at Amazon. I will have to check again.

  • I’m thankful you are listening to the right Voice, friend. My prayers continue for you and your sweet family.

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  • Dana

    I love the thought–and the reality–that God is just getting started with me. This is such a great reminder that I need to consider the big picture. Even though I rarely get a glimpse of the big picture, God sees it all, and He plans it all, and I need to rest in that truth.

"When you catch a tiny glimpse of the future be sure not to smother it with your own agenda. Let it breathe. Let it grow at a healthy pace. Admit it's both delightful and terrifying. As you take your next right step today trust that God won't let you mis… ift.tt/2ophzwB pic.twitter.com/uTYr8c7vdm