How Submitting to His Promptings Unlocks His Best
By Ann C. Averill
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Ann's Story
I went to church as long as I was under my parent’s roof. But after that, I wandered away and found some big trouble, including a marriage crisis where I was ready to divorce my husband for another man.
At the start of this story, though, the crisis has passed. My husband and I went to counseling. As a young, stay-at-home mom, I was desperate for attention and affirmation. My husband forgave me, and my neighbor invited me to church. It sounds neat and tidy, but it wasn’t. I was full of shame and confusion, praying "prove-it" prayers to a God I didn’t really know. I prayed, “God, show me you’re real.”
About this time, my Memaw died and left each grandchild eight hundred dollars. I told my husband I wanted to buy a piano, but my husband wanted this new thing called a personal computer. We couldn’t agree, so the money stayed in the bank.
I kept thinking I really want a piano, she’s my grandmother, and what does my husband need a computer for anyway?
This was back in the day when the screen on a monitor was black, and the text was green. My husband’s brother had a computer, and all he did with it was play games like Pong.
My neighbor invited me to an adult Sunday School class before worship one day. I remember going to class in a huff about the computer when interestingly, the lesson was on wives submitting to their husbands as Jesus submitted to God, and husbands loving wives sacrificially as Jesus loves the church. This was just as the feminist movement was gaining steam, and on the drive home, alone in the car, I prayed a snotty silent prayer, asking God, “Why should I be the one to give in? What about women’s liberation?”
I was alone because my husband wasn’t going to church with me—yet. I parked the car in the driveway and recalled that awful night in the blue bedroom, when I pierced his heart by saying, “I’m leaving you,” and he responded vulnerably, “Please don’t go.” He was the one who showed humility.
It was as if God was whispering in my ear, “This is what submission looks like. It looks like loving and honoring, even when it hurts beyond measure.”
My own heart was pierced with searing regret, and suddenly giving up my piano was a pittance. It seemed the very least I could do for a man who loved me at my horrible worst, who asked me to stay when I didn’t deserve it.
I leaped out of the car, raced into the kitchen, and with fresh affection, told my husband he could have his computer before I could change my selfish mind.
The phone on the kitchen wall rang before he could respond. I picked up.
The voice on the other end said, “Hi, this is Stan, one of the accompanists at church. I wondered if you’d like a free piano?”
“What?” I looked at my husband.
“My elderly aunt gave me her organ, and I can’t fit both my piano and an organ in my apartment,” Stan explained.
“What in the world made you think of me?” I asked, as Stan was only an acquaintance.
He answered, “You mentioned you liked to play once in Sunday school, and your name just popped into my head. So, if you want it, it’s yours.”
“Sure!” I put down the phone and turned towards my husband. “We just got a free piano.”
By the time my husband and I picked up the miraculous instrument, his brother had purchased a new computer on a whim and given my husband his old one. I was pregnant with a new baby, and because our fixer-upper was freezing, it was a no-brainer for my husband and I to agree on spending Memaw’s money insulating our home.
That was over forty years ago. The free piano is long gone. Since then God hasn’t answered every prayer so swiftly or in such a tangible way, but I share this incident as a memorial stone.
Whenever God seems far away, or quiet, or I can’t imagine a good end to the immovable problem in front of me, I recall, God’s sovereign ability to arrange circumstances and change the stoniest heart to prove his character and provide what is truly best for his beloved.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen,” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV).
Photo credit: Wix image
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest essay series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE resource, A Listening Guide + Prayer Map, which walks you through heart postures that will help you prepare to listen for His voice in prayer. This resource will guide you as you listen, then capture your prayer times in a new way, helping you know Him deeper and hear Him louder.
Learn more about each posture:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Ann C. Averill is a retired teacher and author of Teacher Dropout: Finding Grace in an Unjust School.
Ann lives in the woods of western Massachusetts with her husband, her cat, and a flock of silly chickens. She enjoys tap dancing, kayaking, and long walks with close friends.
You can find Ann's blog at www.anncaverill.com.