43: Can You Hear Me Now?

43: Can You Hear Me Now?

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Can You Hear Me Now?

I may never know when an answer to prayer is going to arrive, but I know that God will never fail me.

~Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson, Waiting with God

The church bulletin advertised a women’s retreat in the mountains of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The intent was to take us away from our hectic lives to bask in God’s presence for two whole days.

The noise at home had grown so intense that I could no longer hear myself think, let alone hear from God. I needed to get away so I made a beeline for the registration desk.

When the weekend finally arrived and we pulled up to the retreat center, I savored the rolling hills and lush, green trees that filled the horizon. I watched as two swans glided along the pond that sat peacefully nestled at the base of the property. Inside the resort, I found a bed with clean, crisp sheets waiting for me. Even my meals were prepared.

While all these things were a treat, it was not why I went. I had a specific goal in mind: I attended so I could study God’s Word and demand some answers. You see, for years, I had felt compelled to write a book. This yearning had begun to intensify in me but it didn’t seem to be the right time. I had a home to care for and four children under the age of five. I certainly did not have time to write a book.

Over the course of the two days, I enthusiastically took notes during the sessions, trying to absorb all the lessons. We learned about the Israelites and how they waited forty years to reach the land God had promised them. Was this why I was here, to find out I’d have to wait forty years? I certainly hoped not.

In my alone time, I sneaked off to pray. I begged God to reveal the answers to my questions: Should I write this book? If not today, someday . . . or was this a selfish yearning to make my mark? I needed some kind of sign.

Several sessions and lots of quiet moments passed. Still nothing. I felt frustrated knowing I would return to the noise and chaos at home with no answers. However, I continued to participate, thankful to be among such lovely women.

Our final assignment for the conference was to find a new prayer partner. We were given a card with half of a picture on it. Our task: to find our card’s mate. Once found, we were told to introduce ourselves to the cardholder, share a prayer request, and agree to pray for this person for the upcoming month.

I wandered about the room for a short while, checking first with the ladies I had already met. None of them matched my card. Then finally, I found her. My prayer partner was an older woman with kind and caring eyes. We greeted one another, and I introduced myself: “My name is Darla Grieco. I am married and have four small children. I am a stay-at-home mom, and my husband has his own business. And, that’s about it.” I smiled nervously.

She nodded, “Okay. How can I pray for you?”

I hesitated, but since I still had no answers to my questions about writing, I thought I’d pass this prayer assignment on to my new partner. For several minutes, she listened intently as I poured out my desire to write a book and all the doubts I had. I ended by telling her, “I think God put this story in my heart, but it just doesn’t make sense right now. I want God to give me a clear yes or no if this is something He wants me to do.”

Although I didn’t know this woman, I saw a reassuring smile spread across her face. Then, she spoke ten words that would change my life forever: “My name is Joyce Hart. I am a literary agent.”

Joyce has been my mentor and a constant source of encouragement ever since!

~Darla S. Grieco

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