Listening to God

It continues to amaze me that after almost 3 decades of practicing the process of healing through the 12 steps, God continues to awaken areas of my being that does not understand or questions, as I have in certain areas of the Big Book. A big ah-ha moment came this week, and it has taken a bit time to settle into my soul and then my mind so I could share with you this awakening, this gift, God so generously gave me, regarding the 11th step.

‘When we retire at night…..’ following step 10 into step 11 as written on page 85 in the BB, after the statement ‘that we must go further,…’ and that includes prayer and meditation.

So why then are we asked on the next page, “When we retire at night…..” to review our day with specific questions? I missed this for so long as I have been so focused on ‘On awakening….” that would allow me to rely on God’s inspiration and intuition, prayer with others, reading spiritual materials, etc.

The answer is simple, at least now that I ‘got it’ and I feel a bit humbled with love to see just how long this understanding and powerful awareness has taken to receive. You see, somewhere I became so focused on the Wow of God, the harmonious dance of living following His will and wanting more of God and less of me that I forgot the power of a simple resentment and how they can build into armor of our heart, day after day. Eventually silencing His voice, as my heart in an area (not all areas) had become hard and my mouth was complaining, lacking gratitude, or behaving martyr-like, etc. Some days grateful and other days slipping in complaints as described above. That takes a deeply hidden resentment to pull all of that off.

Let me give you a simple and humbling example of my experience that taught me this lesson, and a deeper understanding as to the why of having a nightly inventory and prayer, before awakening to a new day prepared to connect with God, awaiting His inspirations and direction to go forth and serve Him and help my fellows. A bi-product, with prayer and meditation has also been to have an open heart and mind that allows God to help me honestly, humbly recognize when I am wrong, knowing this too is with His grace, Love and in perfect time.

I wanted a new dog, a puppy preferably, and one of a breed that was far more than we could outright afford, unless we saved our dollars to purchase this type of dog, one that really becomes part of your family and that is what I longed for. At Christmas, my mom gave us a ‘doggy bank’ and started our savings. I was thrilled as I realized we really could save for something like this, and I thought of the day we could have our puppy sleep and travel with us, never far away. Be careful, as they say, for what you ask for.

A few months later, a family friend asked me if we still wanted this type of dog, as she had a friend who had two and could no longer take care of them, and they were not puppies, they were apx. 3 and 4 years old. Of course, I talked with my husband (he would give me anything if he thought it would make me happy) and we agreed, as we had also prayed for the gift of this dog, believing God cares about all areas of our lives and our hearts desire.

We did not consider the financial cost, or their current health needs, and we jumped in eagerly anticipating the days of joy with our new dogs. I have never had two dogs at the same time, although I have had several dogs, and their passing was more painful than the last. This was an exciting time for us. Then their hair started shedding, and the vet checks were needed, or shots, special diet for allergies, and daily exercise, etc.

What happened to my former ideas? They were gone, as all I could see was dog hair all over my clean house. Yes, my house, my this and my that. Leaving the grooming, feeding, walking, etc all to my husband. Now, reading this you would think I was just entering my teens, but oh no, I am a grandmother. I tried to connect with them, but the resentment I could not see grew daily and I fell into remorse and guilt as my resentment grew my heart grew harder toward these innocent loving dogs. I forgot that underneath most resentment is fear.

Months passed and my husband finally said that it was up to me, as I had checked with this type of dog adoption and there were over 500 families! On this wait list. I replied to my dear hubby with “I just can’t take their shedding hair everywhere, and they need, and this cost ??, blah-blah-blah……..“all to avoid what was truly bothering me. I told my hubby that we needed to give them up for adoption, as it would be better for them (another manipulation As he lowered his head, in thought maybe, but then my concern became that he was going to be hurt by letting them go, as he had bonded with both of them and loved them. I could not go through with it, but I was in a dilemma; clean house (not the real reason for my resentment) or accept what it is and deal with it and find a way to bond with both dogs. They are in fact wonderful dogs, beautiful and well mannered. I wanted this type of dog breed for so long, we prayed, we saved and then God found a way to see that our hearts desire was met with being given two for free; as it cost us to take care of them as we would any other family member, food, shelter, doctors/vets, etc. However, my love for my husband would not deal with this deep resentment, as it had not been dealt with at all. The first part of prayer and meditation still eluded me and I continued to practice inventory at every other time, except before retiring.

So, on to prayer and meditation, this seemed silly on the surface, even so much so that I was concerned that sharing it with another would be met with the silliness of it all. Nevertheless, I followed directions in step 11, before I retired, I discussed this with someone, my resentment of two beautiful dogs, hurting my husband, and asked her to pray for me and for God’s healing and Grace to bring me relief of this resentment. She joyfully did so, listening with all of her attention and then praying over me. I felt relief, knowing God’s power is sufficient to remove this resentment and help me repair the harmed I had caused, do things differently and healing the fear that was underlying this whole thing. I slept great that night. I suspect both dogs did too, as they sensed something had changed. I woke to a new day and talked to them, not at them; I had new eyes. No longer were they in the way as I walked into a room, stepping over them, but real life beings that needed a kind and gentle word or touch. Their shedding hair, well it still whirls around the house and I have decided to manage this I simply need to mop our home a few times per week. No big deal for the return of their unconditional love and the happiness in the eyes of my husband, as he too recognizes change and accepts my amends. This results into relationship with God’s creation and in so relationship with the Creator of all that is good.

Now, I can connect and listen to God, as the resentment, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, was gone. I am connecting with both of our dogs and will not leave all of their care to my patient hubby, who never complained, but loved them until I could. Thank God for patient people in our lives.

I thank God for bringing us twice what we prayed for and simply wanted. God is good and generous indeed. My heart was scared to connect with yet another pet who will some day be gone. But for now, they can sit by me as I read my Bible, or commune with God. In addition, my hubby and I will walk them each evening together, a bonus for all.

I am very grateful for God’s patience and gentleness in showing me the errors of my heart. God always delivers truth with love. Now, I can be more assured of being a channel of God’s love and patience, as was given so freely to me.

Until next year,
Many Blessings,
Carol Ann Preston


Remembering Who We Are: a workbook
Carol Ann Preston, can be purchased at any online or local bookstore

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