What Does the Voice of God Sound Like in Real Life

I am often asked what the voice of God sounds like or how to know when God is speaking. In the Bible we read, “God told this person this stuff,” and we assume it is some booming voice from heaven, and even if it is booming, it is at least audible. I can tell you I have heard an audible voice that was unmistakably God a few times, but more often than not, it’s an internal thought or knowing. Here are two examples from this week.

I am often asked what the voice of God sounds like or how to know when God is speaking. In the Bible we read, “God told this person this stuff,” and we assume it is some booming voice from heaven, and even if it is booming, it is at least audible. I can tell you I have heard an audible voice that was unmistakably God a few times, but more often than not, it’s an internal thought or knowing. Here are two examples from this week.

At the beginning of the year I spent time seeking God for His desire for this year. I asked for directions on my writing, social media presence, physical health, social life, and career. One of the things I felt strongly led to do is get fit. Not “lose weight” but get fit. Get in the gym, lift some weights, and do some cardio. Build muscle, trim down, and build endurance. So for the last few weeks I’ve been in the gym four days a week doing just that. I do weights and spent 20+ minutes on cardio. I started with light weights, low reps, and shorter cardio times and intensity so my body could acclimate and I didn’t hurt myself. It has been going great. 

Last week I was having my morning quiet time, journaling and praying, and I had the thought, “I need to be stretching every day so my muscles stay loose.” When I was in high school and even when I worked with trainers, that statement was drilled into my head. You stretch so you don’t hurt and so you don’t injure yourself. Stretching keeps your muscles loose and your body able to handle hard work.

Now, understand, I hate stretching, so I took that thought, held it up to my body at this moment, and realized my body was fine. I didn’t ache. I was sleeping okay with no residual muscle soreness. I was good, so I promptly dismissed the thought as a voice from coaches past.

Jump to Monday morning when I rolled over to my left side, and the pressure hurt in my hip joint. Probably just stiff from sleeping, so I ignored it. Tuesday when I worked in the yard my hip ached from the tightness, and I knew what it was. I had the same deep ache from muscle tightness when I was training for a 5K. The ONLY answer is stretching, so I did. I would lean my hip out and stretch the deep muscles at the joint. It hurt, which means things are really tight, but I was too busy for that 30-minute stretch thing. Yesterday I had to run some errands and get groceries. My hip throbbed the whole time. At one point I prayed, “Lord, can you please do something about this?” And immediately I had the thought, “Yeah. I can tell you to stretch.” And I remembered last week, that thought during my prayer time, the one I dismissed thinking it was just a voice from past coaches. Nope. It was not a voice of past coaches. It was the voice of God.

Example number two.

As I mentioned, yesterday I had errands to run and needed to get groceries. One of the thing I needed to pick up is potassium because I ran out Monday. I don’t take supplements every day, but when I know I haven’t gotten enough in food, I use supplements, especially since I’ve been working muscles and getting fit. Instead of just taking potassium, I take the muscle trifecta of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 

Yesterday I stop by to pick up some potassium, and I thought I should get a bottle of all three, which made no sense because I just bought a bottle of one of them two weeks ago, and I knew I had plenty of the third. I only needed potassium, and I am trying to streamline my life by not having unnecessary extras, so I only bought potassium.

Last night I was getting ready for bed, and I knew my body was running low on the trifecta so I went in my bathroom to take the supplements. Opened the medicine cabinet and picked up the empty bottle of potassium to toss it, except it wasn’t empty. It was about 1/3 full. Not good. That means…yep, the calcium bottle was empty. I didn’t need potassium. I needed calcium. Had I listened to the “Thought” that said to buy one of each, I would have bought what I actually needed.

Now you might be wondering what makes me think those were God talking. A few things. 

One, both of those “Thoughts” went against my natural bent. My bent is to hate stretching and not buy stuff I don’t need (unless it is books, and then He is usually the one saying, “You don’t need that.”). 

Second, every morning I pray for God to bless my day, to lead me into His will, and give me strength and wisdom to do His will. His will is for me to be healthy and fit. Both of those “Thoughts” had to do with my physical ability to sleep well and to be physically able to serve Him. NOW ,I see that those “Thoughts” were direct responses to my prayers. 

Finally, those “Thoughts” were pre-emptive. The Word tells me God goes before me, not just in location but also in time. Both of those “Thoughts” were pre-emptive in that they addressed things to come, like the pain that I feel now and finding out last night I didn’t have calcium. Did I know they were pre-emptive then? No, which is why I ignored them, but if you look at the Bible a lot of God’s words are based on what people didn’t see. Noah and the flood. Joseph and the famine that was to come. The entire Promised Land journey. I had no reason to have those thoughts based on what I knew, which is another reason to believe God is speaking based on what HE knows.

It would have been great if God’s voice sounded like a booming voice from heaven, but honestly, I have found it rarely booms. Instead, God’s speaking often just seems like thoughts or “just feel like I should do (whatever)”.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to stretch before I go back to the store to buy some calcium.

Copyright @2023 by Jerri Kelley

Lent and 1 Corinthians 13

As of yesterday, we have entered the season of Lent. While I am not Catholic, the Protestant church I am attending observes Lent, and this year I feel compelled to observe it myself.

I have only observed Lent one other time. Ten years ago, the year we ended up moving from the home where we had lived since my son was born. That year the Lord told me to meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 for the entire 40 days. Less than two months after Easter, my family knew it was time to move. 

The morning we were to go look at houses I heard in my mind, “It won’t look like you expect, but you will know as soon as you walk in the door it is the house.” 

The realtor and I had five houses we were going to view, and I had a feeling on one of them. It was a house I didn’t want, but something told me it was the one. It turned out to be the first house we viewed, and I didn’t want it. It was a HUD home with all kinds of issues. Most of the flooring was gone. Light fixtures were gone. Holes in walls, and that is what we saw just walking through. Plus it all needed to be repainted. I didn’t want that house. I didn’t want the work. We had come out of a hard season, and I wanted some rest, not this.

Then I heard my realtor call from the front living area, “Did you see this on the wall?” Lands, what now?

I walked into the room where she was and looked at the adhesive letters that started at the door and went all the way around the room.

“Though I speak with the tongues of man and of angels…”

1 Corinthians 13 encircled that room.

For the next six years the black letters were visible on the maroon paint. When I repainted that room, I left the letters and painted over them. While I know that isn’t the proper way to do things, I also feel you can’t go wrong when 1 Corinthians 13 is part of your foundation. 

When I think about Lent, I think about that year and how the Lord used my 40-day meditation to give me direction and to give me peace in choosing a hard road I would not have chosen on my own, but a road that was ultimately good and blessed, and I wonder what this year’s Lent observance will ultimately hold, how He will use it, who I will be when its purpose is fulfilled.

February 23, 2023

Copyright @2023 by Jerri Kelley

Be the Sunshine on Ice Days

Here in North Texas we are getting an ice day. The storm hit yesterday, going to be here tomorrow, and finally letting up Thursday it seems. A lot of us are warm in our houses binging TV, drinking cocoa, and taking naps. When Thursday comes, we’ll go back to life as is with no real interruptions except maybe catch up at work. 

There are untold numbers of people who are missing two days work with no pay. Some were sent home early yesterday, and if they go into late Thursday, they will have missed half a week of work.

Absorb that.

Half a week’s pay…gone.

For some, that may have been their most of their work week. I know some folks who do 10 hour days 4 days a week, and this storm took out 3.5 of their days. They are not contract but hourly, and they lost nearly an entire week’s pay.

1/4 of. their income for the month is gone.

Take a moment and consider how YOUR family would handle missing a week’s pay, what bills you wouldn’t pay, how you could keep electricity and groceries. 
Take a moment to realize the hardship of two days off work with no pay when you are working a job that barely covers things already.

Now, imagine how much some groceries or a bigger tip or a gift card or formula for your baby or a $20 found in your mailbox would cover medication or gas or…would help.


If you go to Starbucks’ after this, ask how your barista did during the storm, and if it turns out they lost a lot of income, consider giving them a bigger tip.

If you know a college student working part time or multiple jobs to make ends meet and pay for school but they missed work, maybe slip them a gift card or drop by some groceries.

If you know a family who works salaried jobs, consider groceries, gift cards, diapers, whatever.

If you go out to eat, drop a bigger tip.

Be kind. 

Be the answer.

Be someone’s sunshine on the ice days.


The Estuary of Life where Faith, Gratitude, and Devastation Comingle

January 2023 has been brutal.

I can’t go into all the details, but multiple families I love dearly have endured…indescribable tragedies, and I confess to you, my body is feeling it. For three days my head and body have ached. I have not had an appetite, and yet, I want to eat ALL the moon pies, and not those mini moons either. I want the full moon moon pies. I have cried more days this month than I haven’t. And if I am honest with you, I am beyond having words. The loss, the pain, the tragedy, the…all of it…is bigger than my words.

Today my friend Iona Hoeppner shared some personal things on a post by another friend of ours, and she asked how she could confess she saw the miracles of a situation and still be devastated?

She wasn’t asking for advice or for some psychological explanation or even a theological one. She was expressing the dichotomy of being a human with faith. It’s a fiercely brave question in my opinion.

I responded with the following, and I share both her question and my response because it is something we need to talk about. It is a burden we need to lay down. It is…an honesty…we need to be able to rest in and know we are safe there.

So I offer this estuary life place where faith, gratitude, and devastation commingle honestly to anyone who needs a place to rest.

(My response)

Iona Hoeppner, isn’t it funny, sad funny, that we put so much pressure on ourselves to be something God never called us to be. He never once said grief negates faith. He never once said being devastated negates being grateful. He never once said our being human makes us believe less that He is God. On the contrary, He implores us to bring our anguish and devastation to Him. He longs to hold us and comfort us and take in all we are…even when we are shattered. Being shattered is not a lack of faith or hope. It is the reality of a life change so immense that we have to stop, catch our breath and get our bearings to decide how to imagine something so heartbreakingly different. Faith keeps us moving forward. Gratitude keeps us buoyant, but neither keep us from being devastated.


To those feeling the devastation among the miraculous…

Both are real, and you are doing beautiful.

My heart and prayers,

Jerri Kelley

Because Sometimes Survival is Enough

We are now three days before Christmas Day, and we are so deep in the holidays they are like the pile of blankets we can’t find our way out of. For some, that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I thing for most people, the holidays are the blankets they want to wrap up in and stay because they feel good. They feel like home. Who doesn’t want that?

I’ll tell you who.

People who are dealing with a home that has been shattered for some reason.

This year I know three families that have lost children. I know four partners and spouses who have lost their loves. I know multiple friends who have lost parents. I know others who have lost marriages.

For those folks, this holiday season may not look like home at all.

In 2010, my marriage came apart. My mom passed from cancer. My stepfather blamed me. My brother had his own sadness and depression, and then in early 2011, my husband died of a heart attack. Family, friends, and church associates disappeared.

The holidays looked NOTHING like home or family or joy.

They looked empty and hard, and when my two kids and I sat at the table to eat Christmas Day, all I saw were empty chairs, and it was all I could do to pull myself together to have a conversation with my 10- and 13-year olds instead of sobbing in my bedroom floor.

The first two years we didn’t have a Christmas tree. We didn’t buy presents. We didn’t eat the usual food, and we didn’t watch our traditional movies. In fact, if you came to our house, it didn’t look much like Christmas at all. It looked like what it was. Three people trying to figure out how to get through a lot of empty in a place and holiday that used to be so full.

In time, we found our new normal, filled the tree with new ornaments, lit the yard with Christmas lights, and gave up movies for games. We found our joy and laughter and delicious food. We found our full and whole. In time.

This Christmas I want you to know if your Christmas looks like ours did and you see so much empty where there used to be full and you feel like it is taking everything you’ve got just to breathe…then just breathe. That’s enough.

Just don’t quit breathing.

Go to the dinners and lunches…or don’t.
Go to mass…or stand outside the church and let the tears pray for you because walking in is too hard right now.
Buy gifts…or let time together be the gift.
Put up a tree…or don’t.
Eat turkey and ham…or pizza and Big Macs.
Go to the cemetery…or don’t.

There is no one right answer for getting through joyous holidays that carry a hellish edge. The big thing is simply to get through.

And frankly, some years, that’s enough.

For each of you walking through hard this year and feeling the heavy emptiness of the holidays, my heart and prayers are with you because I know prayers are sometimes the only thing that gets us through.

May the Lord God be with you, and may the Prince of Peace be your comfort.

Blessings, Lovelies,



A friend of mine is a college professor, and the college where he works asked each teacher to write his or her  mission statement. My friend asked me what I thought his is. 

His mission as a teacher, I said, was to see his students succeed in their goals and be what they dreamed and more. He wants to see young women engage as often and confidently as young men. He wants his students to build a strong foundation for the medical careers they are pursuing.

I was very proud of this assessment and asked him what he thought. He replied,
“This is what I turned in:

My mission as a professor is to
encourage my students

I read it and smiled.

My friend is right. 

All the knowledge, confidence, and boldness in the world can only take you so far…


You believe in the possibilities.