April 29, 2022
Rivers Junction, MI
“You don’t listen,” my son informed me.
I had one of two choices – I could either cut him off, then bite his head off for being disrespectful, or I could listen and understand his heart.
I chose the latter. Yet, to make matters worse, while I was standing there in the kitchen trying to listen -- my husband vocally agreed with my son. I felt unprotected with only a paper towel in-hand. Everyone seemed to be coming against me. I was being exposed.
My mind drifted back to the morning discussion I had with my husband when he was sharing from his heart. He talked at length about things. I had to admit my mind did drift elsewhere. And it is true; I cut him off mid-sentence. A few nights before that, he mentioned that when we had friends over I kept interrupting and talking-over him.
My family brought up a valid points. I had to deeply consider: Just because I’m not sure how to change, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask God to change me.
Jesus said, “For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them” (Matthew 13:15, NIV).
Hearing God is part of being healed by God.
God tugged at my heart further by helping me to see that -- if I want to hear God, I must begin by hearing others. Why? Because she who is faithful in the little has the honor of being faithful in the bigger. Despite the feelings about my failures, God was graciously inviting me into a greater healing – and a greater hearing and understanding of Him.
Now, it was up to me on how I would respond. Would I set down my comebacks, retorts, thoughts, and ideas to really listen to and accept the correction of others or would I continue in my ways? How have you been responding lately? Listening? Are you being patient and kind or pushy and self-absorbed?
Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give others. It lets them know that they are heard, valued, and supported. It honors. Often you can accomplish far more by listening to God, and others, than you ever could by talking and hashing things out. Listening gets us to the heart of the matter – and to the heart of God. And, this is where God heals us.
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Father, I ask for patience and grace. I ask that, by Your power, You would help me learn to listen more than I talk. I want to discern Your voice and heart in all things, in all ways.
In Jesus’ Name,
4 days ago
I don’t know a single adult who will look back on the year 2020 and not shudder!
Living through this past spring and summer has felt like I’m running a marathon that I did not sign up for. It was filled with obstacle courses of people and places to avoid, lonely trails due to isolation, and uncomfortable running gear consisting of a face mask and the occasional surgical gloves! And the race isn’t over yet.
I know you’re feeling me; ‘cuz you’re living it, too.
Each week I intentionally spend time talking on the phone with loved who are also struggling during this season of doom and gloom. Given the present climate, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and hopelessness can slowly seep into any of our day-to-day existences until we become emotionally undone—or completely numb.
We will always have stressors while we are in this world. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” (John 16:33, NIV emphasis added). So, you and I need to discover ways to manage the stress so it doesn’t manage us.
Now, you’re probably thinking I’m going to suggest the well-worn Christian remedy: “Pray and read your Bible daily.” Well, I’m not. It’s not that I don’t believe those two things are a vital part of our everyday lives. It’s just that I believe there’s something more—something inherently Scriptural: savoring.
To savor means to taste, or to enjoy something completely. It’s more than what you do with your last bite of ice cream or your final day of summer vacation. To savor can also mean to “taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him,” (Psalm 34:8 NIV).
I love how the New Century Version translates Psalm 34:8: “Examine and see how good the Lord is,” (Psalm 34:8b, NCV). Examine. Don’t you love that word?
To combat the tension of 2020, I’ve made a purposeful practice to savor the many good things the Lord has placed around me. These days I pause to fully and completely to experience the elegance of a butterfly in flight, the coolness of my bedsheets when I first slip between them at night, the heady fragrance of a ripe peach, the uncurling of a new fern leaf, the unique call of a backyard bird, the balance of flavors in the dinner, the sound of a friend’s voice…and on and on.
When we practice savoring God’s good gifts, the weight of the negativity lessens. And that marathon we didn’t sign up to run? Well, we’ll start to notice those same good gifts along the unexpected path.
I’d love for you to click on comment and tell me what good gifts you savored today.
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GIRLFRIENDS IN GOD Encouraging and equipping women in the love and truth of Christ. CLICK HERE to learn about the RISE UP Conf in Asheville, NC:
"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8