Sunday, December 20, 2015

Are You Listening?

Christmas is only days away and life, for many, is pretty frantic.  But “frantic” isn’t all bad if it includes a preschool Christmas program, playing music at the senior center, an evening at my church’s Women’s Christmas event and a trip to Wisconsin to deliver a message of hope to a group of women.

I love focusing on the Christ child through music and message.  I keep my priorities in order by participating in ministry, by engaging in relationships and by staying in God’s Word.  But sometimes….it would seem….there is a lot of sound/activity coming from me and not a lot of listening by me.

The other day I realized how much I needed to withdraw, to sit at the feet of Jesus (spiritually speaking), to enter the “throne room” (which, physically speaking, happens to be in our bedroom) and just listen.  For some of us who lean toward experiencing the joy of life via getting-our-tasks-all-done-and-checked-off-the-list (think Martha in the Biblical Martha/Mary narrative), that is a HUGE challenge!  There is a restlessness that invades my body at the idea of being still.  But never do I want to ignore the nudges of the Holy Spirit and He was telling me to just “be”. 

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  That is a hard task for me.  I literally ask God to help me with the “still” part. Next thing you know, I think of someone I need to text or another grocery list item pops into my head. Really?!  Those are my thoughts when I come before the Creator of everything?!

I really love to sit on our bed when I pray and when possible, I prefer to pray when I am alone in the house.  I pray out loud (a tool to help me stay focused) and “out loud” works best in an empty house.  I love looking out our bedroom window while I am in a prayer mode; there is something about those huge old trees on the other side of the glass.  They are so grand and strong and stable feeling, whatever season it may be.

Back to being still and listening for God’s voice.  AS, I was settling into my “quiet time”, I became immediately distracted by a familiar but unidentifiable sound, kind of like a “ping, ping”.  After a bit of confusion, it occurred to me that it was my iPad!  I love playing “Words with friends” and when words come back, my iPad notifies me.  I think I actually laughed out loud at the irony of it all – is that You, Lord?  Words . With . Friends.

Once I got over the silliness of it all, a question begged to be asked.  Do I hear from God?  If so, how do I hear from Him? 


My (partial) list  

Through His written Word
Through A baby’s cry/laugh
Through the Sunday sermon
Through the silence of a new snow
Through the sounds of my husband making coffee in the morning
Through my son thanking me for something
Through my grandson saying, “Nana, I love you.”
Through the ticking of the clock, reminding me of the gift of time
Through the appliances in our home, reminding me everything is working
Through the sounds of a waterfall
Through the cry of the gulls at the beach
Through the wind as it rushes past me while I am on my bike
Through a text message reminding me I am being prayed for
Through a friend who calls to pray for me as she is out walking

I also sense His presence in other ways: 

Through the smell of dinner cooking
Through the tender touch of my husband
Through the beauty of a sunset over Lake Michigan
Through the ringing of the doorbell with a friend standing on the other side
Through hugs
Through the sloppy kisses of my young grandsons
Through the book of poetry written by a friend and gifted to us 

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, with all of its activity, let us remember to take time to listen, to draw near to the heart of God, by being aware of His presence.  In your heart, may you hear the cries of the baby Jesus, the noises of the animals in the stable and the eternal message of hope.  Jesus came!  Jesus is coming back!  Let us abide in His presence as we celebrate His birthday while looking forward to His return.





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