I asked him to take his mecidine before we left for school.  It’s still sitting on the counter.

I encouraged the girls to eat a breakfast bar and pulled a couple out of the basket. The bars are still sitting on the counter.

I have told the girls several tricks to fixing curly hair. They still think they know best—never mind that I have worn this curly head of hair for more than twice as long as they’ve been alive. 

I seem to give out advice and instruction out of genuine concern for the well being of each of my kids. I believe I have some wisdom to share. And many, many times they turn away from the words I impart to them. Sometimes it is just ignoring me in general. Other times it is to deliberately disagreeing and choosing opposite. 

As I watched Mack stand out in the cold temperatures this morning because he wanted to be dropped off outside while the girls went inside for their praise band practice—a practice he is welcome to come inside the warm buidling for—I just shook my head. They boy is stubborn. The boy thinks he knows best about most everything these days and it is just about to do me in.

After the girls got out of the car and I began driving away, it was like the Lord just set a question in my mind. “What words of advice or words of encouragement is the Lord giving you that you are ignoring?”

hmmmmmm. Well, why’d He have to go and get so personal?

 It put me in the same exact position as my kids. God is my loving parent with words of love and wisdom to share, and He has my very best interest at heart. I am the distracted, arrogant, floundering kid trying to do it all on my own.

So when I got home, I sat down with my Bible and a pen and notebook and asked God, “Is there anything you have been trying to tell me that I have just not been willing to hear?”

And guess what? He told me. It was a very simple thing that did require an email to be sent. But it freed up some money every month and it freed up my mind from the constant feeling that I was wasting money and wasting the opportunity. Living within God’s boundaries allows for much freedom, and I am so thankful He convicted me this morning and spoke to me about what to do.  I want to ask this question on a more regular basis. He is the leader. I am the learner. Listening is key.

Maybe one day soon my kids will feel the same way about me, but I am not holding my breath.

DO YOU HEAR ME?

Mack is growing into a young man. I remember wanting to freeze him as a 9 year old boy. He was so helpful and listened so well and loved me so very much and showed it unabashedly. I do NOT want to freeze 12 year old Mack. Nope. If 9 year old boys are precious and kind, 12 year old boys pretty much take every opportunity to reveal the opposite of that. I still love him with every fiber of my being—don’t misread me. But I am ok with the passing of time during this 12 year old year. 

I am often telling Mack things to do. And at first they start out sweet, but direct. “Hey, Mack. I need you to take those clothes to your room and put them away.”

(Much time passes and I notice they are still folded in the basket sitting in the living room.)

“Hey, Mack. You may not have understood me before, but I want you to get those clothes, take them to your room, put them in the drawers they belong in, and I want you to do it now.”

(It’s bedtime and we are shutting down the living room, turning off lights, straightening up, etc and I notice the basket of clothes still sitting there.)

“MACK. I was nice enough to collect your nasty, stinky clothes, take them upstairs and wash them, move them to the dryer, fold them and put them in the basket for you—-THE LEAST YOU CAN DO IS OBEY ME. I AM NOT YOUR MAID. I KNOW IT SEEMS LIKE THAT FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT I ASSURE YOU, I AM NOT YOUR SERVANT. SO GET YOUR BUTT IN HERE AND TAKE THESE CLOTHES TO YOUR ROOM. DO YOU HEAR ME?!?!?”

He then proceeds to act like I am a raving lunatic and asks me why I am yelling. He also says, “And by the way, I really don’t like when you ask, ‘Do you hear me?’ It makes me so irritated.”

I mean, this is hysterical to me. You don’t listen and obey me, but you have the audacity to tell me you are irritated by my, “Do you hear me?” Please, tell me more about what I do that irritates you. I would love to know.

In church during worship last Sunday I was aware of the many circumstances that make my life seem complicated, chaotic, out of control, too much to process and too much to handle here on earth. (I am a 9 enneagram, so I greatly value peace and calmness.) I closed my eyes and it was like I saw a line between earth and heaven. Crazy, chaotic, disorder down here on earth and then right across that line was calm and peace and stillness and order. His presence in any situation brings peace that passes understanding. I need His presence.

Sometimes in my life I find it hard to hear God’s voice. There are an abundance of distractions here on earth. Lots of things to do, people to talk to, lists to make, instagram stories to watch (insert eye roll). We need some quiet in our lives to hear from God. NOT because He can’t be heard in the middle of crazy and chaotic. He can. But the quiet helps us lean in and listen. Don’t you think? 

This morning I woke up and walked my tired self down the hallway and into the kitchen where coffee was hot and ready thanks to my awesome husband. I was sleepy. My muscles were sore, and I wanted to stay in bed. But not more than I wanted and needed to hear from God. I need His Word, His perspective, His presence, His peace. And I got it this morning.  I studied Hebrews 4:14-5:14 and was reminded that I can boldly approach His throne of grace and find grace and mercy to help me in my time of need.  And I had some needs. 

And God’s voice was so clear and firm and loving and comforting. He said, “Do not worry.” He said, “Remember my faithfulness to you over all of your life.” He offered this: “Rest in Me.” He reminded me to “Look at what you can’t see. I am always working. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. My ways are higher than your ways. Trust Me.” I wrote what I heard down in my journal. 

And then, before I closed my journal and moved on into the day before me, it was like He said, “Do you hear me?”

Like I do with Mack when I am saying things but he is not acting on them—God was encouraging me to pause, take in these truths, believe them and put those beliefs into action.

Maybe you find yourself dull of hearing today. What are the truths God is speaking to your heart? Do you hear Him?

 In The Listening Life by Adam S. McHugh, he says, “In prayer we offer our ears and whole selves to God, in all of life’s contingencies, whether we’re in a quiet chapel or a noisy crowd. We do not have to fight for particular situations or seek out the perfect atmosphere for listening. Listening is not required for the spiritual aristocracy. Listening is about more than straining to hear voices; it’s about preparing the conditions of our hearts, cultivating an opennes inside us. In this way, listening is a posture, one of availability and surrender. We don’t control how or when God will speak, but we can control the acoutstics that receive the sound. We want to prepare an inner place that is open and hospitable to God’s voice. That inner place requires humility, patience, attentiveness and trust. We must have hearts already surrendered in ourder to recognize his voice when he calls.” (page 81,82)

Just as Mack has a responsibility to hear and receive what I, as his mom, say to him, I have a responsibility to hear and receive what God says to me. Is the soil of my heart soft and pliable and ready to receive the seed? Or is the soil filled with thorns that choke out His needed Word in my life? 

“Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:9