An Important Medal

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power                                                 and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Years after my grandfather died the medals he earned in the military were given to each of us grandchildren. This was very special and something I treasure. Having something of value matters when someone is no longer on earth. A tangible object is a wonderful reminder of an impactful person. My medal has a rather unique inscription. It reads, “Free From Fear and Want”. I wonder what he must have done to earn such an award? Sometimes I would like to pin it to my coat as a reminder to myself that I am free of fear too.

IMG_7285If there is anything that I have lived with for most of my life, it would be fear. It seems to have been imbedded in my DNA. I remember being so afraid as a child and it never seemed to stop as I got older. In fact, it is something that I am so much against as a parent that I do not allow frightful things in our home. We do not even watch scary movies. I find nothing funny about deliberately frightening someone. We never turn away a child that has a bad dream in the night either. A little less sleep is worth a child feeling safe. This chain of fear has been broken.

We read in scripture, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. Be he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18). This verse helps shape my words a bit better on how I feel about fear and what seems to be the opposite, love. And while my love by itself is not perfect, the love Christ has placed inside of me by His Holy Spirit is perfect. This is the love I want poured out in our home and anywhere else we go. What a difference that would make! Watching how our kids are growing so quickly reminds to not waste opportunities to give love away here at home. I choose love over fear.

Today in Bible study we read from Acts 18. The Lord spoke some powerful words to Paul and I let them sink deep into my own heart. He said, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you…”(Acts 18:9-10). The constant reminder that the Lord is always with us and living inside of us gives me great confidence. Not in myself, but in my God. This is the place I want our children to grow confident in. Fear will flee when you remember who you are and whose you are. And in the remembering I can picture a beautiful medal pinned to my coat. One that I did not earn, but Jesus Christ gave His life for me to have. Because His perfect love has the power to cast out all my fears. It seems to be that this has been satan’s plan all along. Maybe he thought if he could keep me fearful, then maybe I would be quiet. The opposite has indeed happened. This ingrained fear drove me straight into my Heavenly Father’s arms. And now I can recognize a fearful person in a second and I long to offer them the gift of His love. This invitation is for you to, friends. The choice is up to you. Freedom awaits.

*Go listen to Zach Williams, Fear is a Liar, if you need some encouragement:)

*Medal is from World War II. I addressed the fear part and will dive into the want piece soon. Been set free from that too!

A Good Race

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you                                     from obeying the truth?”  – Galatians 5:7  

A few days ago our oldest daughter said she was running in a 5K and asked me to run with her. She said she needed a running partner. While I really tried to be a runner, I have settled for fast walker instead. However, inspired by her asking and an amazing friend just completing a 50 mile race, I thought 3 miles should be doable. It was a really cold night, so be bundled up, got numbers pinned to our backs and off we went. We had been told the course and that signs would mark our way. It was a beautiful night and started of fairly easy. After a bit it was getting tougher. With my girl offering encouraging words and a few minute walk, we kept going.

IMG_7186She shared her AirPods with me so we each had praise music going through our ears. By sharing we were able to listen to the same music. It helped us keep the same pace. At one point, a song about being with our Heavenly Father was playing and I was getting tired again. The man in charge of the race came up beside us. I told him I did not feel very light on my feet when I ran. He never stopped running, but gave me a few tips. These few adjustments changed everything. He stayed beside us and then when we went through a dimly lit area, he moved ahead of us. There was so much that resembled life as a Christian that I could hardly stand it.

Being asked to come along someone is such an honor. Our children ask all the time when they are younger for us to be close. They want you to read, play, see and hear them. If you do not take the time, they will eventually find someone who will as they get older. I have found as the kids get older that we as parents have to be the one asking more since their lives expand outside the walls of our home. One thing I love is that my husband and our oldest have a standing breakfast date every Thursday morning. This thrills me to no end! He will do the same with the other 6 children. They never outgrow wanting to be valued, worthy of their time by their parents, in my opinion. Keep pursuing your kids.

Another resemblance was the music. When words of truth are being heard, received and obeyed, unity comes. The “keeping in step” piece is also in place. There was also the correction. I was not running properly. My steps felt hard as they landed and took extra effort. I listened to someone who knew what they were talking about, corrected my thinking and immediately my steps were adjusted. The race seemed to end too soon and I wanted to keep running. However, a dinner was planned to celebrate and then we ran to our car. What a difference correction can make and how fun it is to celebrate.

A few days before our run, I stumbled upon the verse at the top. “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7). What a powerful question, don’t you think? We can look at Christians who start strong, read the Word of God and obey truth, but when things get hard, they stop running and maybe stop talking to God all together. Maybe it was a camp experience and the week away was good, but the reality of home cut in. Perhaps it was a broken heart that cut in, and instead of drawing even closer to the Lord, you somehow blamed Him. Regardless of the who, what, where that cut in, you have left an unfinished race. The time is still ticking and others runners are missing you on the trail. Do you not realize that He has a feast (Revelation 19:7) prepared for those who run home?

I do not know where you are in this story. I pray you are running the race well. I pray that you allow nothing to cut in on you and you press on in truth. There is so much shouting these days and anger abounds. Fear can easily set in and sideline you for the rest of your days. Selfishness can keep you so wrapped up in your own race that you miss the others runners. What a sad opportunity to encourage others. I am thankful for the day with our daughter. It was a gift in so many ways. Don’t miss your race friends.

 

An Age Old Question

“If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself.” Luke 23:37

We read this verse in church this morning and it hit me like it was brand new. This question was mockingly thrown at Jesus while He hung on the cross for our sins. His authority was in question, but He did not spend the strength to answer. Maybe we should do the same. Does every comment really need a response? When you know who you are, you do not have to defend yourself to everyone that questions you. Some fights are not worth fighting because if a person has a hard heart, nothing you say will make a difference. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words and your response.

IMG_6970The other part that stuck out to me was the demand to “save yourself”. How many times have we heard something similar? This burden is placed on our shoulders and it is up to us to save ourselves. The thing is we cannot save ourselves. We cannot pay the price of sin and no amount of trying will cover our debt. The very thing Jesus was mocked for is the only way to be saved. What kind of King is He that saves sinners like us? King Jesus, the Son of God who longs to have you accept His life in place of yours.

I know it goes totally against our culture today. We are shouted out to make our own way.  Stand up for yourself. Do not go the way of the humble, but rather make a name for yourself. The past two mornings I have been reminded of this verse, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). I would rather walk with my God and make His name famous. I know who He is, my King and all authority has been given to Him. I trust His power and therefore can remain humble.

Maybe you have heard the term, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or maybe that is just a Texas thing. Yes, do your part, but I think it is beautiful to ask the Lord for help. Sometimes He is loud and clear and the path levels quickly. Other times the path feels more like an underground tunnel, but you trust the One who is leading you. I love this verse, “When I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:8). For me it has been a very long season of being in the dark. However, the Lord is my light and I trust. I do not feel the need to kick and scream my way out, because my noise would only hinder my hearing Him. Instead I do what He has before me today. This time of darkness has grown my roots, so to speak, deep in His love and I am actually very thankful. A weak root system is very unhealthy, especially in a storm.

I once asked an amazing artist and author about her work. She said that people only see the results, but not the 10 years of her hidden work. That has long stuck with me and helped encourage me to keep trusting and depending on the One who knows me full well. He knows the plans written for me before I was born and His love for me is sure. The cross tells me this is so. And if He chose to die on the cross for all the world, then I will spend my days making Him known. I may be in the dark, but that never changes who He is. In fact, I would say He is even brighter to me here. And anytime you want to come sit with me here in this space, I will point you to His light.

Happy Sunday!

 

 

 

He Stays Awake

“…the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8

 

As the kids get older, their schedules change. Their days get a bit longer and they stay out later. The season of early bedtimes are gone and therefore requires us to change our patterns. I have tried and cannot seem to become a night owl. Thankfully, I happened to have married a man who can get up early and stay up late. When one of the kids stays out past my bedtime, he remains awake. He waits for them to come home at the agreed upon time. He meets them at the door to make sure the lights are on and to hear how their outing went. If it isn’t too late, they will make a beeline to our room and I get to hear a rundown of the night as my eyes are usually closing. I like that and know it will be one of the million little things I miss as they each leave.

IMG_4944I was thinking about this the other day and what a picture it is of God. How He is always awake, ever watching over us and it brought such peace. The example I see each and everyday of the loving father these kids have, floods my heart with gratitude. He waits up because he loves them. He asks questions, listens, helps, is available, goes out of his way to show them they are loved, wants to spend time with them and it is remarkable. I am in no way putting him on a high place and idolizing him, for that throne is reserved for God and God alone. No person belongs there, for they will fail. However, I am saying that this shows our kids a glimpse of their Heavenly Father.

When I think on the living God watching over me because He is never asleep or distracted, it reminds me that I am loved. It reminds me that He has my life fully under His control and I can rest. I can trust Him to always be available and His help is perfect for my need. Sometimes it feels like He has fallen asleep because I do not see anything changing, but that is not the truth. Funny how feelings and truth can get tangled up in my heart. When that happens, my thoughts and words follow suit and it is a mess. Even still, He waits with the light of His Word shining bright and welcomes me home into His presence. How can I not love Him?

As the kids continue to grow up, I pray they remember, not only does their earthly father love them no matter what, but that their Heavenly Father will never stop loving them either. The teacher of the class I took last week really drove that truth home too. One look at the Bible in its entirety takes that option of God ending His love for us off the table. I am so thankful and goodness, this sure makes me love Him even more. And as far as parenting goes, I have found this to be a wonderful truth as well. Kids respond so well to unconditional love.

 

*Picture was taken years ago on Father’s Day. I think we need to do this again!

Too Much

“…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

 

I have spent the past three days increasing my knowledge of the Bible. Our church has a great partnership with a local seminary and they host classes at our church. It was a class that walked through the entire Bible, presenting the grand story of our God. What I can tell you after this class is I love God now more than I did before it started. It was remarkable to see His His love on display. It was also a prayer I have been praying for awhile now that my love for Him increases and my heart has expanded in love for Him.

IMG_7029It reminded me of when I met my husband and getting to know each other was so exciting. We could not spend enough time together and living in different states made that a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, that distance gap closed when I got a job here and moved. Looking back at that move still shocks me. I lived alone for the first time ever, in a new city and with only knowing a few people. Funny how this city is now our home and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. It also amazes me the courage that came with knowing this was part of God’s plan for me. I should not have even gotten the job, but I did. Now over 20 years later, looking back I am so thankful for His plan for me. I cannot deny His love, even in hard things. I also still love getting to know my husband too. He is easy to love.

Back to my class experience. One of the sweetest things happened even before the class began. I was about to walk in and I saw one of our pastors. Years ago I had emailed him because I was troubled with a few things in our church. He responded kindly, but my heart was arrogant. I later apologized in an email and sent encouragement a time or two, but there is something good about a face to face apology. I told him my name and what I had done. He looked at me and said some amazing words. He said he didn’t remember, but that in every criticism there is some truth. He told me it was forgotten and forgiven and to never mention it again. If I reminded him then he would remember and we weren’t doing that. A load lifted from my shoulders that I did not know was there. Forgiveness is a good thing to receive and to give.

I had only taken a few steps away from this conversation when I heard my name. A friend was there and then another one joined us. We were all so excited to learn and quickly found a seat. Even where we sat was a gift because I met some precious people. There was also one lady that sat behind me that would say softly some amazing words at times when the teacher was talking. I quoted her in the margin of my Bible because it impacted my heart. For three days I honestly felt saturated in love.

So how do we respond to love? You live loved in your everyday. You share the Good News, you pray for others, you smile, you offer help, you give your time, you encourage, you laugh, you spend time getting to know God and His Word. I pray we live loved well this week! And GO CHIEFS!!

*This picture was taken a few days ago at the rodeo. It also perfectly mirrors how I felt the past three days.

One Sentence

“Walked all day with the living God.” -Emma Scrivener

There is a precious group of younger moms that come to our home once a month. I tried to set a perfectly constructed agenda, but that was not life giving for any of us. So now we gather, one brings a delicious treat, we laugh, share and pray. It is such a sweet time. There is time for each person to be heard and prayed for. Whatever the need, I already know Who the answer is and so do they. One of these sweet moms shared an article with all of us and it was fantastic. It was entitled, “You Didn’t Do Nothing Today”. And it addressed the life of an unseen servant.

IMG_6297One of the lines stopped my eyes and I could not move forward. The author was telling about her day and one of the things she listed was, “Walked all day with the living God.” What an incredible reminder! We have been told that He is always with us, but are we mindful of His presence? Do we ignore Him or do we engage? When we are having a hard day, week, month or year, we are more aware of our need it seems to me. However, when all is well, are we mindful of our invitation to walk with God? Furthermore, what does that actually look like?

For me and my daily relationship with the living God, it took some hard things and some amazing people who live out this walking adventure. All the basic knowledge I had was enough to give you the right answer and yes, I was “saved” at the age of 11, but I knew there had to be more. The whole be good enough/earn your worth trap got me hung up for awhile, but thankfully that is no longer. Trying to be ok in others eyes can put you in a constant state of work, but you never get a day off. How tiring that becomes. When you long for rest, security, unconditional love, peace and lasting joy you become very aware of people who seemed to have found all of this. Their smiles are bright, their eyes meet yours and they have a confidence that cannot be shaken. Even when life is hard they remain true to who you have always known them to be.

Currently I am watching a family that have spent their life telling people about this living God. Now, the husband has lost his wife of 49 years and a daughter just had a major surgery. Their response to loss is unbelievable. While the pain and grief is not downplayed at all, their dependence and trust is on display. I am amazed and pray for them often. This man encourages others and is so thankful for the care their family has received. It is beautiful to watch and I can’t get the words out of my head I heard spoken. “I believe what I preach.” So simple and tells me that the preaching is the easy part. It is the daily living, the daily walking in these times, especially these times, that show true belief.

I remember being so wrapped up in my own grief and feeling so alone most days when my mom died. I did not even muster up the courage to write thank you notes to the thoughtful ones who sent flowers for her funeral. So, if you sent a card while she was sick, a note to my family or flowers, thank you. Thank you for giving gifts of comfort. I know I am almost 9 years late, but thank you. It was noticed and appreciated, just overshadowed. Amazing how time gives you a sense of gratitude for even small gestures of people giving of themselves. I was starved for it at the time and did not even know it. This families loss brought some of this back to the surface and for that I am thankful.

While that was many years ago, I have to say that one of the gifts that came out of that time was my acknowledgment of needing more. God became even more important to me and I wanted more of Him. That desire continues to increase and I cannot get enough of who He is. This daily walk begins early and the words He has written astonish me. The way He answers questions I have or gives direction to my struggles is mind-blowing. Only the living God could do what He does. I love talking to Him and listening. I love sharing Him with others. I love giving words of encouragement and hope. I love telling our kids how He loves them and wants them to know Him. There is nothing like a life with the living God who wants me walking beside Him towards home. I wonder do you know Him?

 

 

Worth It

Have you ever read through the fourteenth chapter of Acts? We did in Bible study and the life of Paul astounded me once again. This man would not give up sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. He faced so much opposition, division and physical abuse, but he never gave up. In this chapter he is even stoned and left for dead outside of the city. The man got up and went back into town. Who would do such a thing? Wouldn’t fear keep you away?

IMG_6743As we read this chapter a few times, the thought hit me that Paul must have thought that the Good News was worth sharing and that all people were worth telling. Why else would he have risked his life time and time again? The whole stoning thing would have shut me up I am afraid, but I pray I would have this kind of love and courage. Paul obviously knew whom he belonged to and had eternity in mind.

Another point that stood out to me in this chapter was the reaction some towns people had when he healed a man who had been crippled all his life. They began praising him like he was a god. His response was remarkable. He deflected all praise off of himself and back to the source of healing power, God. A woman in Bible study made the comment about modern day pastors who react in this way versus ones that seek glory for themselves. I do not trust teachers that are full of pride, for they will fall. Humility and a person who serves are the marks of a true leader and one who looks the most like Christ. Be careful who you allow to teach you.

Every time I read the Bible I am amazed at the lives of those who have gone before us. Some you learn from their mistakes and others you want to emulate. There is so much wisdom that can save us from years of wandering, where we miss out on a relationship with Jesus. Each page has words we need to read and ones that give us more insight into who God is. The more you dig into scripture, the more you realize you want to learn. Your love for God and others is the result. You want to make much of Him and little of yourself. I also want to pray that the risk of looking foolish, being persecuted and alone would not even compare to the joy found only in Jesus.

When we believe in our heart that He is worth it, people become worth it too. How can we withhold this news that will not only change lives now, but for eternity? Sometimes when I am out running errands, each person I pass I wonder if they know Christ. Do I risk looking foolish or keep going? There have been times where conversations have started and words just flow. He is so much apart of me that it is just as normal to speak about Christ as it is to talk about my family. However, I have not been put in a foreign country or a very hostile environment. Would I still be as bold? Would you?

For where God has me this day, I think I will go the way of courage. I will be ready to give an answer for my hope and speak words of love. We have it pretty easy compared to other places in our world. I do not think we will get to heaven and wish we would not have shared Jesus less. If anything, I think we will regret not sharing Him more. What is the worst that can happen? Someone looks at us weird, says something ugly or laughs? That sounds like a trip back into the halls of middle school! We made it through those rough years didn’t we? We are wiser now and hopefully rooted in the amazing love of God. Each person we encounter is worth sharing the Good News. May we be people of discernment and courage. May we not be afraid to speak the truth in love, but live it first. If our lives do not match up to our words, why would anyone find us worth listening too?  I look forward to seeing who the Lord puts in our paths!

Sunday Overflow

Today was one of those Sundays in church where I found it hard to stay in my seat. I was holding a sleeping 6 year old, so that kept me in place. However, my heart was soaring with joy from the words that were being spoken by our pastor. Then the music… I am not over that yet either. Words were expressed that have been in my heart for years. The title of the sermon was, “Reaching Out to Serve” and gave a simple explanation for the importance and reason why we serve. Our relationship with Christ should make a difference in our lives and love is the natural response. Serving is just extending the love that Christ has given to us. It becomes a way of life.

IMG_6761The song we ended the service was, “So Will I”, an older song by Hillsong. The lyrics are a declaration of praise to our God. It is so beautiful and filled me with peace. The thing about purpose is it brings you peace. The striving stops and peace floods in when we do what we were made to do – praise God. One of the things I love about Sundays is singing words of praise back to God with a room full of people. Makes me think we are getting a glimpse of heaven. Singing is one way we worship and I like to think it pleases God too.

As I read the words and sang along today, the line that summarized the sermon for me was towards the end.

I can see your heart in everything you’ve done                                                                     Every part designed in a work of art called love                                                                          If you gladly chose surrender so will I                                                                                              I can see your heart                                                                                                                       Eight billion different ways                                                                                                          Every precious one a child you died to save                                                                                  If you gave your life to love them so will I

Did you catch that? Each person we encounter was designed by God, in His image and Christ died for each one of us. He died for the sin of each person in the world, not just the ones who have accepted this act of love. Why would we pass up this gift? Why would we not spend our lives pouring out into other peoples lives, in hopes that they will experience the love of Christ?

When our oldest returned from the Passion Conference, she came home with gifts. She brought me two books and they are so good. One is by John Piper entitled, Don’t Waste Your Life. So much in just the title. I know that my life is not wasted if I acknowledge that I am a sinner, Christ died to pay the debt I could not pay for my sin, and I confess that He is who He says He is. God created us to be in relationship with Him and to live based on this love relationship. There is trust in knowing the extent God went to be in relationship with His creation. I have chosen to trust His faithfulness even when I do not understand. He is God and I am not.

This song strung together this declaration so beautifully. I’ve shared some of it with you, but you need to listen to it for yourself. A precious friend sent me the video from YouTube, so it is easy to track down there. When I watched the video, another line stuck out to me.

God of salvation You chased down my heart                                                                     Through all of my failure and pride

He loves us so much and pursues us even despite of all our sin. Who would want to remain separated from this kind of forgiveness and extravagant grace? Your life is not meant to be wasted and one way to ensure it is not is by serving with the love you have met in Jesus. He will give you what you need and it can be quite exciting!

So, as the week begins, look for ways to share this love that lives inside of you. Praise God with your life and do what you were created to do!

 

 

 

 

Ambassador

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”                           2 Corinthians 5:20

This is the verse that came to mind after writing yesterday. This is why our words, actions, whether or not we listen, our responses – all of it matters. We are a representation of Christ. He has entrusted us with His Holy Spirit that empowers us to represent Him well. I think about that so often with our children. Will I help or hurt their impression of who God is by the way I parent? My obedience to Him shapes who they believe God to be. It is not something I fear, but a privilege. It is so much easier when I choose His power over my own.

IMG_6877This role as an ambassador does not stop at home, but is a role we take with us everywhere we go. We carry with us the light of Christ. Will others notice something different about us or will we blend in?  Do we stand out because of our love for others or love of self? Do we set an example others want to follow? If they find out we are Christians, are they surprised in a good or bad way? Do we come across as being against so much and for so little? There is no freedom like the freedom found in Christ, but does that shine?

These are questions I am asking myself. These thoughts concern me because I do not always do a great job of being an ambassador for Christ. I get impatient, expect grace, but do not always extend it and the list could go on. The fact that God can use me is remarkable, but will He? How I behave does not change who He is, but it can give others a misrepresentation of His character. We are given this one life, in this time period, in this location and we need to use it well as ambassadors. You have influence over others and they can see Him or they can see you. Which will it be? Let’s be people who make much of Him and little of ourselves. Little about our agendas and much about the reconciliation Christ offers. Eternity is at stake friends.

*Eli took this picture of me yesterday with the lightbulb;)

Listening Well

Yesterday I was sitting at the kitchen counter working on a writing piece. The barstool beside me became more like a revolving door for the kids. One would sit down, share about their school day and I would listen. Then another would come and pour out their heart. One had a story that needed my assistance in writing down, so that was pretty entertaining. One by one they came and I listened. They were not looking for answers or for me to fix anything, just listen. My words could wait, but theirs could not.

IMG_6874Do you spend much time listening? It takes time, patience and self control. It means setting aside your expectations and answers. As a mom, we want to fix things, correct or help. Sometimes though we can come across as having it all figured out and we forget what it was like to be a child. Part of growing up is learning to figure things out on our own, but having a parent near by to listen is reassuring. We can run the risk of them not coming to us if we have correction ready and closed ears. Who will they find to listen?

Listening does not end with our kids. It carries on as a wonderful skill in friendships as well. Do you have friends who listen to you? Do you have friends you listen to? I will confess that I have failed at times with being a good listening friend. The Lord convicted my heart about this and I am working on it. The verse that comes to mind is, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19). Oh, the times we could avoid having to pull our foot out of our mouth, so to speak, if we would obey God’s word.

Can you even imagine what life would be like if we actually implemented this simple verse? I think about the words that would stop flying at the referee’s during our daughters basketball games. I think about the angry social media posts and responses that would stop. The horrible, disrespectful bashing of our President would come to an end. The hateful words against the opposite party would cease. In my opinion, these comments are just an accepted outlet for anger. I always wonder what lies below the surface. What hurt has not been healed, that makes one so angry? Quite possibly people have never felt heard, so this is your chance on social media.

What about another approach? The unraveling of a broken heart will take time and possibly money. Therapists, which I am thankful for, are paid great deals of money to listen. They listen, with notebook in hand, then ask questions. They listen to the answers, ask more questions and you end up knowing the answer to your hurt all along. It just takes someone willing to listen to get to the bottom of the heart issue. So, I wonder if we could keep our kids out of therapist offices if we would listen to them now? Maybe we could save our friends some money if we actually listened.

If you have good friends or grown up kids, do you listen and ask them questions or is always one-sided? If you are listening, are you already forming a response before they finish speaking? Then you are not listening. Do you have a solution to every problem or do you let the other person unravel just a bit of their heart? Just something to ponder.

I’m thinking these well trained therapist are on to a beautiful technique. Maybe our kids and friends hearts can be in better shape after they spend time with us. I say we ask the Lord to give us ears that actually hear and a tongue that remains silent more. Minimize quick corrections that do not really matter, ask a few more questions and allow time for conversation. I bet you will be amazed at what you learn. You might actually become someone that is sought after because everyone needs a listening ear at times.

So, I pray this year we become better listeners. Better at listening to God and obeying His Word. Better at being slow to speak, quicker to listen and very slow to getting angry. May our social media posts help, not hurt and our sporting events echo with cheers. I just know we will be happier because this is God’s idea, not mine.

*Picture of Eli having a lightbulb moment in the Walmart parking lot!