When time is going crazy fast, it can be easy to lose sight of the important things in life. I remember how stopping to pray with little ones was the most important part of my day...teaching them to keep those lines of communication open with God....praying in the car as we passed by an accident, or for our meals, or those "can't keep my eyes open" bedtime prayers (where my son would go on...and on....and on....praying for every living thing that he saw that day...until I was sound asleep on his bed!).
It was a season of teaching them to talk to God...and that was good...but oh, how I wish I could have instilled more in their young hearts on how to LISTEN to God. Now they're all grown up, and I can't capture those moments again, but I can reflect and learn, and maybe, someday, they'll stumble upon this blog and hear how sorry I am that I didn't teach them that...
I shoulda, coulda, woulda - taken time to be still to hear HIM. Oh, there were moments in the madness of raising family that I'd make us stop and listen - but it was more about hearing the creation worship our Creator - hearing the birds sing their songs of praise, the wind rustling through the "trees of the fields" and the chiming of the brook bubbling down the creek. How I wish I could have taught them to listen deeper, to hear that "still, small, voice" of the Holy Spirit.
I shared yesterday in my "Focusing on the Family" class of DOK at church on things I wish I would have done differently - and I thought of how I wouldn't have taken quiet time ALONE so often. I would have moved it off of my bed, in the late night hours, and moved it to the middle of the house. I was reminded of when I was babysitting, and how quickly the little girl learned that "this is the chair I go to to read my Bible, to be still, to listen to what God is saying to me through His Word. " She learned so quickly, and in no time at all as she would see me head to that chair, she would grab my Bible and climb on my lap....and how I wish I had done that with my OWN kids!!
I pray that they learn the discipline of "time with God," and can't say how many times He speaks to me through His Word. Whether I am seeking an answer by using a keyword search, or just reading in day to day messages, He will often address something I'm struggling with - or something I need to be changing. How precious are His words!!
Probably one of the biggest blessings in my life right now is how He is speaking to me through my relationships. I have never, in my entire life, been blessed with so many SOLID Christian friendships. I am constantly reminded how He uses my friends to speak truth to my heart, often without prompting me, but speaking through them to encourage, discipline, and motivate me. It is also a good reminder for me that my words can build or tear down, and that's all the more reason for me to be immersed in scripture, that I might speak words of salt and light to a hurting world. Yes, this is something I recently heard from God.
Sometimes I get so enthusiastic when God speaks something to my heart, and I want to instantly put it into motion. Recently I attended a conference on how to impact the Muslim people around us, and it opened my eyes to the hurting world of international people in my neighborhood. One of the ideas that He spoke to my heart, was that so many of them are international students, attending school in the colleges around me. I know that there are many ways to impact this community, but one thing I had not thought of before was being in school with them, not as a teacher, not trying to talk them into coming to a campus ministry event, but in the classroom, daily (or M/W/F...), getting into study groups and allowing myself to encourage friendships though study groups and projects. I was initially excited about this idea, and surprised that I hadn't thought of it before...and as I began to pray about it, I remembered (or was reminded) that these ideas that He speaks to my heart, are not always for ME to fulfill. Sometimes I'm to cast this net out, and allow someone else help pull it in. It's definitely HIS idea, and HE can work it for good, but this may not be the time for me to do it...perhaps HE wants to do it "through me" by using others...I've seen that before in my life.
So hearing from God takes a few things, like maturity, discipline, stillness, wisdom and discernment, and to be using these gifts daily so they are in good practice.
At least, I think that's what He meant by that...
I'd better go search the Word, spend some time in prayer, and seek His face in the stillness of my soul as I listen for His voice...