Imagination can take us places that bear no relation to reality.
I began this year with a conviction and desire to listen better to all God wants to speak into my life. It follows on naturally from my #oneword365 being 'listen'.
My mind envisaged restful moments spent relaxing in His presence while He poured out words of wisdom and peace.
It would be wonderful. I would hear messages of encouragement to share with others. I would drift through my days with an increasing awareness of Holy Spirit's whispers on the wind.
Only..it hasn't quite panned out that way. Who knew listening could be so painful, challenging, personally humiliating and hard?
Instead of a lovely lightness and liveliness of heart, I feel drained, weary, worn out, with worms eating at my soul.
Exhaustion makes me cranky. Impatience reigns. Sin crouches at the door waiting to ensnare me. It's my own overly hasty 'wish-I-could-swallow-them-back' words I'm hearing, and the sad resigned response from my husband.
All God seems to be saying is, "Look out. You've made another blunder". My heart is heavy with sorrow over faults and failings. Peace has flown out the window and listening has become an act of obedience rather than joy.
Yesterday, following a run of wakeful, pain-filled nights, I unleashed another impatient tirade on my beloved. In full flow until an insistent ring stopped me in my tracks.
It was enough to bring me to my senses. And as I paused to listen to a stranger's voice oozing warmth and understanding, I lost it all over again with a healing unravelling cascade of tears.
For here was someone from a ministry we support giving us a courtesy call to say thanks and ask if we needed prayer. Ready to reach out a hand, to stand in the gap and intercede.
Life interrupted as God saw a need and stepped in. A holy moment in the midst of mayhem. Reminder of His goodness and grace seeping into the cracks and crevices of our days.
Knowing we're all in the process of becoming what He wants us to be ~ beautiful and strong in Him.
Reassurance to restore faith and confidence that His promises stand firm, unshakable as Rock and ready to be fulfilled. A life can be changed in an instant. Calm can replace chaos.
Living as we do with continual physical and mental health challenges, we cling to His word in desperation. How long, O Lord? When, God when? This the silent mantra we move to.
Nothing external has changed. But we are altered by a few moments of intent listening to another speaking as if from the Lord.
I still bear burdens Jesus aches to carry for me. I still mess up and have unwise words escape my mouth. But God is reminding me of His nearness and drawing me to His side in increasing dependence and trust.
And God has blessed me further with a 'Prayer Whisper' from His heart to mine this morning:
"I will speak to you this year in small ways because I am training you to trace My hand at work in the minutiae of daily life. As you see and hear Me speaking in the little things, so you will develop a sensitive ear that is more attuned to My presence.
Sometimes there will be a flood of words. At others you will have to strain senses and flex faith muscles to be aware of what I'm saying.
It is vital for you to listen to your life, your body, emotions, actions and reactions as well as heeding My voice. My desire is for you to live mindfully; be aware of your need of grace, the space you create for misery or joy, the weariness signalling time to withdraw, be silent and rest in My loving embrace.
Walk through your days with an attitude of praise before you see any change for the good happening. Praise paves the way for My presence to operate in all its fullness and opens the door to thankfulness within you ~ regardless of circumstances.
Your inheritance as My child is to experience beauty for ashes and joy in the midst of adversity."
Looking for the sound of laughter in my #1000gifts count yesterday seemed impossible. So many days feel circumscribed by weakness, weariness and pain, bereft of joy in any measure. Yet it was there.
Here was a gift from God ~ a call to bring me back to awareness and a trickle of smiles to treasure as we watched a mini video of our grandson's alert opening up to life around him.
This precious young life, a bare two months old, already operating as God intends us to ~ embracing life in all its fullness with an open, receptive mind and heart.
Babies and children have much to teach us about relishing the moment. In the deliberate seeking out joy can be found. In surrender to seconds, seasons and seeing anew we can listen to our lives and see that they are a holy offering to the Author of life itself.
Joining here with Nacole for #concretewords and #listentoyourlife
And with Ruth for #Letterto This week's prompt is 'Letter to the tired'
**NOTE** ~ As you can see, I'm just a beginner in the art of listening but I hope to grow and improve as the year goes on. To help me to do just that I am joining Nacole's community of women who want to listen hard to God, to their lives and to one another. You're very welcome and warmly invited to join us as we live and learn together.