Listen Up

Everyone should be quick to listen.
James 1:19


How could my precious little seven year old utter such a grown up word? I'd heard inappropriate words fall my girls' lips before so I wasn't entirely surprised. And thanks to my vast parenting expertise I knew just what to do in the situation.

1) Don't react.
2) Ask my child if she knows what _____ means.
3) Calmly explain why we don't use the word.

My flawless execution of my parenting plan was followed by a barrage of repentant tears. Chalk one up for my nomination as Mother of the Year. 

A day later I was in the laundry room folding clothes when my daughter walked in with that inquisitive look on her face. 

"Mom, I can ask you anything right?"

"Of course, Sweetie."

"Can you explain exactly what's wrong with saying the word snacks?"


I had clearly wasted a perfectly good mom lecture. Worse I now had some apologizing of my own to do. 

Sometimes I'm not a much better listener with my Father than I am with my kids. I lay out my requests to Him and wait in confident expectation He will answer. I wait until I see a glimpse of what I expect to hear and than charge full-force in my self-determined direction. 

Instead I need to listen up - to turn my focus toward God and give Him my undivided attention without expectation. 

Do you ever jump to conclusions when try talking with God? How do you clear the air and tune into His voice instead of your own thoughts?

Unrestrained Passion

The words of the reckless pierce like swords. 
Proverbs 12:18

It was one of those calls you don't want to receive. My mom was sick. Really sick. Hospitalized with a ruptured appendix, I feared sepsis.

I quickly loaded my three children - 10, 7 and 1, and my five week pregnant body into the car for the 8 hour drive separating me from my ailing mother. After several days of recovery, she was released to her home for further recuperation. Another of my sisters was headed in to take my place so I made arrangements to head home.

To accommodate my unplanned trip, my ex-husband generously agreed to a delay of his visitation with my oldest two. Since I was so early in my pregnancy, I had to fight exhaustion to rise at four am for the all-morning drive back to my home.

Unfortunately along the way we ran into multiple traffic delays. My already tiring trip was punctuated by irritable inquiries from my ex as to the exact timing of my return. In the midst of this my oldest confessed she had left her orthodontic retainer at home. Freshly out of braces, she couldn't go another night without her appliance. 

Three hours after my promised return time my car limped into our driveway. There was no retainer in my daughter's bedroom. In truth, she had misplaced it. Her confession of its home location was just a childish ploy to delay facing consequences.

One too many hours short on sleep and fielding one too many accusatory questions from my ex and all the stress and strain of the prior days bubbled up my throat, out my mouth and straight into the heart of my daughter.

My words were harsh.

My tone was hateful.

I painfully failed her as a loving mother and a woman of restraint. 

To this day it remains my biggest parenting regret.

But God is bigger than my biggest parenting failure. He used this life moment to retrain my tongue. I realized the only safe place to bring my frustration is to His ear. Today, as I rant and rave, He restores and replenishes my heart.

I have my Father's ear. There He gives me a safe place to unfurl unrestrained passion. When I give Him an ear full, He gives me a heart full. I go to Him empty and come away with plenty.

Is God a safe place for you? If not, where you unload your deepest hurts?