Finding the Meaning, Joy and Purpose…

…in the chaos and the crazy

Listening To His Voice

(This was written 5 years ago.  I still remember both days so well, and brings back memories of my sweet little 4 year old Monkey Boy.  He’s still sweet, but I miss the sweet little preschooler that he was.  I am thankful that he still chooses to use his words to encourage and bless me)

Two things have happened in the last week that really have me amazed.  Amazed by God, His perfect timing, and His perseverance to reach me.  Last Tuesday morning, I really wanted to take Luke to the library.  We hadn’t been for a few weeks since we’d been on vacation and the start of the school year was a flurry of activity and newness.  But as much as I told Luke I wanted to go, he repeatedly responded with the statement, “My heart doesnt want to go to the library.”  Odd….he never talks about his heart….he never said he didn’t want to go his heart didn’t want to go.  I pushed, cajoled, and finally after repeated conversations, decided to listen to his heart, and put my plans on hold.  Little did I realize at the time, it was who is in his heart that was sending that message.

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About an hour later, a friend of mine called about a shooting that happened at the library that morning.  A murder/suicide.  I knew no details……..except that Luke’s heart told us not to be there.  I almost fell over.  Here was my little, innocent 4-year-old, with the Holy Spirit speaking through him.  The ‘what if’s…” started running through my mind.  I was humbled, amazed, shocked, and grateful that I listened to God’s voice, which happened to come through my 4-year-old.  I know Luke’s voice, I hear it every day, all day, but this time, something was different.  God knows I’m stubborn, and strong-willed. He knew he needed to speak clearly and differently…and it still took me a little while to respond to his prompting.

We did find out later that the shooting took place in the parking lot before the time we would’ve arrived.  But, even still, who knows what Luke’s precious, innocent eyes might have seen as we arrived.  God does, and that’s why he wanted to protect us from that.  I know he wanted to protect Luke’s innocence.  And I’m so very thankful that I put aside my agenda to listen to His voice.

This morning, we were in the middle of the usual morning push to get the boys out the door for school.  It’s raining today, so that added a catch in our usual plans.  I’m committed to walking to school as long as we can before the winter blast of cold really kicks in.  But today, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was driving.  But time, as usual, was escaping us and I was frantically packing lunchboxes when I realized that the freezer just didn’t feel very cold.  This quickly turned into me realizing that food was melted in the freezer.  This is the second time this has happened since we moved in 3 months ago.  Needless to say, I was very frustrated.  Of course, this is putting it politely!  Here it’s a rainy, ugly day out, I have a million things on my to-do list, and now I have a freezer full of melting food.  Not a shining moment in my response.  I was less that gracious about this new development.  I quickly called Ian at work.  Why?  He couldn’t do anything from there….I just wanted to vent and b&m.  Not mature, I admit.  Not proud of my reaction.  Not a response, but a reaction.  The knee-jerk kind of reaction that I always regret.  I know better, I am better, but these are the kind of weak moments that get me.  A real area that I need to intentionally grow and change.  An area that I need God’s grace to help me grow.

So in the midst of my anger and annoyance, I’m on my cell with Ian when my other line beeped in.  Weird, it’s 8:15 and someone’s calling me on my cell?  I don’t recognize the number……..why should I answer it?  Probably a wrong number……but yet, my curiosity got the best of me!  I switched over and it was a woman from church.  Don’t know her well….but as she tells me who it is, she tells me she felt God telling her to call and encourage me this morning.  Again……I’m amazed, humbled and grateful that I again stopped to listen to God’s voice.  I again struggled to want to keep on my agenda, but was thankful that I put mine aside to listen to His.

You never know how or when God is going to speak to you…..it could be through your tiny child, an acquaintance about to be a friend, or a stranger.  I’m thankful that in the last week, I’ve been able to hear Him twice.  I’m thankful that I’ve stopped to listen.  But how many times have I missed?  How many opportunities have I missed?  How many times have I chosen to listen to my voice instead of the one calling me to reveal His love, care and encouragement?  And have I been faithful to reveal His voice to others?  I know I have in the past, but how many opportunities to share His love and encouragement have I been too busy to hear?  Really makes me think and reflect……….

Dear precious Lord, I thank you for your amazing love.  I do not deserve your grace and persistence in trying to reach me but I humbly accept it.  Please help me to ignore my own voice to hear yours.  I thank you for placing others in my life that bless me by sharing You with me.  Please help me to share your voice with others.  I desire to me more like you.  Please speak to me through your Holy Spirit.  In Your precious Son’s name, amen.

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The Crossing Guard

Do you ever have someone in your life that, no matter how well you do or don’t know them, they are a fixture in your day?

I sure do, or more correctly, did.

He was a crossing guard.  His name is Frank, and I only know that because I saw a picture of him in the newsapaper last 4th of July at a holiday event in town.  He was playing a bugle.
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But for the last 3 years, every day that I went to work, I would see him on the corner of the street my ‘little kids’ live on.  And every morning, and every afternoon, as he grinned and waved to me, I grinned and waved back.  Rain, snow, bitter cold, my crossing guard was there, grinning at me and lighting up my day, lighting up my heart.  Many days, I’d roll down my window and we’d chat.  He’d fuss over my puppy, say hi to my boys if I had them with me, chat about the weather, my boys football games.  But no matter what he said, my heart heard love.   How absurd it sounds to me to write the words that I loved this almost stranger. And that he loved me.  But that’s how it feels.  A man that brightened my day, made me feel special, made me feel seen, despite being in a minivan full of kids, dogs, stuff.  Despite the ‘stuff’ that might be going on in my head, I knew I would get a huge smile and wave.  And even, if only for a minute, my heart would soar.  Because I was seen.  In the middle of my day, my routine, my stuff, I was seen.  

And I wasnt just noticed, I was seen, appreciated, worthy, important.  

And now I realize that my crossing guard is a whole lot like Jesus.  In the middle of my day, my routine, my chaos and crazy, surrounded by kids, dogs, stuff….He sees me.  And He loves me.  Just because I’m there, just because I’m me.  Do I have a relationship with Him because I have placed my faith in Him and asked Him to be my Savior?  Of course.  But at it’s simplest, most basic…He loves me because I’m here, because I’m me.  And that makes my heart soar.  Because sometimes, I feel like I’m not seen.  Like those closest to me don’t really see me in the midst of all the crazy and all the chaos. But Jesus does. And He loves me, in spite of it all.
Maybe it’s really Jesus standing at that corner, stop sign in hand, orange safety vest and baseball cap  on, grinning at me and waving.  Saying, “I see you.  I love you.  You matter.”

And that’s more than enough.

Dear Lord, thank you for my crossing guard.  Thank you for placing someone in my life to brighten my days and make me feel loved.  I am in awe that such a simple gesture can stir emotions in my heart that I didn’t realize were there.
Please  guide and strengthen me to be a crossing guard in other people’s lives.  Not just the people who might be ‘driving by’ in my life, but those you have placed closest.  The ones that in the crazy and the chaos it can, sadly, be most difficult for me to press pause and truly see.  My boys, my husband, my friends.  The ones I’m so familiar with, the ones that know I love them, no matter what.  They matter too. They are my most important.  Please help me to take the time to put up my stop sign, stop the traffic in my head and heart, and just grin and wave.  And really see them.      
And then this school year started.  But my crossing guard didn’t.  He’s gone.  And he took a piece of my heart with me.
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