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Just Listen

At the end of last week, out of the blue, I received an e-mail letting me know that the pastor I worked with in Ethiopia was in town with his wife, about thirty minutes from where I live! I was totally stunned at that bit of news, as I've so recently been writing about my experiences in Ethiopia. The chances of this was a total God thing. So many times in my life, God has remembered occasions, anniversaries, meaningful times by doing something unexpected. He truly cares about the details in our lives and shows us that in big and small ways. Ten years ago, I thought the greatest thing I could do for God was to serve Him on the mission field. And it was an amazing time, with all kinds of wonderful and exciting experiences. But I have to say, that the last nine years as a wife and mother have challenged me spiritually and have also been full of wonderful and exciting experiences. The difference is mainly IN me. I can empathize with others much more now, having experienced: marital harmony and conflict, extended family relations and negotiations, childbirth and parenting, postpartum depression, job successes and losses, six moves in nine years... And I have begun to realize more and more that the greatest thing I can do is walk with God, every day. Welcome Him into my life, talk with Him, share with Him the goings on in my heart, talk about Him, share Him with those around me, every day in the big and small things. He doesn't need these dramatic moments to make Himself known, though those are great too. But God is in the every day. One of my absolute favorite verses in the Bible comes from I Kings 19. Elijah had just experienced a dramatic showdown with the prophets of Baal and got word that Jezebel was going to get him. He got scared and ran. And God sent an angel to take care of him. He ended up in a cave where God spoke to him. "11 And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice." Gentle stillness and a still, small voice. I remember a night when my heart was totally broken and I cried out to God. I was in a room full of people, so I hid my tears and screamed inside. I thought I was going to break. Suddenly, in the midst of this crowd of people who had no idea what was going on in me, the gentle stillness flooded over me. God answered my cry. I had peace. It was so amazing. Our firstborn's name means "God spoke." And He does gently speak to us, willing to share His heart and help us along the way. I need to sit still more often and just listen.

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