It was during one of those really hard days—one of those days in which the entire family struggled with crankiness and dealing with even the smallest of daily tasks—that I caught my oldest daughter standing in the kitchen sobbing uncontrollably. As I looked down at her, without taking a single moment to listen to what she was trying to tell me, I hastily snapped, “What can possibly be wrong now?!” And through her tears she snapped back, “UGH! I just want someone to listen to me! Why won’t anyone listen to me anymore?!”
Listening. What a hard thing to do. Whether it is listening to or for the needs of your children or to your spouse’s latest work update, diving into the depths of listening can, at times, be tremendously hard. And when we allow ourselves to be consumed with the hard days of motherhood, as my oldest daughter reminded me, we form the awful habit of tuning out the important moments and tiny voices that guide us in being who God has formed us to be. Sometimes, when we stop listening, we stop hearing the gentle voice of God challenging us to do what his Son desires for us to do as mothers and truth seekers.
In Mark’s gospel, after God instructs the Apostles to “Listen to him” (9:2-10), they are immediately challenged by Christ not to tell anyone what they encountered on the mountain. Oh, how hard that must have been! To witness such a beautiful, spiritual awakening only to be told not to tell anyone until the right time. Listening to God at that moment in time meant that they would have to commit to the challenge of keeping a secret. And the Apostles listened, not only committing to the instructions given, but to opening their hearts and minds to Christ’s continued instructions as he carried onward in his ministry. We also see the same in the story of Abraham and his son, Isaac. Abraham was so dedicated to listening to God, to committing himself to God’s instructions, that he was willing to sacrifice his only son (Gen 22: 1-2, 9). Yes, listening is hard to do, for when we do it well, really well, we often find God challenging us in new ways that we might think we are not prepared to take on. Yet, it is through active listening that we are abundantly blessed as God generously rewards those who listen.
Listen to him. Listen . . . to . . . him. What is he saying to you as you walk on the path of motherhood during this Lenten season? How are your children, the to-do lists, the errands, challenging you to commit to Christ and to do his will?
Listen to him. Listen . . . to . . . him. Can you hear him? What noises do you need to remove from your life so that you might hear Christ more clearly? How can you help your children silence the world around them so that they, too, can hear him?
Listen to him. Listen . . . to . . . him.