Snuggling under a cuddly blanket, I’m savoring my mid-afternoon patch of “renewal”… I’ve read my snatch of devotional, eaten three squares of dark chocolate, and had my eyes closed now for about ten minutes.
A familiar word starts to throb quietly in my brain.
It’s become familiar word over these last two months of 2013. I’ve heard it whispered in my heart on the way to a conversation, before picking up a book, before stepping out the door.
Now it swells to an urgency under my breastbone, an ache in my chest.
I obey. Snuggled under the blanket, I let my thoughts slow, still. I listen with my ears, with my heart.
The hum of the furnace in the basement. The soft rustle of my own breathing. The ringing sound of silence. The beat of my own heart. List-en. List-en.
This moment swells into the continuous Now.
He’s here. It’s His voice breathing “Listen!” in a stage whisper. It’s His urgency I feel - He doesn’t want me to miss something.
Miss what? I ask, burrowing further under my blanket, further into the widening moment. Miss what, Lord?
Miss this. Here. Now.
I almost did. I almost had chocolate, inspirational words, cuddly blanket, and doze… and no Jesus.
But He’s here. He's here. And now my blanket, chocolate, words and rest are more than just a weary mother’s reward - they are His actual arms wrapped around me.
Listen. I have so much more to show you. There’s so much for you to learn. Keep listening. Stay close. Don’t miss it.
My one word for 2014 is… you guessed it - listen.
Jesus is inviting me to listen to Him deeply, quietly, consistently, through each moment of each day.
He’s also inviting me to listen to people - His children, His art - in new, deeper, honest, sensitive ways.
He’s promising me I will deeply enjoy Him, deeply enjoy people, and deeply enjoy being me if I simply take the time to… listen.
The Scripture He’s giving me for 2014 is a promise I’m revisiting after 10 years. In the spring of 2004, at the end of my first year overseas, my loving mentor, Patty, gave me this verse in a note written in graceful script on pale green paper. Through her words of encouragement, I felt Jesus wrap His arms around me as I headed into my next challenging season.
Now, I sense Him re-gifting this promise to me again for 2014, even more directly this time:
“The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens,
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.”
In this promise, I see His gift to me - the tongue of those who are taught. I do have a tongue (that's for sure!), but... "one who is taught” implies a Teacher - and God is offering Himself!
I can see the why of the gift - in order to know how to sustain the weary with a word. This is already the desire of my heart: to come alongside, to bear with, to feel with, and to bring others with me to the Source of soul-rest.
Most importantly, I can see the how - how I am to receive this gift, how I am to be taught: listen. Morning by morning, God promises to be my alarm clock, awakening my ear to listen and to learn. Good thing, because I am not a morning person! But once I’m up, I love the stillness of the house, and the quiet thrum of expectation that stirs in my heart. And when I miss a morning - usually due to lack of self-control to go to bed the night before! - I crave that deep connection time with Him I’ve forfeited.
So. That’s my word...