My life has been a journey full of twists & turns, highs & lows. Honestly, I'm not sure I could really define where I'm headed. But one thing I'm learning, the journey isn't all about the final destination but more about how we travel. And fulfillment is found in all that we learn & experience as we journey, not just getting to the end of it. I can't even imagine making mine without Christ before me, behind me, and beside me...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Sound of Your Voice

O Lord,You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O Lord. - Psalm 139:1-4
"Hey, Mom..." Regardless what else is happening in the universe, the world just sits better on its axis at the sound of those words. I got a call from Elias, my Marine son who is stationed in Hawaii, yesterday. I haven't heard from him since Christmas so it was really good to hear his voice. For a few minutes, the sound of his voice takes me to a higher place somehow, bringing peace in chaos. He's my son and because of it, his voice reaches a place in me that no one but my kids can reach. Even so, it took a few minutes for us to get in a "groove" with each other again. Elias rarely just "chats" with mom as in letting conversation go wherever it leads. His conversations are usually short and intentional. But when he does just "chat," time stops for a few minutes and He gets my full attention.
      When my kids were younger, I took the sound of their voices for granted too often, not recognizing how quickly they would grow up and move away as their lives go in their own directions. Sometimes I even wished I could get away from the persistent nag or whine of  them calling my name, "Mom, can i? But Mo-o-m! Mom, will you..please? Hey, Mom... Mom...Mom...Mom!"...Little did I know then how precious it was. When I left their dad and moved out on my own, the "quietness" of my new home was the hardest struggle...the most hurtful. No casual chats, no arguments, no guitars and singing, no "extra" kids (We always had extra kids in the house--It's like people thought, "They already have 5--it's not like one more will be noticed but that one was more often 2...3....6), no cheering video games, no "Mo-o-o-M!"  But especially no laughter--I missed that the most. And because I was unable to see them very often in the next couple of years, I missed so much of their lives. They're all grown up now several years since I left but there are still days when I miss the sound of their voices so deeply that it hurts. Turning on the tv or radio or making all kinds of noise can't cover up that kind of "quiet." It's so much deeper than decibels.       
      Elias didn't call for any particular reason yesterday (well, maybe in response to my facebook messages to see if he was still alive). Our conversation covered random topics: his upcoming deployment to Japan, training, Brittany and her boyfriend, his brothers, his dad...nothing life-changing or relevant to any particular purpose. But just the sound of his voice brought a brighter dimension to my day--He's my son and that matters. It's not the things we talked about so much but simply that he shared a piece of his life with me that made me feel at "home" again if even for only a few minutes--"home" at heart anyway. I didn't realize until he hung up how much I just needed to hear his voice--to hear him say, "I love ya, Mom." 
      I don't even know if he says "I love you" because HE needs to say it or because I need to hear it...or if he just thinks he's supposed to. But one thing I know for sure--I love him with all my heart. I love all my kids, I guess, in a way only a mom or parent can. And in hearing the sound of my sons' or daughters' voices, I get a mom-sense of whether they are really okay or not because I KNOW them that well...the kind of "knowing" that is beyond words or knowledge.  Then for a moment after he hung up, I wondered what prompted his call in the first place. Obedience or obligation to Mom's prompting or maybe it was more than that. I wonder if he needed to hear my voice as much as I needed to hear his.
       It kind of made me think about my conversations with my Abba Father--God. How often I forget to "check in" just to share a piece of my life with Him--to catch up. I pray daily but I usually wait to come to him when I have a need or a request--for a particular purpose or intent and usually has more to do with someone else than really knowing Him and letting Him know me. So often the center of my prayer has more to do with ministry and the burden of others rather than just catching up and sharing my heart with Him--the random chitchat that only a parent cares about. There are so many days when I'm lonely, out of place, or life just seems undone, and I "need" something I can't define. If I would stop and just share my heart, maybe He would enter the struggle with me..Maybe my burden wouldn't weigh so heavy. Sometimes weeks go by that I'm just too busy "doing" to stop and just chat with Him. I'm a little ashamed when I realize how long it's been. 
     How quickly I forget how well He KNOWS me...He knows the deepest part of my heart--that "parent" kind of knowing that doesn't require words or context. Maybe in sharing my everyday--the "chitchat" of life, my Abba Father can bring peace in my struggles. Jesus said, "My sheep listen to My voice, I KNOW THEM, and they follow Me." (John 10:27) Some days, I know without a doubt, He calls for my attention and I put Him off, "Well, God I gotta do this first...."  But when I DO stop and talk with Him, I wonder if the sound of my voice touches His heart the way Elias touched mine. Maybe that is all that is needed--my willingness to let Him share in even the smallest details of my life. Maybe as I share my every day, He will share His heart knowing that I need to hear the sound of His voice too. When I'm so undone or disconnected, I tend to push Him away and I feel that same "quietness" as I feel when I miss my kids' voices and laughter. And in those times, circumstance and life overwhelms. Maybe in these moments I have to remember that it's not just about bringing my best, but also my worst and everything mundane in between to my Abba Father. Maybe these are the times I should understand that grace and hope isn't just caught up in my surrender to Him but also His surrender to me...when He speaks life to me.   Maybe the sound of His voice will add that brighter dimension so that I hold on to life. I have to remember not just to surrender but to listen and let Him lift me up..."Listen to His voice and hold fast to Him for the Lord is my life." (Deuteronomy 30:20)  
     When I avoid Him or run from His presence, I wonder if that "quietness" breaks His heart like it broke mine when my kids and I were apart..I wonder if He misses me in the way I miss my kids. I wonder if the sound of my voice is as precious to Him as my children's voices are to me. Undoubtedly, He already knows when I'm not okay but maybe He knows there's healing and hope in heart to heart sharing. I want talk to HIm as a daughter to her Father. I long to hear the sound of His voice.
        Let my cry come right into Your presence, God; provide me with the insight that comes only from Your Word. Give my request Your personal attention, rescue me on the terms of Your promise. Let praise cascade off my lips; after all, You've taught me the truth about life! And let Your promises ring from my tongue; every order You've given is right. Put Your hand out and steady me since I've chosen to live by Your counsel. I'm homesick, God, for Your salvation; I love it when You show Yourself! Invigorate my soul so I can praise You well, use Your decrees to put iron in my soul. And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me! I'll recognize the sound of Your voice." - Psalm 119:169-176 The Message

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