Joy in Listening

“As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25 (NKJV)

There is a friend of mine who lives on the other side of our country. We have been friends for years. I worked with her and her husband for many years, which deepened our friendship.

We have walked with each other through many difficult and dark times. We have laughed much together. We have wept with one another. We have screamed on roller coasters together. We have lived life together. She is family to me.

Next week Dale is teaching at our Wednesday night service. He has chosen his topic and wanted to be refreshed in some teachings from this friend of ours.

This morning they talked with each other. The phone was on speaker so he could take some notes and have his hands free to make references where needed. I sat in the living room listening to their conversation.

At first I was online scrolling through notifications. A normal part of my day. Soon, my attention went elsewhere. The voice on the other end of the line was drawing me in. The voice I know so well. As she spoke I was transported in memory back to a place where she taught and I listened.

The rhythm of her voice, the enthusiasm of the topic she was talking about. The excited exchange between Dale and her. How often did they do this and her husband and I just sat, drinking tea or coffee and smiled at each other, knowing they were sharing their hearts. The two of them both called to the same type of ministry.

Today, as I listened I was filled with joy and thankfulness. From this woman the Lord has taught me much. The gift she is from our Lord is a blessing too great to describe. The spontaneous joy we find when we are together.

Today my heart was filled to overflowing with the sound of a voice.

Title and Positions

 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4 (NLT)

There are three positions and titles that I cherish. These three define me. They are all answers to prayer. They make up my life. Nothing could sway me from claiming them.

These titles and positions are:

  1. I am a child of God. In April, I can say that for 46 years I have called God my Lord and Savior. This is my favorite position and title. To be my Lord’s is the greatest gift of my life. I am His. “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 (NLT) and “But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (NLT) Being God’s child is humbling and exciting.
  2. I am Dale’s wife. We started dating in high school. We were a typical high school couple, we’d date, we’d fight,we’d break up and vow never to get back together. We’d date again and so on and so forth. There came a time when I started to pray that someday, somehow I could become Dale’s wife. Obviously, we did marry. Our life has not been idyllic, but it has been worth each and every trying time. I am proud to be in the position to call my title, Mrs. or wife.
  3. In 1977 I heard that there was only a slim chance that I could have a child. I truly wanted a child. Dale and I talked about adoption. But, the doctors forgot to tell God that I couldn’t have a child. We had the ultimate blessing of having two beautiful daughters. Hearing my name, Mom, is beautiful music to my ears.

As I have thought about my life and titles and positions, the three I mentioned above are the greatest positions/titles I could ever hope to attain. Holding positions/titles demands respect for those around you. A title or a position does not make you greater or different from anyone else. Years ago I yearned to have a position/title, I thought that would make me feel accomplished and in tune with the Lord. When I stepped into a position of leadership, it humbled me. There was a weight that was put upon me to not embarrass those who put me in the position. There was a weight that was heavy that I not disappoint the Lord.

Positions/titles come with a cost. Are you willing to give that extra bit when you don’t feel like giving anything? Are you willing to do the dirty work that comes with a title? Are you willing to wait? Are you actually ready to give, serve?

I often joke that when I get to heaven I will have nursery duty for the first millennium. I love babies and little ones, but I really don’t like nursery duty. For a few years I had the nursery. At first I grumbled. Then I complained to the Lord. Then, one Sunday as I was sitting in the rocking chair with a fussy child I heard very clearly, “Let the children come to Me. They are precious in my sight.” I sat crying with the child and told the Lord that until I had learned each lesson He had for me in the nursery I would be content to stay there. After that, my attitude changed, I saw it differently.

About a year ago, I was released from the nursery. What surprised me is how much I missed it at first. I had seen the beauty of that ministry.

Sometimes we are so anxious to get that title/position that we neglect to see the importance of it. We desire the title, but God wants us to learn what He desires for positions. He has a perfect plan for each of us. He has a gift for each of us. We need to stop and wait to see where He would like us to be.

In San Diego I led prayer groups, taught on prayer, prayed for people. I do love to pray. As we left our church there before moving, giving our final hugs to everyone, our pastor leaned down and spoke to me. What he said was this, “Do not expect to do and be involved with prayer in South Carolina. The Lord may have something different planned for you.” At first I struggled with this. I was out of my comfort zone. I felt lost. We are starting our fifteenth year here in South Carolina. I am just becoming confident that I am getting ready to do something. God’s timing is the best. In all things He deserves the recognition, the praise and the glory for what HE is doing in me.

As a dear pastor once stressed to us, a call to salvation is a call to ministry. We can minister no matter what, no titles, no positions are needed. Just a willing heart to serve our Lord wherever we may be.