I deserve a slap on the wrist really, I am quite shocked that the last time I posted something on here was back in November. I have a million excuses, all of which stack up to one thing: I got busy and I let life get in the way, and that shouldn't have been the case. Not at all.
So, anyway, back to the purpose of this post although I guess it all ties in really. When we get busy in life, we don't take the time to stop and listen, and listening is what God has been challenging me on at the moment.
It started with some keys. More precisely, the loss of my keys. We had just moved into our new house and we only had one set of keys between us. One for the front door and one for the back door. One day, as I left to take Eli out to playgroup I considered putting the two individual keys onto my keyring which also contained the keys for my car (yes, that's a lot of keys!) I was late, and I was rushing and in a moment of utter laziness, I didn't bother.
When we got home, I got out of the car and whilst rooting around in my handbag for the loose front door key, Eli ran away into next door's garden. Given that their garden is incredibly well looked after, and we'd only been living next door to them for a week or two, I hissed at Eli to come back to me. Engrossed in whatever game he was playing, he didn't listen to me. I said it louder, and he still ignored me. Harassed and feeling increasingly embarrassed in case next door happened to be looking out of their window, I went into next door's garden, hoisted him up and flung him through the front (now open, of course) door. I'm not in the habit of throwing my children into hard plastic. Although maybe if you'd asked me at the time...I was so mad. I was so mad that even when my husband returned home a couple of hours later I was still going on about how mad I was that Eli hadn't listened to me. 'I called his name five or six times at least,' I ranted, 'and he paid no attention at all.'
The next morning, when I went to find my car keys to drive Meg to school, they were nowhere to be found. It seemed that between the point I arrived home the previous day, and the next morning, my car keys had simply vanished. I hunted everywhere. I looked all over the house, emptying boxes, blaming the kids, asking them repeatedly where they had hidden Mummy's keys. The mystery of the keys took over my whole concentration. Where could a set of cars key with no less than three keyrings vanish to?
My keys were missing for days. It was a nightmare. We only had one, broken spare for the car, which only worked sporadically and after a lot of inner pleading. One night, almost a week after the keys had vanished I was perusing over the mystery whilst relaxing in the bath. I was actually contemplating what good fortune it had been that I had decided not to add the house keys as otherwise we would be facing a whole new kind of trouble. I sent up a quick message of thanks to God that Holy Spirit had prompted me to not do it, and then I remembered reading one time about a guy who had lost his keys. He had prayed, and God had shown him where the keys were. I will admit that I was a bit dubious. In my mind, God has more important things to do than worry about where every lost little thing is, right?
Wrong. I sat, and I thanked God and I listened. Then I climbed out of the bath, came downstairs, emptied out the changing bag and Hey Presto! There were my keys. Nestled into a side pocket where they had, presumably, fallen after I dropped them on my way into the house. I had emptied this bag several times over during the hunt for the Missing Keys. So, naturally, I figured that God must be trying to teach me something.
I thought back to how distressed I had been when Eli wouldn't listen to me. The fact that had Eli been listening then my keys would probably never have been lost in the first place. I would have come into the house, calmly, and placed the keys on the side, where they always live.
There are lots of lessons I could draw out of this experience about parenting, patience etc but the one that really stuck out to me was about listening.
How many times does God call our names and we are just too preoccupied to listen? Whatever we are rooting around for on the ground has captured our attention and no amount of hollering will distract us.
How many times do we miss out on something amazing because we just aren't tuned in to hearing what God wants to say to us?
This has been my challenge over the past few weeks, and continues to be my challenge. To find time in my schedule to just sit and listen. It's not always easy but I'm trying to make it the first thing I do each morning. To wait in bed just that little bit longer before I get up and enter the chaos that is life with two small children, before my time gets sucked into school runs and playgroups and food shopping and washing clothes and writing my novel and all those many many things that can draw my attention from the only person who truly deserves it.
'...if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding - indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.' Proverbs 2 v 2-6
This week why don't you stop, just for a short time, in the busyness of your everyday and listen to what God might be saying to you?