Every Child Needs A Listening Ear!

As a single mother of two, I wasn’t always a good listener.  I was always busy.  Plus when they were little, they didn’t have much going on, so there wasn’t much to listen to; so I thought.  As they got older, I had to be asked by them if I was listening and repeat it back. Sometimes I got it right and sometimes I didn’t.

As a Teacher of preschoolers, I have to listen to the talk for various documentation purposes.  For example, clear speech, how many words in a sentence, using correct vocabulary and subject/verb agreement.  Not only do I have to listen, I like to listen.

Having a conversation with a child and really listening opens up doors to recognizing problems the child may have, exciting things that are happening or they just need someone to talk to.  Children have problems that we think they can handle or get over because they don’t have our adult problems.  But a child’s problem is usually not child-size.  Maybe their pet died or a grandparent.  Maybe their friends are mad at them or their teacher yelled at them.  Maybe their parents are divorcing or someone they know is sick.  Maybe they finally got an A on a test or made the team.  Maybe they just want to know how you are doing.

Whatever the reason, we need to stop and listen. We need to hug and high- five.  We need to offer advice only when asked.  We need to take a deep breath and show our children how important they are to us and that their problems or success are important too.

We just need to listen!


Damaged to Redeemed

When I listen to people’s stories, I’m like “Oh gosh, that’s me” every time.  I’m like, “Wow, who am I?”  Am I all these people?  Am I different personalities?  Am I one person living different lives?

I admit I have lived a life that is different from my life now.  I have lived a life I’m not proud of.  One that required me to hide my feelings and identity.  One that made me feel dirty and unworthy. One that I was  embarrassed  of so much that I would lie about who I was and pretend I lived a different life.  One that had gotten so out of control that I made myself believe that nothing was really wrong.

I was hurt, broken, lost, of no value.  I WAS DAMAGED!  WOW!  DAMAGED!  I was of no use, disfigure and disabled.  I could not trust.  I could not be seen.  I could not own up to my true identity.  So I lived a lie.  If I didn’t get to close, I didn’t have to lie so much.  I could cover my disfigured heart with my together outside because no one could see my inside.  Yeah, everything was gonna be fine.

Except……someone saw.  He sees everything!  But I wasn’t ready, so I continued to live in fear and out of control; under my control.  When I got into a jam, I talked to God for help and he helped me.  But I didn’t surrender.  I continued in my madness.  I used God!  I kept him close, but not close enough.  Now I am a user!  How can God continue to love me and bless me while I use him?  How can he continue to cover my sins when I don’t really know him?  How can he forgive me when I can’t forgive myself?  I am so ashamed!  So DAMAGED!

In 2012, I finally surrendered!  I gave up completely.  I had enough.  I couldn’t fix things.  I was at my lowest.  I had lost everything:  my home, my kids, my identity, my sanity, my ability to keep things hidden and under my control.   I had lost!  I was a loser!  I was DAMAGED!

But as I smile today, I realize that I was never alone.  I was always loved.  I was always forgiven.  His blood bought back my life.  He washed me white as snow.  Now I am clean, worthy, useable, able, I have an identity, I’m valuable and found!  I AM REDEEMED!

I get a re-do.  I get to start over!  And no, not my whole life, but I get a second chance at the things that God has given me in my life: my kids and grandson, real friends (whom I trust), a job I love and a church that loves and is generous to others.  He has entrusted gifts to me that I use to bring others to him (teaching and writing).

Are you ME?  Are you DAMAGED?  Are you living a lie?  Are you ready to give up?

You can be REDEEMED!  You are worthy.  You are loved.  You can be forgiven.  You are somebody.  You can be someone’s story and extend the hand of REDEMPTION through your surrender!  You are created in his image (Genesis 1:27), you are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14).  He loves you so much!  He died on a cross, shed his blood for you and for your damage.

SURRENDER today!  Let him REDEEM you and give a new reason of why you are still here!

Your second chance!  REDEEMED!