sheep hear my voiceSo my family and I are back from the beach and still dumping sand out of crevices I didn’t know existed.

Just to clarify, I am not referring to crevices within any part of my anatomy, but I guarantee you I’ll be vacuuming sand out of the carpet of my vehicle for quite some time.

Despite all that, I could go on and on about how beautiful it was. The sound of the waves. The feel of the sand beneath my toes. The ocean breeze against my face every evening. And let’s not forget the sand-crabbin’ that took place between hysterical, screeching adults after our children were safely tucked in bed at night.

All of it was amazing.

But even more amazing to me is how a change of scenery can alter my perspective in a heartbeat.  It gets me out of the comfort of my own skin.  Or the discomfort of my own skin.  It pushes aside the pride that takes up residence in my heart and allows God’s voice to be heard.  I scoot right up next to Him and listen, so intently, yet so ashamed of not having listened this closely before.  

When He speaks…I hear Him in this place.

And I feel the steam roll effect from the conviction that settles on my heart, much like the olive in the olive press.  But it’s not condemnation, for even I know that this comes from the enemy alone. It’s a gentle reassurance from the Holy Spirit that says “I made you for so much more than this.”

And all I can think of when I come back home is, “Lord, help me not to forget those words. Don’t let my foolish heart assume that it has to be the way it was before.”

And I pray that I don’t release my grasp on what could be because I’m too afraid of what it means I’ll be giving up.

For a solid week I was removed from my routine.  The repeat performance of the mama-shuffle I carry out each day. You know the one. It involves papers to sign and sort through, little person shoes to locate, allergy meds to administer, socks to match that were presumably eaten by the dryer…booboos to kiss.  And don’t forget the other shuffles.  The wife shuffle. The employee shuffle. The curly…wait, no… 😉

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating.  All of these things are good things.  They are responsibilities that are truly a blessing in my life.  But residing in a task-driven world of what’s-next-on-the-list doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room.  It’s no wonder that the pipeline between myself and the One who loves me becomes clogged. I widen this distance between us by putting so many other things between myself and my relationship with Him.

The frustrating part of it all?  It’s not a fresh concept.  I hear the memory of it ringing in my ears:  “Jennifer, you need to spend more time in the Word.  You need to spend more time in prayer.  You need to let Him prioritize your life.”

And the one that’s hardest to hear…

I remember the first time I read about Samuel. How he slept inside the house of the Lord as close to the ark as he could get without facing certain death. Hearing God’s voice in the middle of the quiet of the night so clearly that he thought a man (Eli) was speaking to him from outside. How often does God speak to me but I can’t hear his voice over the noise in my life?

Sometimes running off to join the circus doesn’t sound half so bad. And then I stop and think to myself, “but you already live in one.” Yes…I fill my life with so much tangible substance that it feels like I’m part of a three-ring circus.

You can see me right down in front.  I’m the one trying to balance a ball on my nose while the audience applauds.

And as I type this I am reminded of how I felt that afternoon sitting on the deck at the beach house.  Wyatt by my side resting within a curled beach towel, listening to the waves and the soft crackle of the baby monitor as Willow slept within.  I thought about these things God had been placing on my heart.  And I was thankful.  Through tears streaming down sun screened cheeks, I was thankful for the lessons.  For the pressing.

For the peeling off of each layer of fear I’d built up over the course of many years.  Just when I think it’s done, another layer begins to come off.

Yes, being away from home gave me perspective. I am so much more than just a lily of the field. God’s got this.  I can let go of the ball.  The applause from the audience might cease to exist but the One who applauds the loudest will never stop loving. Never stop holding. Never stop comforting, counseling, caring for and correcting me…  

Even if I do have to put this message on repeat.

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  (Proverbs 2:1-2)

*****
Today I’m linking up with the following authors to share my story:

Holley Gerth and Coffee For Your Heart

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

Simply Beth with Three Word Wednesday

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