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Thursday, March 1, 2007

God's voice

Carol had the hard job. She started this blog off with a wonderful post, reminding us of why we are in this community of women to begin with. I can now settle us into our coffee break, as we share in fellowship and encouragement, by highlighting 2 Cor. 12:9 (which I do very well, by the way, cracked pot that I am):
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

2 Cor. 12:9

When my sister and I were kids, we had an hour limit on our TV time. For many years we chose to watch Little House on the Prairie (5:00pm on channel 11) as a family, foregoing other less-valuable shows in favor of the adventures of the Ingalls family. We would all settle down in the family room, my dad lying on the floor with a magazine, as we got wrapped up in Mary's quiet obedience, Pa's hard work and love of family, Carrie's little-girl smile, Ma's gentleness, and Laura's buck teeth and spunk. I think every little girl related to Laura above all. She had an energy and fire about her that rang true for us, and we loved her.

Now with Colin, our 6-year-old, I am reading the second book in the Little House series. We came across this passage and it has stuck with me all week.
Then Ma said, "Laura." That was all, but it meant that Laura must not complain. So she did not complain any more out loud, but she was still naughty, inside. She sat and thought complaints to herself.

Wow, that Caroline! What a mom! I don't remember ever hearing her speak a harsh word or raise her tone of voice. There was always gentleness in her spirit and soft words from her mouth. Ma simply spoke Laura's name and, even in the midst of Laura's frustration and little-girl tiredness, calmed her down as I only wish I could do with my own children!

But Laura still complained internally. I sense more in me that reflects Laura in this passage than Ma. I respond to God's soft whispers and the Holy Spirit's nudgings with internal grumbling, even while obeying Him.

Then God said, "Christine..."

How many times do I hear that still, small voice and argue with it? More often than I'd like to admit.

"But God, I'm tired and I don't want to cook dinner. I'd rather just call for take out..." Grumble, grumble, grumble.

"But God, the way they treated me is not fair, why should I forgive?"

"But God, I really want to look at a few more blogs instead of clean the bathroom..." Complain, complain, complain.

"But God..."


And you know, if we argue and complain enough, God's voice doesn't get louder, as mine would if my children were to complain, but softer. God doesn't draw nearer to make sure we hear. Instead He withdraws and lets us go our own way for a time, till we realize that we need Him to guide us and correct us if we are to remain in communion with Him.

I so want to be able to practice "first-time obedience" with my Father, in the same way I teach my kids to respond to me. Not that they have that down pat, mind you, but we're working on it. Why? Because, as their mom, I am to have only their ultimate good in mind, and they are to trust that that's true. Because of God's perfect nature, and because he told us so, we know that God only has our best interests at heart.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jer. 29:11

If I can trust that, then the still, small voice will be enough. I will listen, and even if I just hear, "Christine...", I will know that I am to follow His voice. I am to take every thought captive for Christ, even the grumbling and complaining, and let myself be led. Then I'll be able to rest in God, who knows me fully, and sit back in full obedience and comfort, regardless of the circumstances.

Though I wish I was more like Ma, I can learn from Laura. I can learn that even in disagreement, displeasure and reluctant obedience, God wants what's best for me and will stop at nothing to gently call me back to the place of contentment- the place where I am in complete communion with Him.

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Blogger Elise said...

...who knows me fully...
I got chills as I read this. He knows us fully, right down to every dirty, nasty detail. There is no hiding. And He is so gentle in His reproof. Undeservedly gentle.
You've hit on something here that has so many facets - responding to God, responding to our children, earning responses from our children, listening... so much to learn.
Thank you so much for sharing this, my dear fellow, cracked pot. ;)

March 1, 2007 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Kili @ Live Each Moment said...

Why is it we expect our children to comply right off the bat, but then we ourselves as children of God don't comply right away? Good point, and something very much worth thinking about.

March 1, 2007 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

"..but God" has been a phrase I have used too many times. I have tried to strike it from my vocabulary!!

And it is true God's voice does not get louder, in my case it seems to get quieter until I stop and listen to him, can I really hear him.

"first time obedience!!" is my goal. Great thoughts to meditate on.

March 1, 2007 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Obedience, especially when it hurts is a theme God has pounded me with this year. Thanks for such a though provoking post and for the memories of the Ingalls!

March 1, 2007 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post, really blessed me.

March 2, 2007 at 12:57 AM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

I had to smile as I was reading your post...You should hear me argue in the morning (or grumble) because I don't want to get up...but more about that on Monday.

Thank you Christine for your thoughtful post--I know that I need to grumble less, because I am truly blessed (hehe - that even rhymed).

Blessings to your weekend and always.

March 2, 2007 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

My problem is not only the big "But..." thing, it's also that I look and sound absolutely nothing like Caroline.

Scary, huh?

Lovely post!

March 2, 2007 at 6:26 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

I so want to be able to practice "first-time obedience" ....

Wonderful post. practice first-time obedience. This jumped out at me. I suppose that is the Maker talking directly to me.

I will stay on this thought today. Thank you for sharing it. Blessings :)

March 2, 2007 at 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

I so want to be able to practice "first-time obedience" ....

Wonderful post. practice first-time obedience. This jumped out at me. I suppose that is the Maker talking directly to me.

I will stay on this thought today. Thank you for sharing it. Blessings :)

March 2, 2007 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

What beautiful application of such an important principle. There such wisdom--and conviction!--here.

I feel like I "grew up" with Little House, as well.We now watch the DVDs with our kids.

Great post!

March 2, 2007 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

Oh, my kids are SO tired of hearing me say "Slow obey is no obey!" But I learned it several years ago as I studied the the grumbing Israelites, and God keeps reminding me of it in my own life. Thanks for this wonderfully thoughtful post. I needed to read this today!

March 2, 2007 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I love Little House on the Prairie, and I'm surprised that such a popular show gave us wholesome role models like it did. I was just thinking the other day of writing about Ma, but you beat me to it :)

Thanks for reminding me to listen to that still small voice--the first time.

March 2, 2007 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Hello, Christine,

This beautiful post reminds me very much of Little House. It's quiet and thought-provoking but manages to send a powerful message, all at the same time.

Oh, yes. I'll be a regular visitor to this new site if these first two posts are even a clue to what I have to look forward to. Wonderful post. This really moved me, in a "quiet" way.

March 2, 2007 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

The still, small voice is one of the most precious blessings of following Jesus. I'm praying I'll be aware of when I'm avoiding it. You really inspired me. Thanks.

March 4, 2007 at 9:05 AM  

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