Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Ear that Hears, Heart that Listens"

My third grade teacher was my favorite in elementary school. Her name was Miss. Flores. I didn't know it at the time but she was an early twenties, unmarried woman just two years into her teaching career. As young as I was at the time, she seemed to be very conscientious and she wanted her students to get as much as we could from her class, and in our learning experience with her. She was the type of teacher that was very personal. She wanted to know about our weekends, holidays, favorite colors, and if we had a visit from the tooth fairy lately. She was even interested in what we wanted to become when we grew up. It felt very genuine to me. I was an average student having a hard time with multiplication, and we developed an unacknowledged closeness. Until graduation from high school I would periodically go by to see her in room 38 at Prescott Elementary.

After getting married, having children and becoming the very thing I told her (at age 9) I wanted to be when I grew up, we would run into each other from time to time. She never married. Later in life she adopted a son who was the same age as my second son Keith. My children were very small when my husband and children had the priviledge of meeting her while eating at the same restaurant. They felt as if they already knew her because I spoke of her often. The last time I saw her was at a high school football game (1991) where both our sons, Freddie and Keith played in the same band. I didn't know it would be my last time. We moved to a different school district and we lost touch.

From time to time, I would bring up the conversation Miss Flores had with us in class one day about "hearing vs listening" with my husband and children. She told us that you can "hear" many things at the same time. We could "hear" her speaking, the birds outside singing, someone tapping on the desk, the pencil sharpener, all at the SAME time. But, you can only "listen" to ONE thing at a time and comprehend. For example: I talk to my husband all the time right in the middle of a play during the football game. After I've said what I wanted to say, I would ask "are you listening to me?" he says "yes" then I'd ask "what did I say?" he couldn't tell me because he wasn't "listening" to ME. He "heard" me (along with the tv I was watching in the other room, because he had asked me to turn it down) but he was "listening" and "comprehending" the game. He would always have the last word though by asking "can we have this conversation after the game?" But, my final last words (while leaving the room) would be... "by then it will be to late and it wouldn't matter".

As Christians, it is painful to think that this is an accusation against believers who are spiritually insensitive. We should regret that we do not hear the voice of God as we should. there are gentle motions of the Holy Spirit in the soul that often go unheeded. There are whispers of divine commands and of heavenly love that are ignored. We have been carelessly ignorant. There are situations we should have seen, iniquities that went unnoticed, sweet feelings left unattended. We missed glimpses of His divine face because our soul's windows were fogged. We did not hear or know because we were preoccupied with other sounds in our ears. As we think about it we are deeply humbled. God deals with us in mercy. Even with His awesome sacrifice He knew what we would be like. Isaiah 48:6-9

Oh redemption, how wonderfully resplendent you shine when I think of how sinful we are! Oh Holy Spirit, give us the "hearing" ear and the understanding heart that "listens".

Today, I would like to wish my Mother a very Happy Birthday!
Mrs. Louia L. Francis
I love you Mama


Anonymous said...

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined (bent down to listen) unto me, and heard my cry. Psalms 40:1

Thank God for hearing and listening. and for bringing me out of that horrible pit.

Thank you for this post my sister.

He lives!

Naval Langa said...

To Ms. Vietta

I have just read some of your posts. I liked the writing style, especially the devotional nature reflected in your words.

If you are interested in reading short stories and other writings by an Indian author, do visit my blogs.

Naval Langa

Rev.Aaron Holcombe said...

I am so glad He not only listens, but He also answers! Great post my sister in Christ!

Pastor Kraig L. Pullam said...

Wow...not only did I love the blog for today; but also Aaron's comment. Our God is so amazing. It is my prayer that all of us would learn to listen to what our Heavenly Father is saying...

Pastor Andre' A. McGhee said...

Wow! This is an awesome reminder that we should learn to listen for God's voice over the noisiness of life's circumstances. Your words of wisdom once again prove invaluable. Thank God for you!!!

Pastor W.L. Pullam said...

This is a very good post.Wonderful insight and tribute to the "art of listening" as well as to the great impact that a teacher who cares will have on a young persons life.
What a powerful story and testimony.

Clinton Smith said...

On of my prayer request before I preach is that God will open our ears to hear and hearts to receive so that we might sin against thee! Thank you for reminding us of the importance of hearing and listening.

Pastor Kevin L. Pullam said...

Post Par Excellent... Wow! I am blessed all the more for this insight you have shared. I believe this "Listening" is what the Lord beckons us all toward as His people. Over and over again, He resounds and repeats this exhortation to the 7 churches at Asia Minor, "he who has an ear let him HEAR what the spirit says to the church." I don't think He was talking about simple and mundane registering of audibles... He was talking about he seeking and yearning heart desiring to "Listen/Hear" what was truly being uttered.

Thank you for this post. It was much needed. I myself have not been a great "listener" (with people) and have prayed for greater gifting in this area.

Kim said...

Great post. I will make sure that I will listen when the Lord is speaking to me. It is funny how when we want something from him we want him to listen and not ignore us, so we should do the same. It is wonderful how God is so forgiving and how he continues to love us inspite of.

Vietta P's two cents said...

Pastor Kevin, since you brought up having not mastered the art of listening to people, I think this is a trait that we all need to desparately improve, especially with loved ones. I would say a mother is better at it than the average person. It is something that is built into Mama's DNA. The art of true listening is taking in each word "passionately" and with an urgency to connect and process it into the area in which you and that person bond. Wives are endeared to husbands that can RECALL something she shared at one time, and it is just as important, exciting and touching to you as it was to her. She knows then that you really did hear her and fulfilled your intent to "listen".

AS a matter of fact. That will work with anyone that desires to be heard.

Fitts said...

Dear beloved, I am captivated by this post. I think this will preach every Sunday. I must admit, I am so guilty :-). I do it to my wife all the time :-). James told those who would presume to be leaders to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

I am delighted that you stopped by my blog, I have been following your comments since I started blogging a couple of weeks ago. You bring something very special to this particular blog community. In fact you are one of the main reasons why I so desire to be a part of this circle of bloggers (that I am still getting to know).

You are the Mother of this community! God bless you for that.

I did two messages on Depression that will be available on our website in about a week or so (the site is new and we are still learning our way around). I would be more then happy to send a copy to your Church.

God bless you, and God keep you in His ever loving care.

DeAntwan Fitts

Pastor Lance A. Mann said...

Happy Birthday to the Grandma of our blogging family. Another inspiring post mother. You are getting the hang of this aren't you.



To Ms. Vietta L. Pullam

You are heartily welcome to my blogs. I would certainly be visiting your blogs, as I like your simple and to the point narrating style of writing.

Keep coming to my writings.

Naval Langa

RCP said...

Thank for stopping by my name is Reginald Payne, Tony and I have been great friends for many years, he preaches for me here in L.A and I run his revival, I aslo preach for Dr. JA REED JR. opening his anniverssary evry year for the past 6 or 7 years. finally HB is my pastor and I was his assitant until i was called to pastor. Iv'e read some of your blogs i must say helpful and excellent I also discern acompassionate heart and motherly concern to many men of God who aren't your biological sons. Your sons are truly blessed as well as your husband, look forward to reading your future post as well as your responses and encoragement.

Numbers 6:24

Rev. Barney said...

You are a woman of wisdom. If we learned to listen To God in life everyday, we would have no problem listening to Him on Sunday.

Keith D. Witherspoon said...

Great Post. I think that we can all learn to listen a little better! Thank you so much

Fitts said...

I will try to have those messages out to you or posted on the web within the next couple of days.