He Heard My Voice

Refreshed is what I am today.  Rested, blessed, grateful and refreshed.  If you followed my twitter feed over the weekend, you knew that I got to spend a few days with some of my favorite women, some of the friends God has put in my life for the last 3 1/2 years.  Fellow wives, married to Pastors, mothers of Pastor's kids, sisters in Christ.  I heart them.  Each and every one of them.  Eight of us were able to get away at a cabin for our annual retreat.  It was fun, it was sweet, it was refreshing.  I laughed, I cried, and I ate.  And ate.  And drank some coffee.  And ate.  It was the perfect getaway that my heart needed.

There is something about the bond of being married to a Pastor.  Something about the understanding among other women who've walked in your shoes and have lived to tell about it :) Something about the prayers of another woman, who shares a similar desire of your heart.  Something about being able to discuss health insurance with those who share the same policy.  Because you know, we are real people with real lives too!  We have ideas about where to get the best deal on groceries, how to meet the needs of our kids and how to avoid getting the flu :) It was a delightful weekend and it came just in time for me to escape after a *trying* couple of days with Ava.

Speaking of Ava, I was so proud of Travis who took care of her while I was gone and even took a little road trip to Iowa to see my parents and my sister!  What a guy :) He called me to let me know what they were up to, how she was and that she missed me, and he did too.  And I laughed at his twitpic, when I realized how he had (or hadn't) dressed her!  It was a fun couple of days and I'm grateful for it.  When I came home yesterday, I had a little time to be by myself and tend to a few things.  It was Heavenly...

While I sipped a hot chocolate, I spent some time dwelling on a couple of verses that really blessed me and inspired me as we start this Thanksgiving week.

Psalm 116:1-2 says....
"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. 
 Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live."

Haven't we all had those times when it felt like no one was hearing us?  We were screaming in a crowded room and yet our voice was just muffled among the cries of others?  We were talking and talking, but no one was hearing.  Responding.  Listening.  I have.  There have been days or seasons when I wondered if anyone was hearing me.  I've shared a little bit about my study in Esther this fall.  We just spent some time in chapter 7, after Esther pleads and begs for the life of her people to the King (her husband).  Although he responded and did two significant things for Esther, he didn't do what she asked for.  He didn't listen to the one request of her heart, to save the lives of her people.  And so she had to ask, beg and plead, again. And as she began, I'm sure she wanted to scream at him, "Please listen to what I'm saying to you!"

The beauty of our God, is that He is nothing like King Xerxes.  He hears us.  He hears each and every one of us.  He doesn't receive our requests via faxes, or emails, or even angels.  No, He hears.  Above all the others, he hears every word I whisper.  My voice.  My cry for mercy.  But that's not all.  I love the phrasing of verse 2, "He turned His ear to me."  Or in other versions, it says, "He inclined His ear to me."  I looked up the meaning of "inclined" in the Hebrew lexicon.  The same Hebrew word is used in 13 other places and it means "humbled or bowed down."  Don't you love that?  The God of the universe, who humbled himself and came to dwell among us, who humbled himself on the cross and paid the penalty for our sin, also humbles himself to hear our voice when we cry out to Him.  He bows His ear to our mouth, and hears us.  Every single word, every single time.  

Although we don't always get the answer we want, we can rest in knowing that we have been heard.  We have been listened to.  There is nothing more frustrating than having a problem and feeling as if no one is listening to you.  As is sometimes the case in the medical community, we can seek a diagnosis and never really be heard.  I am so grateful we don't experience that with the Lord.  These verses tell us that He hears us by turning His ear to us.  When we are begging for mercy, He is reaching down and holding our face in His hands, so that He can catch every word.  He's never too busy, never un-interested, never tired of us.  And so, because we know He hears, we can call on Him and put our trust in Him, for as long as we live.  We can remember all the times that He's heard us before and feel confident that He'll hear us again.  Even, or especially, when it feels like one else does.

I thought of those times in my life, when He heard me and then showed me that He did, because He answered me in a way that only He and I would understand.  Like for instance, when I was weeks away from delivering Ava and caught in a grip of hormones and fear, fear about our finances and how things would go when I was no longer working.  As I drove to Church that morning, I was overcome with emotion.  Paralyzed about a particular need we had and a particular sacrifice we had been asked to make.  I cried, I prayed, and I realized the Lord was going to have to give us wisdom.  My head told me that He would provide for us, but my heart was not convinced.  In my state of unbelief, I asked Him to help me believe His word, help me obey.  After Church I started to tell Travis that we needed to go home, not spend money, stay in.  He showed me a random gift card that a student had given him that morning and we gratefully had lunch on it.  When it came time to pay the bill, we pulled out the card and handed it to the waitress, who told us that our bill was already paid.  Someone who knew us was in the restaurant and wanted to get our tab.  On a day when it seemed like the circumstances were not going to line up, we were gifted not once, but twice.  And although it was a financial blessing, it was so much more than that to me.  It was an answer from the Lord to me.  It was a still, small voice telling my heart that He heard me.  He knew our situation and He was still God.  He wasn't going to leave us and He wasn't unable to provide for us.  That day still pops in my head often.  Only the Lord could have known the anxiety I felt and heard the cries I made for mercy.

He is so good to me and just like the Psalmist said, I love Him for it.  As I reflected on Thanksgiving and this passage yesterday, it did my heart good to ask Him to hear me in some very specific things and then to praise Him for the way He's heard me before.

For the way He heard my voice when I asked Him to help me wait for the man He had for me...

For the way He turned His ear to us, when we asked Him to help us wait for the baby He had for us...

Yes He is good and yes, He still hears.  I am praying that if you need to feel heard today, you'll know that there is someone who is waiting to hang on every word.  Or if you need to be reminded to trust, you'll remember the countless times He's heard you in the past and you'll believe Him again.

Happy Sunday!

"I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. 
 Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live."
Psalm 116:1-2


Sarah said...

Great Thanksgiving post. :)

Miz Jean said...

Beautiful, Steph. Just beautiful.