Listening to your life

Imagination can take us places that bear no relation to reality.

I began this year with a conviction and desire to listen better to all God wants to speak into my life. It follows on naturally from my #oneword365 being ‘listen’.

My mind envisaged restful moments spent relaxing in His presence while He poured out words of wisdom and peace.

It would be wonderful. I would hear messages of encouragement to share with others. I would drift through my days with an increasing awareness of Holy Spirit’s whispers on the wind. hasn’t quite panned out that way. Who knew listening could be so painful, challenging, personally humiliating and hard?

Instead of a lovely lightness and liveliness of heart, I feel drained, weary, worn out, with worms eating at my soul.

Exhaustion makes me cranky. Impatience reigns. Sin crouches at the door waiting to ensnare me. It’s my own overly hasty ‘wish-I-could-swallow-them-back’ words I’m hearing, and the sad resigned response from my husband.

All God seems to be saying is, “Look out. You’ve made another blunder”. My heart is heavy with sorrow over faults and failings. Peace has flown out the window and listening has become an act of obedience rather than joy.

Yesterday, following a run of wakeful, pain-filled nights, I unleashed another impatient tirade on my beloved. In full flow until an insistent ring stopped me in my tracks.

It was enough to bring me to my senses. And as I paused to listen to a stranger’s voice oozing warmth and understanding, I lost it all over again with a healing unravelling cascade of tears.

For here was someone from a ministry we support giving us a courtesy call to say thanks and ask if we needed prayer. Ready to reach out a hand, to stand in the gap and intercede.

Life interrupted as God saw a need and stepped in. A holy moment in the midst of mayhem. Reminder of His goodness and grace seeping into the cracks and crevices of our days.

Knowing we’re all in the process of becoming what He wants us to be ~ beautiful and strong in Him. 

Reassurance to restore faith and confidence that His promises stand firm, unshakable as Rock and ready to be fulfilled. A life can be changed in an instant. Calm can replace chaos.

Living as we do with continual physical and mental health challenges, we cling to His word in desperation. How long, O Lord? When, God when? This the silent mantra we move to.

Nothing external has changed. But we are altered by a few moments of intent listening to another speaking as if from the Lord. 

I still bear burdens Jesus aches to carry for me. I still mess up and have unwise words escape my mouth. But God is reminding me of His nearness and drawing me to His side in increasing dependence and trust.

And God has blessed me further with a ‘Prayer Whisper’ from His heart to mine this morning:

“I will speak to you this year in small ways because I am training you to trace My hand at work in the minutiae of daily life. As you see and hear Me speaking in the little things, so you will develop a sensitive ear that is more attuned to My presence.

Sometimes there will be a flood of words. At others you will have to strain senses and flex faith muscles to be aware of what I’m saying.

It is vital for you to listen to your life, your body, emotions, actions and reactions as well as heeding My voice. My desire is for you to live mindfully; be aware of your need of grace, the space you create for misery or joy, the weariness signalling time to withdraw, be silent and rest in My loving embrace.

Walk through your days with an attitude of praise before you see any change for the good happening. Praise paves the way for My presence to operate in all its fullness and opens the door to thankfulness within you ~ regardless of circumstances.

Your inheritance as My child is to experience beauty for ashes and joy in the midst of adversity.”


Looking for the sound of laughter in my #1000gifts count yesterday seemed impossible.  So many days feel circumscribed by weakness, weariness and pain, bereft of joy in any measure. Yet it was there.

Here was a gift from God ~ a call to bring me back to awareness and a trickle of smiles to treasure as we watched a mini video of our grandson’s alert opening up to life around him.

This precious young life, a bare two months old, already operating as God intends us to ~ embracing life in all its fullness with an open, receptive mind and heart.

Babies and children have much to teach us about relishing the moment. In the deliberate seeking out joy can be found. In surrender to seconds, seasons and seeing anew we can listen to our lives and see that they are a holy offering to the Author of life itself.

32 thoughts on “Listening to your life”

  1. Dear Joy,
    As I poured over your words of sadness, reality, and assurance, my heart zoned in on one particular sentence, "Sin crouches at the door waiting to ensnare me." This is a reality of Christian life. The reign of satan will be dethroned, that is our promise. Until that day in this earthly realm satan is rampant, seeking whom he may devour.

    Here it is…"I still bear burdens Jesus aches to carry for me" We feed on His word as our daily manna, we pray in our closet of hope and trust, we ask the Lord to take our burdens but (speaking for myself) we refuse to let go of them. Our struggles an drains down here on earth are all part of His purpose in our lives. Tried in the fire, we WILL come forth as gold!

    "It is (very) vital for you ( for me) to listen to your (my) life" God has blessings all around us to help encourage us, and share to uplift another.

    I both enjoyed and appreciate your post this morning. Your thoughts from God were my morning devotional, and truly encouraged my heart and soul! God bless you my friend. We are His and together we will one day stroll arm in arm Joy, and breath in ALL the beauty of our Heavenly home that gives us inspiration. 🙂 xx

    1. Dear Kathy, tears sit ever near the surface these days and they were released again at your lovely words. Yes, we share the same struggles and pains of being human in a fallen world. We also share the glorious inheritance of the saints and continual Holy Spirit help, strength and guidance.
      I'm so blessed and encouraged by your words and the thought of God using mine to be an encouragement to you too. And I will go through the rest of today safe in the knowledge "We are His and together we will one day stroll arm in arm..and breathe in ALL the beauty of our Heavenly home that gives us inspiration". Amen, my friend! 🙂 xx

  2. Just wrote a long comment. Obviously it wasn't the right one, it disappeared. Let me say I could hear the weariness in your voice. I'm praying you lean on Him and hear his whispers. Sometimes as we wait to hear Him it's because our noise within hasn't subsided yet. The cold sometimes frustrates people because they can't do what they want to do. And yet, it provides a perfect time to sit with a cup of tea and Him.

    1. Anne, you certainly hit the spot with these words, "Sometimes as we wait to hear Him it's because our noise within hasn't subsided yet". Oh yes, I can relate to that inner cacophony making listening near to impossible. Maybe I shouldn't mind so much about being housebound and incapacitated. Perhaps having more time than most "to sit with a cup of tea and Him" is a huge advantage to explore to the full. Thank you for helping me to see things differently. Bless you 🙂 x

  3. Thanks for the gentle reminder that listening can be hard work, that the deepest truths don't come easy …

    May our Comforter refresh your weary soul and give you hope that will not disappoint, my friend …

    1. Thank you, Linda. Listening does reap rewards but can be really challenging at times. I wish it were otherwise. Though no time is wasted in gaining spiritual awareness and growing toward greater maturity and understanding. Your kind prayer is gratefully received, my friend! Bless you. 🙂 x

    1. Mary, in my state of flawed weakness and weariness I am amazed and awed that you see strength. Thank you so much for encouraging me in my work! Praise God for making it possible. My prayer echoes yours. I dearly hope He will continue to work through me to bring blessing, hope and encouragement to others and glory and honour to His Name.

    1. Dear Dolly, these Prayer Whispers are so often intended for more than my ears alone. And in the sharing of them others can be encouraged and blessed. I'm so pleased this helped you, friend. 🙂 x

  4. Dear Joy, I have been where you have been, and I have had to watch what I say to my beloved. He is kind and helpful; and yet, I can come out with critical words, which I know are a flaw in me. This is something I have been working on too. More and more, as a critical thought comes to mind, I find myself reminding me that I am a blessed woman to have such a husband. Uncomplainingly, he takes on household chores, I am unable to do when I am at my lowest in energy or highest in pain. What you are going through spoke to me in such a strong voice, that I need to spend more private moments in prayer and reading the word. You are in my prayers, dear friend. I am so glad God has brought you into my life. Love, Deborah xxoo

    1. Dear Debby, I am so thankful to know you and blessed by your words too. This especially, "reminidng me that I am a blessed woman to have such a husband. Uncomplainingly, he takes on household chores I am unable to do". Yes, me too, my friend. Our husbands are a real gift of grace and all the more reason why we give ourselves such a hard time when we lose patience with them!
      I really value your friendship, understanding, support and prayers. May God also bless you with peace and rest in Him. xx 🙂

  5. I needed to stop by and remember to linger longer in the moments… specifically to practice praise even before I feel like it. Oh how self-ish I can be. Bless you Joy– you really are a gift of your namesake. Don't let the enemy tell you otherwise. Now, go give your man a hug and tell him that girl from Georgia told you to! 🙂

    1. Lorretta, I am so thankful you lingered here a while and found something to encourage your heart. Your advice has been acted upon ~ my husband has been duly hugged! You are a blessing to me, friend. Xx 🙂

  6. Oh, Joy, as I read this my heart goes out to you. These words really stood out to me, "All God seems to be saying is, 'Look out. You've made another blunder'. My heart is heavy with sorrow over faults and failings." That is the enemy speaking to you. God never condemns us. He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).

    You are certainly in a "valley moment" now. However, it's in the valleys where growth occurs. Those growing pains are hard, but I'm confident that God will see you through this and you'll come through victorious.

    Love and blessings,

    1. Dear Joan, you have helped me see which 'voice' I have been listening to and whose I truly need to pay attention to. I know these things in my head but somehow we forget in the heat of the moment when our own thoughts also condemn us. To have reaffirmation that, "God never condemns us. He loves you with an everlastng love" is sweet savour to my soul.

      This valley living feels more like a permanent residence than a temporary passing place right now. Yet, even here, God is giving me so many glimpses of His grace and awareness of growth and change to come. Such things help us to stay strong in the midst of trials. Thank you so much for your confident expectations which have given me renewed hope. Blessings and love to you, wise friend! 🙂 x

  7. Dearest Joy,
    This touch of sadness and regret you experience…. remember that the moon cannot always be round and that the flowers cannot forever look fair. Why are you so hard on yourself? You are a courageous and strong woman who write the most beautiful poems. You share with the world your suffering and despair. Through this you inspire people.
    We all struggle in this life like caterpillars against the bonds of our cocoons. What will emerge? A moth or a butterfly.
    Lots of warm hugs and twinkle bells of sun sine from Hermanus.

    1. Dear Patricia, your words are a breath of fresh air and a basking in the bee-buzzing heat of summer, overflowing with nectar and warmth. You ask why I am so hard on myself and, truth be told, I have no definitive answer. Sometimes it feels like a reflex action to get in quick before someone else says it! It's not easy to step outside our skin and view the woman/person within with love and compassion. Maybe it's a necessity if we're to catch a glimpse of how God sees us?
      It's through perceptive and compassionate eyes like yours that I am enabled to reconsider the verdict I have about myself. Your gift of grace helps me embrace the embryonic stage as well as sensing the beauty to come ~ a moth in our own estimation but a butterfly to God and those with eyes to see it.
      Thank you, kind friend, for sharing your insights and opening me to the reality that already exists. I'll do my best to remember I am "a courageous and strong woman who writes the most beautiful poems". Sending grateful hugs and blessings your way too! 🙂 xx

  8. Dear Joy
    Oh, my heart cries for you, dear friend. I know it is difficult to face our sins in the midst of pain and exhaustion and pain! But it is just there where we learn to listen and allow Jesus to strengthen our union with Him as we allow our roots to grow deep into the fertile ground of His resurrected Life.
    Much love XX

    1. Dear Mia, how well you know those painful pathways I tread. And you also know the solution:"But it is just there where we learn to listen and allow Jesus to strengthen our union with Him as we allow our roots to grow deep into the fertile ground of His resurrected Life". Amen! Thank you for sharing powerful insights gained on your own journey in the valley.
      Much love and prayers, sweet friend. Xx 🙂

  9. Hi Joy! Thanks for encouraging me! I too am counting gifts.. but I could not stop at 1,000 & am now up to 1,172….and laughter from our grandchildren has to be one of the most precious! Blessings to you.

    1. Hi Glenys. You're very welcome! I love that you are going way beyond the anticipated in counting gifts. It's such a blessing to remember touches of grace which enhance our days. Thank you for this return visit and for linking with me on Google Friend Connect! It's lovely to have met you and shared our common ground. Blessings 🙂 x

  10. Joy, this really spoke to me. I have been struggling with sleepless nights due to pain, too. The exhaustion coupled with the fear that this new, increased level of pain is going to be my new normal has left me snappy and impatient. I love this post and the reminder to listen, to withdraw and be still. Thank you for linking up with us this week xx

    1. Ruth, I'm so sorry to hear you are suffering likewise. Pain has a way of making life feel grim and shading our ability to sense hope and joy. When I think of the verse which says there is fulness of joy in God's presence, it makes me marvel anew at how little I avail myself of it!
      This post is as much a reminder to me as to anyone else reading it. And how easily we forget. It's a blessing, as always, to link up with you and read your lovely posts. Xx 🙂

  11. Dear Joy, you've shared so honestly and painfully here, and I thank you for that because your offering of where you truly are is not only for God — as you lay yourself and your heavy burdens at his feet in exchange for his peace and presence — but it is for us as well. You are a blessing, Joy, and I'm lifting prayers for you and your husband right now.

    1. Dear Ashley, your sweet words are a gift to me! Thank you so much for understanding, validating, consoling and encouraging me in my walk of faith and life. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. Bless you, friend. Xx 🙂

  12. {sigh}… Joy, I loved this–related to might near every word. This, right here: "In surrender to seconds, seasons and seeing anew we can listen to our lives and see that they are a holy offering to the Author of life itself." YES, Joy, YES! This is what I'm singing, what my heart is pounding with. Thank you for beating with me in unison to our Father. *Thank you* for so graciously sharing our community with your readers here. <3 (and it will be difficult, after reading this, to choose one post to highlight this week ;))

    1. Nacole, I hear your heart and mine beats in unison. This is what I yearn for too and seem to lose so readily. Your blog posts draw me back time and time again. Honoured and blessed as always to be a small part of the community. Thank you for stopping by to encourage me. I really appreciate it! 🙂 xx

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