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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

I sit here this morning reflecting on my week. Ladies Bible Study with some of my favorite “Sisters Loved by God”. Our first Connection Group in our new Church home, an opportunity to share life with precious, godly people. Senior Bible study, ah the wisdom in that special place.  All that life has been this week.

It’s been a good week, a great week even. God has been speaking to me in so many ways. I’m learning new things as I dig deeper into His Word.

The more I drink of this life giving Word, the more I know how badly, how much, I want to know Him. To touch His face. To feel His hand on my beating heart. To wrap my hands around His wrist as He wipes away my tears and turns my weeping to joy.

For everyone near and dear to me, to want the same. For the ones I’ve yet to meet, how I want it for them too. So much, I feel the weight of it pressing in on me.

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However…yes, here comes the but…the more I learn, the closer I get, the more He speaks to my soul, the more I’m convicted of all that needs to be changed.

Refined.

“He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross.” Malachi 3:3a NLT

Changed. Refined. Burning away the dross. Inside of me. Outside too.

I was convicted not once but twice this week. I. Am. A. Terrible. Listener.

Oh I have the “gift of gab” alright. I’m sure my sweet man would agree. In fact, I dare say it is that “gift” that’s possibly contributing to his gradual loss of hearing! (smile)

I’ve missed not one, not two, but three opportunities this week to LISTEN to hurting souls. Cradling broken hearts in their hands. Protectively yet gently baring their pain. And. I. Missed. It.

I’ve heard it said, that the best comfort one can offer sometimes is your silence.

I was so busy, so self centered, so selfish as I shared and yammered on and on, I failed to listen.

In the middle of this scripture there was a nugget for me, Ecclesiastes 5:1…keep your ears open and your mouth shut…

Just because my “spiritual gift” is exhortation~the ability to minister words of encouragement, consolation, comfort and motivation from God’s Word to help others, does not mean I get to do all the talking.

In Tyler James’ song Stay Humble, there is a line that says “This moment is not a story about me”.

This moment is not a story about me! This moment is a bigger story. The bigger story of bringing souls to salvation, of helping those who have drifted off the path, find their way again. Helping to cultivate and tender hearts for God. Living out a godly life before them. Reaching out. Listening. Loving on them.

That is the story.

There are times when we are called to lean in, look that dear one in the eye, make them feel loved and important by listening.

Listening. Paying attention.

Giving validation to their pain with your silence and support.

Before speaking words into them. Listen. Then if the occasion calls for it, speaking. Gently. Not dumping or pouring, gently speaking.

Matthew 5:41 says “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two.”

When the broken, hurting soul needs comfort through silence, do it. God will provide the opportunities to speak encouraging words, until then I need to be a better listener. Silently walking with them “a mile or two”, helping to carry the load.

Lord give me “Ears to hear and eyes to see~both are gifts from the Lord.” Proverbs 20:12 NLT

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn