Navigation Menu

Presents or Presence (The Difference in Listening Well)



Posted by on Dec 24, 2016 |


“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.”
(John 3:16)


You can’t fool her, you know.

Two pudgy hands cup your cheeks to turn your face, demanding your eyes look deep into her own.

“Mama, you’re not listening!” You can almost feel her heart stomping its tiny imaginary foot to accentuate the point.

Of course, you’re right when you insist, “Yes I am, honey, I can just do two things at once.” You did hear her, after all.

But she’s right (more right?) because you weren’t listening.

Hearing requires only ears. Listening demands ears, eyes, mind, and maybe most important, heart.

The difference matters. A lot. Here’s why:

Your children don’t just notice the difference between hearing and listening, they understand the difference:

Something else is more important than them in that moment.

O u c h!

This isn’t confined to children; don’t we all hate it when we know someone is only half engaged in conversation? Present in body but absent in thought?

I grow weary from all the admonitions to focus on Christ during the Christmas season, to resist holiday busyness. Please don’t get me wrong — I agree — but then I see a believing people tangled and lifeless in sticky-webs of shopping, baking, parties, and school or church programs.

We are distracted.

Everyone is working extra hard to pay for All The Things.

And though our homes have never looked more lovely or smelled more delicious . . .

Our actions are speaking loudly, and they don’t always match up to our words.

Can I get an “Amen!”?


Please click to continue reading Presents/Presence for incourage. Promise:
if you’ll follow this friendly advice this Christmas season,
you’ll be  giving and receiving something precious.

More Recent Posts

A time to speak



Posted by on Jul 13, 2009 | 4 comments

"We do need to warn you…these kids are not the same!"
— Never The Same '09 blog

It's been two of the longest weeks in my life, but I imagine two of the shortest weeks in hers.  A mission trip billed as "Never The Same '09" has lived up to its name.  She's been on the mountain, grown her family, fed the hungry, played the role of nurse and lived her faith, and a radiant countenance belies all these things.

Plus she likes vegetables now.  Go figure.

Perhaps I'm being overly dramatic, but I sense my daughter has stumbled into her calling.  What tells me this?  She can't stop smiling.  I see it in her face now, but I heard it in her voice shortly after she met her team members.

This is significant.  For years (though it's hard to remember now) it bothered me she didn't smile often enough.  I–one who believes "you're never fully dressed without a smile"–almost took it personally.  Wasn't a smile an outward expression of an inner working?  Did her solemn expression mask inner fear?  unhappiness?  worry?  

Recently, I've seen this little caterpillar of mine wiggle out of her self-spun cocoon; her metamorphosis, though welcome, was unexpected.  Physical growth and changes are easy to detect, but an evolution of the soul?  A transforming of the mind?  Subtle shifts in personality and behavior and response to others?  It would've been so easy--too easy--to miss had I just been looking with my eyes.

Thankfully, my heart was listening and looking. 

I'm thinking while I write, and I remember a handful of conversations she and I had over the past year.  We were fully present and engaged and seized "accidental" moments.  She had questions and invited me to share my answers.  She acknowledged frustrations, revealed her hopes, admitted fears, confessed sin and dared to dream out loud.  

While I wonder how many of these opportunities I've miss with her or my sons, I'm convinced of this: 

Time is requisite for your kids to be willing to share their heart with you.  It can't be rushed or manipulated or coerced.  They have to know you're fully present; especially as they grow older.

It was time for her to speak. 


"It was the best day of my life so far."
Rachel, describing meeting Evelyn, the little girl she sponsors through Compassion International

This is when it was time for me to be continued….



Goodbye Girl

More Recent Posts

Are you on the mailing list?


Get updates delivered hot and fresh to your inbox.

PLUS receive exclusive content reserved ONLY for my subscribers!

You have Successfully Subscribed!