Listening to His Calls

The Lord is patient. I know that to be a fact.

For two years (over two years if I’m honest) I’ve been avoiding doing something that I believe He’s called me to do. The last time I avoided His call for a “leap of faith” it took me one and a half years to act on it. The outcome was remarkable. It led me to a new career, gave me an education in U.S. politics and foreign news, and maneuvered me to a place where I met my husband.

With such a positive outcome, why would I hesitate a second time? I had insight to my inaction when I listened to the guest speaker at a recent career network event. He was Gregg Levoy, author of “Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life.” Along with a crowd of about 200, I took Mr. Levoy’s verbal quiz at the end of the talk.

Levoy asked a series of questions to help us uncover if we’re being called. (Now, a calling can be anything. A call to be a better parent or spouse. A call to develop new friendships, hobbies or careers. It could be a call to do or be something different or better. It doesn’t mean that one is necessarily called to be a missionary in Sierra Leone.)

“Do you have song lyrics stuck in your head?” Levoy asked. Well, yes. This happens to me frequently, but the one that’s nipping at me currently is Matthew West’s, “Hello, My Name Is.”  The song starts, “Hello my name is regret. I’m pretty sure we have met. Every single day of your life, I’m the whisper inside, that won’t let you forget….”  Ouch. Yes, this one hits me nearly every day. Unless it’s a day where I’m working toward what He wants me to do. On those days I do have a sense of peace and accomplishment.

“What’s the prominent quote in your mind, or tacked up in your home?” the author queried. That one’s easy, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Well, this is getting interesting.

“What was your road not taken?” Levoy asked. Then, before I could answer, he pressed, “What is the one problem you were meant to solve?”  There’s a definite pattern here and the conviction is growing. “What decision have you backburnered?” Levoy continued. “And if you had the opportunity to try your hand at another profession, what would it be?”  By this time, I’m laughing at myself and my answers because they continually loop back to what I’ve been avoiding.
I know what I need to do, and I know who will help me. So to get me going, I remember the end of West’s song. It’s a little bit more uplifting than the beginning, “….Amazing Grace is the song I sing. Hello, my name is child of the one true King. I am no longer defined by all the wreckage behind. The one who makes all things new, has proven it’s true. Just take a look at my life….”

So, I’d like to complete what I’m here to do. I’d like to make all things new and be a better parent and spouse. And lead others to Christ. And use my skills in projects that He leads me into. I hope that at the end of my life, I can take a look back and know that I did not avoid His callings.

Music to My Ears

It’s two in the afternoon and I drive to her school with a gloomy heart. That day was the fourth visit to a concussion specialist to help resolve her head pain after a sports collision.

I don’t mind the hour-long drive to a specialist. It’s the anticipated attitude and entitlement snippets coming from our tween that I can’t stand. These nasty noshes peck at my peace and seem to have slipped into the house when we were all sleeping.

“Mom, turn the radio to my station,” she barked. “No. We’re going to have some quiet conversation,” I said (trying to remain calm.)  “Oh. Well, can I sing you some of the songs for our upcoming school concert?” she offered.  Even before I could say a silent prayer of thanks to the Lord, the car concert began. And it was lovely. As she passed through the early American ballads and swing style songs for the concert (staid, non-controversial fare, innocuous enough), she ended with, “Now would you like to hear my song from camp last summer?”

“Yes!” And the funny, entirely accurate lyrics in Francesca Battistelli’s song were music to my weary ears. “This is the stuff that drives me crazy, This is the stuff that’s getting to me lately. In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I’m blessed…” surrounded me with the calm and perspective I needed. It was a gift from the Lord and a reminder to stay the course, no matter how trying parenting can be.

Later that evening, when she was showering and I was putting away clothes in her closet, I heard her sing a pitch perfect current rendition of  “Amazing Grace.”  “Did you like my song?” she  asked.

“Of course I did!  How did you know that was my favorite song?” I praised. “Oh, Mumsy,” she said with the tiniest bit of tween intonation, “I do listen to you. I hear you humming the tune sometimes.”

Oh my goodness. As I always suspected, our children hear and see everything. So every time I try to stay calm, turn the noise down,  or refuse to answer my cellphone while driving, and a million other things that seem an effort at the time, I know I’m doing the right thing.

Thank you, Lord, for the music we hear right when we need to hear it.