Day 28: Who is Listening?

Is anyone listening to me?
Did you hear a word that I said?!”
I think I may have said that a time
or two
(or many more)
when my children were young.
There were days when I felt like I was talking to a wall
for all the good it did me.
And then there were the days when 
little lips repeated what
I knew they had heard me say . . .
and wished that I hadn’t. 
Sometimes the words were comical,
But other times, not so much. 
Not when they repeated the words
that I had uttered in haste and anger,
or the words that had an unkind ring to them.
I’m guessing you have been there 
at some point in your life also?
Wishing you could 
take back
the words you just heard
leaving your mouth.  

As I have been on this journey of Listening,
God has been applying most of the lessons
to my own way of listening, asking me
to listen with open ears.
He’s reminded me that
He never stops listening,
Answers every cry 
that we utter.
However, there is one more way to approach
this Listening business,
And I am sure you know the direction
this is headed.
We truly are responsible for the words
that we utter
because someone is always 
listening to us.
What are they hearing?
Are my words helpful,
and beneficial for those 
listening to me? 

I don’t know about you,
but those thoughts are weighty
and even scary to me.

In fact, somedays I just want to
shut up
and sit down
when I think about the damage 
that my words could possibly cause.

But is that really what the verse is meaning?

God must have thought it possible for me to be
and encouraging
and beneficial
when He gave that command,
because those are the
that He used.

And lest I think these words only apply to those
who are in positions of prominence and
large vision,
God reminds me of how simple words
changed my days
many years ago.
I was a chubby and misfit 7th grader,
still loving my clarinet
but strained to my limit every afternoon.
Band members’ lockers were on the far side
of the school,
and the buses were on the other
far side of the school.
Every day was a race to see if I would make it
in time
before the buses pulled away,
leaving me staring at my ride home.
Oh, but on those days when I learned how to
gather my things more quickly,
and slide into the bus doorway
just as it was pulling away,
my grin was ear-to-ear,
thanking my best friend, Jesus,
in the corners of my heart,
that He had helped this 
chubby, misfit girl
catch the bus one more time.
Finally one day, the bus driver
spoke words to me
that sparked a glimmer of hope
inside that chubby heart.

“You have such a pretty smile!
Why are you always grinning so big
when you get on my bus?
I’m going to start calling you
Simple words, uttered in a simple place,
but nevertheless,
words that had a lasting
in my heart.
I don’t remember what that bus driver looked like,
or how long she drove my bus route,
but I will never forget those 
kind words,
that brought encouragement to a heart
that felt like no one cared.

Are you in a simple place,
with hidden tasks?
Do you feel that the tasks of others
are more important than yours?
Perhaps God has placed you close by
to a chubby, misfit heart
that needs to hear a helpful word
that could benefit them today.
Who is listening to you?
This is Day 28 for the #Write31Days Challenge,

Don’t forget to leave a comment below
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this week’s give-away for
Cindee Snider Re’s book,
Discovering Hope: Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness  
I will announce the 2 winners this Sunday,
November 6. 

Join me over at these great sites this week:

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10 thoughts on “Day 28: Who is Listening?

  1. Oh the conviction of this:
    “Wishing you could
    take back
    the words you just heard
    leaving your mouth”
    Umm… yes – me, yesterday, gulp!! It's not always easy to remember just Who is listening to every word we speak, and maybe that's just as well when they aren't pretty, wholesome or Godly. Yet He remains the silent listener and observer, His heart aching with sadness when we mess up, or fail to speak well of ourselves or others.
    Sadly, negative self-talk has been a defining characteristic of mine as I have mirrored the words spoken over me as a child. Now, as a child of God, I am very aware of just how destructive it can be.
    Thankfully, positive reinforcement can also leave its mark, bringing encouragement where sadness sat before. As an encourager by nature and calling, I note with dismay how bad I am at encouraging myself. Very much a work in progress in that area!
    I love your personal stories, Bettie, and the tender heart revealed behind the words you share. May you continue to listen well as you bless and encourage us all here. Xoxo


  2. I'm so glad that bus driver gave you encouragement, Bettie. Those positive statements mean so much, especially to a child. Negative words can cause such damage, can't they? I wish, too, that I could take back some words. I'm always so afraid my words may be judgmental and not “helpful for building others up” (as that text says). I often need to pray Psalm 19:14 – “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” I hope you have a blessed, rest-filled weekend, my friend! Hugs!


  3. Dear Joy, Oh boy do I know about that negative self-talk! Especially on those days when I'm not feeling the best, it seems to escape before I realize it. What a blessing to be able to focus in on those encouraging words that have been given to us! I'm right there with you as a work in progress my friend! May your weekend be blessed by much encouragement! xoxo


  4. Dear Trudy, Oh yes, I've often wondered if that bus driver realized what a help her words were for me! And, what a wonderful verse you reminded me of from Psalm 19. There was a time that I kept that verse on my desk at work because the environment was so negative and it was hard not to jump in with it all! Thank you for the sweet encouragement that you bring, Trudy! Hugs and Blessings to you this weekend!


  5. We never know how our words make a difference in another person's life. During my life I have been hurt by words, thankfully I also have been blessed by words. I have always tried to encourage others, yet I know it is still something I need to keep working on. Words are powerful! I pray that those listening to me are hearing good things 🙂


  6. Thank you for sharing this very edifying post!

    What a story you shared from your childhood and how everything about the bus driver faded in memory except her words. Now that is a word picture!

    I try to be more mindful of even my facial expressions somewhere that I might pass someone by and I'll give them a smile.



  7. Hi Mindy,
    Yes, isn't it true that we can be so easily hurt by those uncaring words from others? But I am thankful that those GOOD words can bring mean so much healing! Praying right there with you for those good words to come out of my mouth too! 🙂


  8. Hi Karen,
    I'm glad that you stopped by here! Yes, isn't it true that we just never know how our words can affect others? I like the way that you are mindful of even the affect that your facial expressions can have! That's something that I want to keep praying to be aware of also. –Blessings!


  9. Oh this is so convicting, Bettie. Thank you for this. I am thankful for the ones in our lives who are good examples and bring out the best in us and others. I pray I can be like that with God's help.


  10. Dear Meg, Oh yes, when I think of the impact that those kind words had on me so many years ago, my heart is convicted also! I want to be that encouragement to those around me too. I'm so thankful for the encouraging words you share Meg. You are a blessing!


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