Stop the Madness!
Parenting is a wonderful opportunity to learn “chaos control,” or crisis management as it’s often known. Parents have usually refereed more games by dinner time than their kids will ever compete in on the field! The business world has given the skills that we teach our children intellectual names like “conflict resolution,” but it’s really no different from the sharing lesson that we learned in the sandbox. Valuable life skills are passed on through that parent-child relationship. The more a child can listen to the wisdom of those who love them most and have lived life a little longer, the greater success and happiness they find as they learn from others’ challenges and victories.
If only we could sit still long enough to listen, though, right? Anyone who has any emotions or has been around someone who does has had the opportunity to experience the effects of drama on a person’s ability to listen. Toddlers demonstrate this perfectly.
When our children were very small and threw a fit or hurt themselves in some way, we knew we were in trouble when no sound came out. You know—the silent, red-faced scream as they inhaled, ready to burst ear drums with their piercing wails. With our first child, Zachary, we tried to talk him down, reason with him, explain that life isn’t always fair, and show him the error of his ways. By child number three, the resolution was much swifter! We found that reasoning in the moment of crisis was hard for children to receive. This is true for adults too; in the midst of emotion it’s hard to hear the voice of reason. Yet listening is the very thing that will help us the most.
By the time Hannah was around four years old, we were half way through our Bible college studies. We had learned powerful lessons and were pumped full of the scriptures, ready to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils. I guess we must have missed the class on “How to Stop the Midnight Madness” though, because we were woefully un-prepared!
Stop the Midnight Madness
At the point where we were in the deepest sleep of the night, we were awakened by a shrieking child. It was one of those “I’m really hurting” cries that knots a parent’s gut. I rushed into Hannah’s room and scooped her up to comfort her, but nothing seemed to work. She was holding the back of her neck in pain and would not let me look at it. We did everything we knew to do: prayed for her, spoke to the pain, bound the powers of darkness and even took her into our bed! Nothing. I was convinced that she had something serious going on—my mind checking off all the symptoms of meningitis. Finally, after running out of ideas, I listened. Not to the ear-piercing screams but to the Holy Spirit.
He said to look at her finger. Odd, I thought, but ok. Sure enough, her little finger was caught up in her hair, under hand, at the base of her neck. She had fallen asleep twiddling her hair around her finger and it had cut off the circulation. When I pulled her hand away from her neck, it hurt more, so she screamed louder. One snip with the scissors was all that was needed!
Listen First, Not After
I learned that night to listen first rather than wait until after trying everything else! Often there is a simple solution, one that can easily be overlooked in the middle of the chaos. Listening skills are easier to practice when it’s quiet, rather than (like me) waiting until the storm is in full force.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” — John 10:27
Sometimes it’s hard to hear the Lord about the noise of life, and easy to assume that He is not hearing us. Be encouraged that He is always listening and that we can always hear Him, when we listen. Take some time out today, just to be still and listen for the answers that you have been looking for. There are many ways that God speaks to us, and we explore some next time, but listening and expecting to hear is the key!
How to Hear the Voice of God
Everyone needs to hear what God is saying, and you don’t want to wait until you’re in a crisis to try and hear Him. As a believer and His child, you can hear God. You were created to hear Him. It’s part of your spiritual DNA!