Hugs and Whispers

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Courtesy of Sheri Wohlfert. All rights reserved.

…but the Lord was not in the wind…but the Lord was not in the earthquake…but the Lord was not in the fire…then there was a tiny whisper… 1 Kings 19:11-12

I have chosen a noisy profession. I spend each day with 260 kids and the moments of silence in our building are few and far between. While it makes me crazy at times, it really is one of the things I love about my job. I love to hear the kids talk, laugh, think out loud and I love listening to them pray and read Scripture. When I was a kid I remember my mom saying, “Ok kids, zip it! You’re so loud I can’t hear myself think!” I used to think that was so weird but now that I’m older and my ears are getting tired I completely understand what she meant!

Today is a snow day and I’m the only one home and it is so quiet! It’s so quiet in fact I sat in my prayer chair for an extra hour and it vanished like a minute.  I learned something this week about this story from the first book of Kings. I had another post planned for today but things changed course as I enjoyed my hot coffee and quiet morning. God used a little boy this week to teach me how to hear his tiny whisper so he could answer a prayer.

We live in a world of noise, and God is waiting for us to quiet ourselves and listen to him but a kindergartner taught me this week that quieting ourselves means more than turning down the volume and zipping our lips. The kind of still God is asking involves not just our ears but also our mind and our heart. I’m one of those folks who has a really hard time turning off the world and its distractions. It seems like no matter how hard I try to sit still and be quiet, I still have thoughts bouncing in my mind like jumping monkeys. Sometimes I feel like the wind and the earthquake and the fire are all happening in my mind at one time. I think some days I try so darn hard to make it all quiet I end up adding a roaring freight train to all the other noise.

During Lent it has been one of my goals to get better at hearing the tiny voice amidst the noise. I was at Mass Saturday evening and right before Communion I was praying that God would help me hear his tiny whisper. As I was praying, this beautiful little kindergarten boy who was sitting right in the pew in front of me was on his way up to the altar. His older brother, who is one of my middle lovelies, offered me the sign of peace on the way by and then his little brother did the same but then he turned back around, crawled up in the pew and gave me a giant hug. My heart was so full! On Monday I was heading to the office in a panic over something I forgot to take care of and this same little guy popped out of his classroom and came at me open-armed with a giant hug. Not a word was spoken but I physically felt all the tension melt as I finished my walk to the office. At the end of the day I held open the doors so the kids could head to the bus and this same little guy rushed out toward the bus then doubled back and gave me a hug and showed me his wiggly tooth.

I’ve been praying about a big decision for a few weeks and really trying to hear God’s response to my prayer. It’s that time of year when we sign our letters of intent for next year and I was battling to decide whether God was calling me to stay in the classroom or whether he was inviting me to do full-time ministry and writing. I was waiting for clarity amidst the fire, wind and earthquake but I just couldn’t find his will. I shared my dilemma with my principal and asked him to pray as well. I prayed that God would give me one swift sign so I could move on. That very next morning I was again walking through the halls, thoughts and tasks furiously rushing through my head and this little guy again appeared in the hallway and gave me a giant hug. This time he squeezed a little tighter and smiled a little bigger. That was the quiet whisper I’d been asking for.

I realized that morning I hadn’t been listening the right way. As I looked back over the week, each time that little guy had given me a hug it had been so out of the blue and such a sweet surprise that time almost stood still. I realized that each time he had given me a hug I stopped thinking, worrying, rushing, fretting and planning. Each time he wrapped his little arms around me I felt such peace! I realized that once again God had used a child to show his love and grant his grace. Each hug made me pause and as I reflected on those brief pauses God’s whisper spoke to me and said; stay, rest here for a while longer.

What a week! We often hear that God cannot be outdone in generosity and love. He could have done a dozen different things to answer my prayers but he chose an adorable little boy with a wiggly tooth who gives world-class hugs to soften my heart and open my ears to the quiet whisper of his will. The next time I’m trying to quiet the wind, fire, and earthquakes that rage on around me I will remember those sweet hugs at the perfect time, then imagine the Father himself wrapping me in his embrace and I’ll let the world evaporate around me. Thank you, Lord, for the perfect example, image and answer to my prayer.

A Seed To Plant: Use the passage from 1 Kings at the top of this post to settle yourself in prayer and ask to hear his tiny whisper today.

Blessings on your day!

Copyright 2016 Sheri Wohlfert 

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About Author

Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to take a good look at the simple ways we can all find God doing joyful, blessed, amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.

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