Sunday, September 17, 2017

When You Hear So Much More Than Words~

As I meandered
past the small table where she was sitting,
she looked up.

"Good Morning," I said,
as I smiled and made my way
on over to the counter.

"Excuse me," she said.
"Would you mind moving closer
so I can read the back of your shirt?"

Hearing her frail voice and her simple request,
I happily stepped back over to her table,
turned my back to her,
pulled on the bottom of my shirt
to remove any wrinkles,
and then listened
as she read the words written there,
out loud.

"Oh, I love that verse,"
 she exclaimed.

As I turned to face her,
her face lit up.

"I thought that was you!"
she said with an excitement
that took me completely by surprise.
"I think I've heard you speak.
You are a speaker,
aren't you?"

I couldn't help
but smile.

"Yes," I quietly answered.
 "I am.
As a matter of fact,
this T-shirt
is from a women's retreat
I spoke at several years ago."

"I knew it!" she said,
as she clapped her hands together.
"I've seen you on TV
speaking about God!"

"No, Ma'am, I'm sorry," I quickly interjected,
"You must have me mistaken with someone else.
I've never been on TV."

"Well, you will be, dear.
One day,
you will be!"

And in that moment,
it wasn't my ears who heard her words,
but my spirit.
And, I knew God,
as He always is,
was in this place,
in this conversation,
in these very words.

"I don't know what I would do
without God," she continued.
"You probably won't understand this,
being that you are still so young,
but I lost my husband 18 years ago,
and I still miss him terribly.
Every day, oh, how I miss that man.
God is the only thing that has kept me going
all these years without him.
It's a hard kind of missing
that you can't really understand
until you, yourself, have been there.
Losing him broke my heart,
but God has always been there for me."

Without even thinking about it,
my right hand met my left
and gently turned my wedding ring,
still on my finger,
a year and a half later.

"Life is all about
what you choose to see.
Like me, right now,
choosing to read the back of your shirt,
and finding encouragement for my soul.
Or, like the time we had car trouble
out in the middle of nowhere.
I've never forgotten that time.
There we were, -
Oh, I'm sorry -
I'm talking your ear off.
Do you have time for this story?"

"Yes," I smiled,
"I would love to hear it."

She smiled back,
a beautiful smile, heart deep,
and continued right where she had left off.

" . . .out in the middle of nowhere,
with no one around,
we were pulled off to the side of the road.
All my daughter and I could do
was wait for God to send some help.
Just wait for God to move.
But, do you know,
while we were waiting,
we saw the most glorious sunset!
And, then, if that wasn't enough,
we saw the most beautiful full moon come up.
No, I will never forget that."

"Are you ready, Stacy?"

The voice of my mother,
who had stopped by the restroom
on our way in,
floated into our conversation.

"This is my mother," I said
as I introduced my mom
to my new found friend.

"Hello," this precious lady said
as she reached out,
took hold of my hand,
and looked up at my mother.
"We've been having the most wonderful time."

Then she looked deep in my eyes.

"I've enjoyed visiting with you.
I'm so glad you took the time to listen."

And once again,
in that moment,
it wasn't my ears who heard her words,
but my spirit

I'm so glad you took the time to listen.

And, I knew God,
as He always is,
was in this place,
in this conversation,
in these very words.

And, I also knew
these very words
were just what my heart needed to
"grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

For this precious encounter,
for this moment of "listening",
for this moment of "hearing"
far beyond what was said -

"To Him be the glory
both now
and to the day of eternity.

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