Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Spiritual Journey Thursday - LISTEN

     I look forward to Thursdays when I can publish thoughts on my spiritual journey and hear the thoughts of others on a weekly theme topic.  It has become a space for an encouraging and fortifying community to come together.  We welcome anyone who would like to join us!
For the next several months, we are writing about the Spiritual Journey Thursday community's One Little Words.  We'd love for you to join us!  If you have a OLW and would like us all to write about it, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@muellerholly), and I will add you to our calendar.
This week, we are writing about Carol Varselona's One Little Word: LISTEN
"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him." - Deuteronomy 30: 19b - 20a
"The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, 'Samuel!  Samuel!' Then Samuel said, 'Speak, for your servant is listening.'" - 1 Samuel 3: 10-11
     On February 26, 1996, our youngest daughter, Katie, was born.  She came into this world after many hours of labor and a fairly uneventful birth.  We felt exhausted, joyful, and relieved.  She was a healthy baby girl with a full head of curly dark hair, just like her sister's.  Family came into the delivery room to take a look and celebrate with us.  The nurses eventually took her out of the room to clean her up and the doctor tended to me, while Ed took the video camera to follow her out and record her first hour of life. 
     Soon, I was taken back to my room, and I started making phone calls, telling everyone the great news of her birthday.  I'm not sure how much time went by, but as I was talking on the phone, Ed came back to the room with a grim expression on his face.  I turned cold, realizing something was wrong.  "I have to go!" I said shakily, and got off the phone, dreading what he was going to say.  He reassured me first, trying to help me understand what was going on.  He explained that as he was videotaping the nurses cleaning Katie up and preparing her for the nursery, he saw that they were starting to react urgently, their expressions worried. They started talking agitatedly to each other behind the glass.  Ed couldn't tell what was going on, but he knew it wasn't good.  He turned off the video camera, and tried to get some answers.  A doctor came out to explain that Katie's oxygen level was very low, and she needed to be taken to the ICU quickly so they could take care of her.
     This was scary news, and totally unexpected.  I remember people coming in, explaining more of the situation, telling us what Katie needed and how she was going to be treated.  It all seemed slightly surreal.  Why was this happening?  Would she be okay?  Many of the details seem foggy now.  I couldn't tell you exactly what we said in conversations, the timing of everything, or all the diagnoses and treatments.  But there is one moment I remember clearly. 
     Ed and I slept fitfully in my little hospital room that night.  However, when we woke up the next morning, Ed seemed completely calm.  He told me that during the night he was awakened by an audible voice.  The voice said, "It will be all right."  Ed knew it was the voice of God, and he knew everything was going to be all right.  I was able to also relax in that knowledge. 
     Fortunately, everything did turn out all right.  Katie had to stay in the ICU for several days, and the hospital was able to get me a room on another floor so I could stay.  Big sister Libby, friends, and family came and visited, reaching over her ICU bed and in between tubes and paraphernalia to touch her cheek, her toes, her hands.  It wasn't the same as everyone being able to hold her, but she got lots of attention.  Finally, when her oxygen levels stabilized, she was able to go home.  She was completely healthy from then on. 
     Since then I'm not sure God has spoken to Ed or me that clearly and audibly.  I know I hear Him through song lyrics, whisperings of ideas or important words, through reading the Bible, through a friend, or hearing a sermon.  I know that I am oftentimes too impatient, busy, distracted, or loud to hear him speak to me.  I know I am a poor listener much of the time.  But I know He is speaking.  And I know that He loves us enough to tell us, "It will be all right."

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your unconditional love for us.  Thank you for your Word. Thank you for speaking to us, even when we don't always listen.  Help us pay attention with all our hearts and minds to hear what you have to say.
  Below is the current OLW Spiritual Journey Thursday schedule - if you're not on the schedule, and you'd like us to write about the spiritual aspects of YOUR OLW, please let me know your word and blog URL, and I'll add you!  Also, if I made a mistake or didn't add you, and I was supposed to, let me know!
JANUARY 22nd: Michelle Haseltine's OLW, FLY
JANUARY 29th: Leigh Anne Eck's OLW, TURN
FEBRUARY 5th: Margaret Simon's OLW, REACH
FEBRUARY 12th: Justin Stygles's OLW, LOOK
FEBRUARY 19th: Greg Armamentos's OLW, DIVE (Dwell, Ignite, Venture, Embody)
FEBRUARY 26th: Ramona Behnke's OLW, STRETCH 


  1. What a beautiful post - listening through trials. I love how your faith shines in this story. Listen is an awesome word, indeed!

  2. I listened to your story with intent knowing that my own story preceded yours. From my darkest hours of a traumatic delivery, the Lord turned His attention to my first born, saved his life, and led me to dig deeper into faith. God is great. God is good, He is love (as Steve Curtis Chapman sings.) In every journey, there is a deep need to LISTEN. If we can harness the energy of listening, we can hear the positive message that the Lord delivers. Thank you, Holly for honoring my OLW today in your post. It was executed with finesse and gentleness.

  3. What a beautiful testimony about the power of listening! (I love the picture of you and your girls!!) Thank you for sharing such a scary moment in your life!! Sharing our words and hearing each other's stories is amazing! Thank you Holly!

  4. Thanks for sharing something so personal. Its so great to hear how you listen to guidance in put your faith in the power stronger than all of us. You must be thankful for your daughter ever day!

  5. Thank you for this post, Holly. My daughter's birthday is on Friday. Birth stories are so powerful for us as parents. I was surprised that my daughter (15) did not want to hear about the day she was born. She thought the story would be all about the (gross) physical details of birth, but the day a child comes into our family is a spiritual experience too, as your story shows.

  6. Ed and I need to talk. My oldest daughter was rushed to ICU at 4 months. It looked like she had tacticardia of the heart. Hours went by and at midnight we were helicoptered to Oschner in New Orleans. In the helicopter with Maggie lying on my chest, heart to heart, I felt the hands of God wrap around me. I did not hear a distinct voice, but I knew the presence. Her heart rate slowed. Eventually we learned that her high heart rate was a reaction to an infection. She had pneumonia. We were home after a few days. And she is going to be 30 on Feb. 21st.
    That experience has stayed with me. I know how the real presence feels. I know God is there.

  7. Luckily, I have not had a moment such as this. My daughter had surgery - tubes in the ears - nothing major but even that sure makes a parent nervous. Your story is such a wonderful example of listening for God's message - "It will be all right." Thank you for sharing all of our OLW's. This has been a great addition to this weekly journey.

  8. Wonderful story of God fulfilling his promise to hear us and to speak to us. Comforting words directly from God!

  9. Love the picture of you and Libby with Katie, such precious expressions of love. What a blessing Ed received and in turn shared with you during such a challenging time. I loved your thinking this week about Carol's OLW.