The Ministry of Listening

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I am married to a storyteller. He loves to tell good, long, detailed stories. I knew this from the moment I met him, and not much has changed over the years.

I think my children have inherited the trait, or perhaps they are just normal children?! Each of them, every day, has an intense, lengthy, detailed story to tell. I receive detailed accounts of a game of robbers, the snake cage design, or the latest book that cannot be put down.  Each and every day it is a choice to, once again, minister to my family by listening. Not just the uh-huh listening, but the face to face, down on their level kind of listening.

Most days this is just fine, but there are those days where my selfish side comes out and thinks, "When will it be my turn?"  Oh, that is ugly to admit.

It's during those poor-me times that I try to picture Jesus.  He is there, sitting around the table with his disciples at the end of a long, hot day hearing their stories and making eye contact, truly listening to each word they have to say. I don't think I am taking too much license.  As we see Jesus interacting in the Scriptures, we see Him listening, loving, hearing, and ministering.  And, when He was worn-out who was it that He went and poured out His heart to? God the Father.  He is ALWAYS ready to listen to me talk about my troubles, cares, and joys.  He is the Ultimate Listener ready to minister to my heart, down on my level, and face to face.

In the same way, I want to embrace the ministry of listening. Choosing to minister to my children's hearts by engaging in what they have to say. I'm hoping that one day, as my children get older, they will know that when they have a problem they can come and know that I will listen.

And as their mother, I will fail at listening to them.  I am a selfish sinner.  But my goal is to introduce them to the Ultimate Listener, the One who will never tire of their stories and is ready to minister to their hearts by listening.

Have you ever thought of listening as a ministry? How do you make time to actively listen to your family? Do you pour out your heart to the Ultimate Listener? I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice!

Blessings, Joy