“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.” (David W. Augsburger)
Shepherd and I are much alike...which is possibly why I've been so aware of the change in him over the past few months. He's been silent in church (where's he has in the past always been very vocal) and has even acted a bit sullen. Chad and I have been trying to get to the bottom of it, and finally realized that our boy is quite perceptive. He realized early on that he doesn't "fit in" with the children at our new church as easily as he did in our old church, and therefore, decided for himself that it wasn't worth the effort to even try. I've watched him week after week walk to class with his head down and his shoulders drooped...I've even sat in the back row of his class to silently observe and have seen him purposefully choose to separate himself from the other children. *Let me be clear here - the children in the church are absolute sweethearts and many of them have consistently gone out of their way to reach out to him! God bless them for their tender, compassionate hearts! Let me also be clear that Shep has been polite in return, but that is about as far as he's gone...this child I've just described is NOT my child.* And Chad and I have tried just about everything to encourage him to change his attitude and put some effort in to his new environment. But, ultimately, we have known in our heart that this is his battle that he has to fight and his own personal lesson he has to learn.
Remember how I said earlier that Shep and I are much alike? Well, life is a journey, and I've had my own set of life lessons over the years. Different experiences from childhood, adolescence and adulthood have caused me to put walls up and have left me feeling somewhat silenced. Anyone who knows me well knows that I can be very introspective and I've allowed Satan to muddle my heart and mind with more "issues" then I could handle. Not wanting anyone to know that I've been trying to work through these "issues", I've just silently been pushing through and trying to figure things out. But, I told Chad recently that I feel like I've lost my voice...no, I'm not hoarse...just a bit paralyzed. This "paralysis" has pretty much affected every area of my life. Where I was once confident and sure of myself, I find myself feeling shaky and unsure. Where I was once vocal and opinionated, I find myself biting my tongue and over-thinking.
I guess you could say that I know, that I know, that I know...that I DON'T know hardly anything anymore. I've begun to understand that I don't understand much! Have I confused you yet? LOL! Well, now you know how I've been feeling lately!
But through this silence, I have grown so much! It's amazing how much insight and wisdom a person can gain just by sitting back, listening and observing. I feel like it has been a long road these past few months of feeling like I've lost my footing, but all along, the Lord has been holding my hand and keeping me from falling. The Lord has used my family (namely my precious husband) and my dear friends to speak to me in ways that they don't even know have blessed me. I'm so thankful for the Lord's faithfulness and persistence...He SEES us and refuses to lose even one lost, silent lamb. Praise God for that!
This morning in Shep's bible class, I witnessed a breakthrough as he volunteered for a speaking part in the Christmas production. Several men in the class openly praised him for stepping forward to do that, and his sweet shy smile that he sent my way afterwards made my heart swell. The children around him also recognized what a HUGE leap this was for him and several of them reached out to pat his shoulder and say "good job, Shep!"....really,...doesn't that just make you melt???
I feel like we both have begun to break through some of our walls, and could so relate to the song that was sung in church today "The snare is broken and you have escaped...our help comes from the name of the Lord, blessed be the Lord!". So, I'm clearing my voice...I'm testing the waters...and am finding my confidence again. This blog post is for everyone out there who is on their own personal journey - who has learned over the years that "they know, that they know, that they know, that they DON'T know everything....and that they have a heck-of-alot to learn!".
So, in a way, this blog post is for everyone, in every walk of life. :-) May the Lord bless us all with wisdom and spiritual maturity...and with ears that hear. May He also bless each of us with the confidence to speak the words He has given us.