And To My Listening Ear

What a week! We have enjoyed some time at our lake home. I hesitate to call it “vacation,” since we are still actively online and phones and extra travel, but we are vacationing from the scheduled soccer and school. God’s artistry in sunrises, sunsets and everything else seems so beautiful when reflected on water.

photo

Reflections on water can lead to reflections on life.

I love “early morning fishing” with my kids. I select one (or sometimes two) of my children, put them in a canoe with a trolling motor, some poles and lures, and we head out to watch the sunrise, while we entice the unseen creatures below.

Why early?

At 5:30am, the lake is serene – no boat wakes or phones with which to contend, no schedules to compete for my kids’ time, just peace outside of two voices – theirs and mine. Oh yeah, and some say the fish bite more at dawn.

Why Photos?

The entire family doesn’t fit into our 3-seated vessel, so we share our victories via camera.  Sometimes, on a day without bites, it is fun to go through the photos, to remember the big ones will come!

photo

IMG_3951photophoto photoIMG_3954

But it’s not about the fish.

Mom, it doesn’t matter if we catch any fish today,” my 8-year-old serenely said as the trolling motor left a silent “V” sketched in the placid lake behind us. “It is just nice being with you.

It is a time of reflection – of the new sun off the mirror of water, and of my kids’ thoughts of this turning world. They ask questions in those peaceful hours that maybe get lost in our ninety-miles-per-hour  days.

“Do you think I am not catching fish today because I sin too much?”

Pensive.

“Is it ever ok to get angry, because… didn’t Jesus get angry?”

Fighting strong, but wanting answers with a friend along at 5:45am!

My kids’ discussion questions roll out with the line behind the boat.  I just want to make sure they know that I am here; I have a listening ear; I am ready with open arms when the storms send unsettling waves. If they don’t know that when they’re 8, they won’t know to look for it when they’re 18.

I LOVE our early times together.  I couldn’t help but see the parallel to morning quiet times with God.

Quiet Time with God

Why early?

Before the sun, the world is serene – no waves or phones with which to contend, no schedules to compete with the time (except for the pillow – the evil contender!)

Pen & Paper

Why Notebook?

Like a photo to share with family, a notebook records my wrestling moments, my tearful prayer requests, and the gut-wrenching thoughts that once prevented my sleep.  The answers received through these early morning times with Him are revealed when I read the journal years later. It encourages me: today’s resolution will come in His timing, too.

But it’s not about the ritual; it’s about the relationship.

It is a time when I can tell Him, “It is ok if I don’t catch anything today, I just enjoy being with You.”

Test Shot with My ESV Journaling Bible..

In His Word I am reminded that He is here. He has a listening ear; He is ready with open arms when the storms send unsettling waves – which sometimes are the lure that got me there in the first place.

“Don’t let your child be the ‘one that got away’,” is the advertisement line from Zebco fishing equipment. Maybe someone at that company had some good fishing conversations with his kids, too.

Girlfriend, don’t be the one who got away from God.  As Rick Warren says,

“If you feel far from God right now, guess who moved.”

Tomorrow: tell the pillow to have a good day without you.  Grab a pen, a notebook and a Bible, and enjoy a relationship with Him. Read, pray, speak and listen.

“Failure in my life almost always begins with a famine of God’s Word and prayer.” – Anne Graham Lotz

“It’s better to be sleep deprived than God deprived.” – Jill Briscoe

Eternally His,
Terri

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21 thoughts on “And To My Listening Ear

  1. Amen! Wow, thanks for this inspiring blog post! It is one I very much needed to hear! Guess where I will be tomorrow morning…..telling that pillow to have a nice day without me! Thanks for inpiring me to get back into this habit!

  2. Good timing, Mrs. Brady! My dear nanny went home to heaven this morning, but there was strength for the moment because the early hours were spent with a pen, a notebook, and a Bible and he knew just what I’d need for today’s storm. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still sad. Nanny took me out of a pretty rotten deal and raised me, so of course I’m am devastated by this loss. But although I’m sad, IT’S not sad, you know? Thanks again for faithfully writing what he places on your heart. Love you, appreciate you. Praying for you.

  3. I also want to thank you Terri. I love reading all of your blogs and you have inspired me to get my Bible out again and I now only listen to the Christian radio station also. My alarm is listening to the scriptures at 5:00 am until I leave for work at 6:00 am.

    • Norna, I am so glad you are listening to Christian radio – and listening to Scriptures at 5am is fantastic!! “Getting your Bible back out” will make for a perfect morning! Thanks for writing!
      Blessings
      Terri

  4. I LOVE all the beautiful word pictures that you draw using everyday experiences. Every time I think of fishing I will also think about spending time with my kids, and spending time with my Lord! I think I’ll pick up journaling again also! Thanks Terri! I can’t wait to hear you speak this weekend too!
    Serving Him,
    Jennifer Benedict

  5. Wonderful post as always, Terri! Thank you for sharing! Your posts often seem to parallel with whatever challenge I am currently experiencing! The pillow and I have been contending for awhile now (LOVE the Jill Briscoe quote!) in spite of what getting up early and spending time with God does for my day! That time is the trim tab of my life! A dear, sweet friend of mine and I started an accountability challenge a couple weeks back to encourage each other in this area of our lives. Some mornings, I do feel like it is nothing short of a miracle that I woke up on time! (A miracle I pray for the night before…seriously 🙂 I wonder if God will ever grant my request to allow me to be fully functioning on 4 hours of sleep? 😉

    • Olivia, SO true! I have prayed many times, “Please help me leave the pillow behind tomorrow morning!” and then again in the morning, “Thanks for waking me!” His strength is made perfect in my weakness! And I am made perfect in His strength:)!!!

  6. Thanks for your wonderful sharing! The fishing in the am reminds me of a book we used to read to our boys titled “God talks to boys while they’re fishing” (girls too!) I am grateful for your sharing and teaching so many of us what commitment to scripture looks like. Love you for all you give to our lives.

  7. Terri, what a wonderful article! Years ago, I was so blessed (and convicted since I was still worshiping sleep then 😉 to hear you explain waking up early (exhausted many times) to be alone with God; reading, praying, reflecting and never personally thanked you. So, THANK YOU! Thank you for being a voracious reader, for applying and sharing all you’ve learned and are still learning! Praising God for you!

  8. One of my favorite posts to date Terri! Probably because I can relate so much and there were so many life lessons reflected in your experience. I have learned more in the moments sitting on the edge of a pier reading the bible and looking out at the horizon as the sun comes up or walking along a quiet path on the shore of the lake or sitting in my dad’s trolling boat in silence with nothing but the sound of birds chirping and a soft breeze than I have anywhere else. You are making such a difference taking your little ones fishing in the early morning. My favorite memories with my dad both when I was young and still today have been fishing on the lake. In fact it’s the only time we have ever felt close and I cherish those sparse moments. Keep doing what you are doing, even when the pillow fights you back. You are making a lasting impression that your kids will never forget!

  9. Terri,
    Thank you so much, as always, for your insightful words.
    Someone once found out how early I get up (2 hours before I have to be to work), and asked why I needed so much time in the morning. (I guess my typical no-makeup/sharp casual look deceived her into thinking it took me about 30 seconds to get ready! LOL) I was met with complete bewilderment when I replied the first 30 to 45 minutes of my day, every day, is spent with my Bible. As much as I detest getting up early and leaving the pillow behind, I love the time with my Bible and in prayer just that much more. I cannot go into my day any more without that source of strength and comfort. The few times I’ve tried, the day just fell apart and went downhill fast.
    By the way, the only time I ever have gotten up early voluntarily is when we’ve been camping in the wilderness of NY at the side of a lake. Loons make great alarm clocks, and the early morning stillness is some of the most relaxing I’ve ever experienced. (And our kids loved to go “find Mom” in my favorite spot by the lake . . .)

  10. Terri, While reading your post today I felt like I was on that lake with you. So enjoy all the precious time we have today.

  11. Thanks so much for this article Terri . You always do such a fantastic job of reminding us of whats important , and always it seems at the right time . I believe God is doing great works through you , and am so glad he put you in my life .

  12. You write such beautiful word pictures, Terri. Thank you for the wonderful, gentle reminders you give us. I feel truly blessed to be part of an organization led by such God-centered women as the Life business has. Thank you for leading in such a humble and Christ-like way.

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