I have a vivid memory of an argument I had with my mom when I was young, probably about 6 years old. I don’t actually remember the argument itself, but the aftermath. Mom became exasperated with the arguing and sent me to my room. I started down the hall, then stopped, looked back and stuck my tongue out at mom while her back was turned. I stood there wagging my tongue and my head when suddenly, with lightning speed, she turns and sees me. I’m frozen solid unable even to put my tongue back in my mouth. As I stand there I watch as my mom’s face turns red and smoke begins to pour out of her ears, the earth quakes, mountains tremble, birds and squirrels run for cover and then, mom explodes. A mushroom cloud forms in the air above where our house once stood.
At least that’s what it felt like inside my 6 year old head. In reality my mom simply looked at me and said in the softest voice, “That makes me sad”. Crap. I’d rather have the mushroom cloud.
When mom got quiet and leaned in close to speak, I knew I’d crossed a line. I was in deep and I’d better stop and listen.
Funny thing is I still experience this instinctual respect for the small, quiet voice in my relationship with God. Like my mom, he never yells or explodes, (although, sometimes I wish he would) he speaks softly to my spirit, usually in the voice of a friend or my husband and children.
Last week it was through the words of a friend who spoke during communion at church. He was talking about remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us on the cross. He said when we take communion we should take it without resentment towards others in our hearts. That made me sit up and listen.
You see, it had been a rough morning with my girls. We’d argued, I felt frustrated, we stormed out of the house and went to church. (Ironic and ridiculous, I know.)
Then, my friend spoke a quiet sentence as he prayed that seemed to pierce my soul. He said, “Picture the person or people you’re upset with and realized that Jesus sacrificed his life for them. Picture that person as Jesus himself because Jesus said everything we do to the least of these, we do to him”.
I pictured the girls and all the frustration of the morning melted away as I saw Jesus in them. I felt ashamed, convicted and knew I’d crossed the line. Okay God, maybe I should be a grown-up and not lose my crap over two young girls who know how to push my buttons.
Seriously, that still, small voice is killer.