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Just Listen

Last Saturday was a late night for our family. It was nearly 10 pm by the time we all got home and I trudged up the stairs with five-year-old Halle. She struggled to keep it together as she got ready for bed. There were tears, dramatic scowls, and some very unkind words to her mother. I was just grateful that I kept it together. With my own eyelids heavy, I admit it wasn't easy.

By the time she climbed into bed, her sobs were deep and overwhelming her attempts to catch her breath. Her eyes were puffy and the messy strands of hair framing her face were damp with tears.

She had been downright mean to me in the last twenty minutes. I took a deep breath and told her I would hang out on the end of her bed while she calmed down. She begged me to curl up beside her instead, so I did, wrapping my arm around her trembling frame. I could tell she was hurting. As she struggled to overcome her sobs, a list of grievances burst from every pressure-packed inch of her kindergarten mind. There was no holding them back now.

Almost imperceptibly the Spirit counseled me to just listen.

So I listened.

"I DON'T LIKE CHANGE! I don't want my best friend to move away! I don't want my big sister to move out of my room! I want my little sister to move back to HER room! I don't want to meet new friends! I want MY friends! My heart is breaking!"

(Just listening to her, so was mine.)

"I want Sophia to move back in my room! I promise I'll keep my room clean. My heart is cracked and it all just doesn't make sense!"

Her rant included a few other heartbreaks, but I could tell she was most upset about change. And really, this is not breaking news. I've always known Halle to have difficulties with even the slightest hint of change. But last night she let me know that she knew it, too.

I'm so often amazed at how well all of my children evaluate their personal thought processes. In fact, at nearly six-years-old, I think Halle displays greater frontal lobe development than I reached by age thirty. Ridiculously sad on my part. I know.

But that's not the point. The point is as subtle as the Holy Spirit's prompting was to just listen. Halle's Heavenly Father loves her. He knew exactly what she needed last night and exactly how to give it to her. He prompted her mother to overlook the offense she might have taken and to just listen.

I stroked her hair as she fell asleep. Wow. She had been really disrespectful. And that's putting it nicely. I could have thrown my arms up and walked out. I could have "taught her a lesson" about respect. But that's not the lesson the Lord knew she needed to learn last night. He wanted her to learn that she was not alone. That she was loved.

And I think she did feel loved. She may have only recognized her mother's love, but someday I hope she will recognize her Heavenly Father's love as well. And that with His love, she can handle ANY change.

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Michele lives with her husband and five children in the foothills near sunny Seattle. She shares everything from the minutia of daily family life to the greater perspective on her blog Five in the Foothills

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