How God Spoke into a Less-than-Holy Moment
By Pamela Henkelman
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Pamela's Story
It's a Caleb versus Mommy face-off again. I’m nose-to-nose with my rambunctious three-year-old. It’s a familiar dance as he demands something of me, and I dig my heels in with an angry “no.” His mop of bright blond hair and gold wire-rim glasses make him irresistibly charming. However, this morning has been less than cordial.
I see the passion in his eyes as he screams at the top of his lungs again. His face burns red. “No, Mommy! I don’t want to!” he bellows and throws his tiny frame on the floor. I feel the anger rise in my belly, thoughts racing through my mind: Here we go again! Why does this child oppose me about every little thing? Why can’t he be more like his older siblings? They are much more compliant and easy-going!
Caleb is a force to be reckoned with. He’s not giving up and neither will I. I feel the tension in my shoulders, and I clench my jaw to refrain from a full out scream. I will match his strength with my power as I yell, “Caleb that’s enough! Get off the floor and do what I ask!”
He arches his back and yells a louder “NO!!”
In the middle of this tense battle, I hear a gentle whisper in my thoughts.
Why are you always angry with this child?
The question startles me and immediately I freeze. I recognize this gentle voice; it’s my Father. I’m shaken to the core. I pause and listen for more. Holy Spirit speaks again.
He doesn’t need your anger. He needs your love.
An ache rises in my heart as I recognize my lack. I don’t feel shame but instead, a desire to make things right. God is right — this isn’t about Caleb. This is about my behavior. I want to walk a better way with this child. He needs gentle guidance and love.
An overwhelming sense of calm fills the room as I scoop up my sweet boy and hold him close. I feel the tension drain from his body as it does mine. It becomes a holy moment as we partner with God to reconcile our differences. I face the truth of my character. I‘m laid bare before God, and understand repentance is necessary and to walk in love is the most important part of parenting.
When I look back now, I cringe at those early days of parenting. In those years, God taught me best when I heard His still, small voice and He made those hard moments sacred. How thankful I am that hearing God’s voice is not reserved only for my “quiet time” in the morning. When I am tuned in to my connection with God throughout my days, He is able to impart His wisdom anytime — especially in those hard, trying moments.
He has been a most gracious teacher and helped me walk in gentleness and love with my children. Our five kids are now adults living their own lives, and they still love me!
Hearing His Voice in the Everyday
Over and over, we are taught that God is love and everything He does is loving. He tells us the greatest commandment is to love Him and then our neighbors. So of course, then, His voice is always tender, filled with compassion, and love. Even in His correction, God speaks in a gentle tone. We recognize God’s voice because it aligns with His character in the Bible.
“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”
(Romans 2:4, NLT)
When we hear a voice that is critical, cutting, and harsh, that’s not God. That’s the enemy. He is the accuser and liar. His main job is to lie to us about God and to convince us that our lack has separated us from God. The enemy will heap piles of shame on us and convince us to hide from God.
But God’s voice is ever calling us closer to Him.
That’s what I felt that day, with my three-year-old. A gentle correction and an invitation to love Caleb as God loves him. A pause in the anger to listen for Love.
We don’t meet with God each day because we have to. We commune with Him so we can experience His love. The motive is not duty, it’s devotion. We cultivate our relationship with God by spending time with Him, because we love Him and want to hear His heart on all matters of our lives. And because I’d met with God in quiet times, He also spoke into that much louder moment with my son.
When we carry our connection with God throughout our day, and desire to hear His voice any time, He’s free to speak correction, compassion, wisdom — and yes, love.
Oh, may we hear Him louder each day, to hear His love for us and for others in all of those holy, everyday moments.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE prayer resource that will guide you through meeting with God in prayer, called, “Closer: Five Postures to Hear Him Louder."
Learn more about each of these five postures:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens in January and June. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Pamela is an enthusiastic encourager with a passion to speak, write, and coach. She believes all of life flows from our intimacy with God. She helps weary Christian women build a deep bond with God and understand His love.
Pamela’s favorite way to connect with her readers is through her monthly Be[Loved] Notes newsletter and her weekly blogs. If you’d like to receive some love in your inbox, hop on over to her website, and sign up for the good stuff. You can find her on Instagram.
Pamela lives in the midwest and is married to her Pastor. They have five adult children and two grandsons and celebrated 33 years of marriage in October.