Thursday, November 16, 2023



This morning was interesting. 

Before my feet even hit the floor, I was in prayer.  No revelations or epiphany this morning.  Just good, 'ole-fashioned prayer with the Lord.

I picked up my phone and went through a few old conversations, digging deep and going way back.

What I came away with was something gleaned.  Divine interference?  Maybe.  I really don't know.

I felt something stirring inside of me.  My heart seemed touched.  The question looming in my head was, "What can I do for you?"  And then, I thought - maybe God is trying to tell me something.

My brother told me this morning, after I shared my morning prayer time with him, that we, as Italians, have a common trait we need to be constantly working on.  We talk.  In fact, we probably talk too much, to our detriment.  We need to be listening more.  

I think that while I have always been listening, maybe my heart was not in the right place or where it needed to be during past conversations. Several questions flooded to my heart this morning while I prayed and read those old conversations.

"How can I do better for you?" "What do you need from me?"  "What can I do to help you?"

As I listened and read, I saw that my responses in the conversations were plentiful and long.  But the person's responses with whom I was in conversation with were short and often shared what they needed from me or what was missing.  

I thought I had been listening, but it looked like I was stampeding over my conversation partner.  My high emotions at the time had not yielded to the heart of the other person.  What I was accusing the other person of, I seemed to be guilty of as well.

My heart sunk as I scrolled through the old conversations.  So much could have been derailed if I had just actually answered those thoughts and feelings.  If I had just said, "I'm sorry. What can I do for you?" or "I'm sorry.  What do you need from me?"

Fast forward several hours and a conversation with my brother later.  Dog and cats fed.  Coffee brewed.  Opened up today's reading - from Billy Graham - and this is what I found waiting for me.  How does God always know what is coming down the line and prepares us and our hearts for it?

"The blind man, Bartimaeus, threw off his cloak and ran trembling to Jesus. 
And Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 
He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” 
In that moment as he said, “Lord,” his spiritual eyes were opened. And Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.” 
Notice—not your intellectual understanding, not your money, not your works—but your faith. Faith! That’s all it takes! 
Immediately Bartimaeus, who had been blind all of his life, began to open his eyes, and the first thing he saw was the face of Jesus. What an experience—to open one’s eyes and look straight into the strong, tender face of Jesus! 
Bartimaeus met Jesus, and the record says he “followed Jesus in the way.” When you go back to your business, or your home, or your neighborhood, or your friends, or your school, you don’t go alone. Christ goes with you.

Did you catch that?  Jesus said, "What do you want me to do for you?"

Maybe I did have a divine appt. and epiphany this morning after all!  God had been preparing and calling my heart to a new place before I even opened up Scripture.

He softly said, "Debbie.  I need you to stop talking and start listening. You are missing things."  Suddenly, my heart flooded with new emotion.  I had been missing this key part of living and relationships (I think) my entire life. It felt like a blurred view had suddenly come into focus.

To be honest, I've been praying a long time for change like this to come into my heart - I mean months, if not years.  I wasn't born with a "sweet" gene, and I've always been envious of those that had it.  What a wonderful feeling to finally "get it" and understand true empathy and love for others.

As I laid in bed praying and reading those conversations, things suddenly became clear.  I recalled conversations with our Principal at school, often talking to our staff about meeting students where they are.  Asking questions like, "What do you need from me?" and "What can I do to help you?"

I could hear his talks ringing in my head. Everything was clicking.

Then I heard that familiar still, small voice say, "Debbie. Now, I want you to extend an olive branch this morning."

Wait, what? You want me to act on this right now?  I thought we were just going to let me apply this to all future situations...You're kidding, right?

He continued, "Here's what I want you to do and it may not end like you want it to, but I want you to be brave, have courage, and reach out this morning.  I want you to tell someone that you hear them.  That you know what is important to them, and that you are asking, 'May I do this one thing for you? I know it means a lot to you, and I'd like to give this gift to you.'"

So, I did it.  I extended the olive branch.  Truth be told, I was hesitant before I did it, but I felt so sure it was God prompting me, I didn't dare resist.  I hit the Send button on my olive branch message and put my faith in God's plan.

I'm still a nervous, anxiety-ridden wreck at the moment and as I write this.  But I feel certain of the message God gave me early this morning. Regardless of the answer I receive, I know God has a plan and I followed through with what He asked me to do.

On a more positive note, I shared this experience with both my best friend and my brother.  I asked both of them for their opinion on my olive branch message.

Both were incredibly positive and said, "You did the right thing." To make it even better, both added, "That is a big thing I need to work on as well.  I don't listen as well as I should."

It is truly a hard thing to stop talking at times, especially when emotions are running high and we feel we have been run over or we want to get our point across.

But if we don't give any credence or yield to the other person in conversation, is it really a conversation?  We must listen to grow into the full person God intends us to be and to show other people we truly care about their thoughts and feelings.

Scripture is filled with commands to stop talking and actually listen.  There is also that old adage that says, "God gave you one mouth and two ears.  That means you should listen twice as much as you talk."

I believe my prayer time, olive branch message, and subsequent reading time this morning were a gift to me.  I was able to view past conversations in a new light and see how I may not have been truly listening to the other person. How I may have missed what their heart was trying to convey in that moment.

I want to change this.  I want the people I am closest to in my life to feel like they can share their thoughts and feelings with me and that they can trust me to listen and be available to them.  That I am listening to them.

I don't want my conversations to reflect only my thoughts and feelings or to only be a reflection of me; I want to listen in conversations and help others through their struggles as well.

That's why we are here, and that's how we show love best to those we love the most.

We serve a big and mighty God.  Change is always possible, and I want to be pliable clay in the Potter's hands.

Happy Thursday everyone, and remember - take the time to listen to those you love and to whom you are the closest with today.  It will change your life and theirs.



  1. Well WOW! Great inspiration this am. Sometimes I think I’m listening but in reality in my mind I’m already formulating a response. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I agree. That has been my problem as well. I feel God has been working on me the last few weeks with this. I feel it may be in preparation for something. I have to remember - like you - to stop formulating my reply and really listen to what the other person is saying. I want to be that person that really listens and cares! Thanks for leaving a comment!