Vet The Voices

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As a new mom, I constantly find myself bending the ear of more seasoned mothers than I. How did you handle sleep training? What brand of diapers worked for your little? Is this rash normal? Thank God for veteran moms that help newbies like me.

Not only is it instinctive and natural to ask others for advice, it is Biblical. (I knew I was on to something!) King Solomon wrote that in a multitude of counsellors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14) There have definitely been seasons of life where I've needed a multitude of counsellors - my college days, my dating years and this time of early motherhood - to name a few. I am thankful for voices that have helped to guide me when my own lack of experience left me indecisive.

Where we can stumble is when we forget to put this passage of King Solomon's in context. King Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs attempting to lead a younger generation in the pursuit of wisdom. In reference to a "multitude of counsellors," he was therefore referring to wise counsel. It is not a case of quantity over quality.

We see Solomon's own son, Rehoboam, fall into the trap of taking in a multitude of counsel from the wrong advisors in the book of 1 Kings 12. Listening to the advice of his peers over the wisdom of his elders, caused Rehoboam to lose 10 of his nation's 12 tribes to a rival kingdom.

What can I, as a young wife and mother learn from Rehoboam's lack of judgement? In a world where everyone with a free blog site and knack for writing can be an expert, how can I filter through the noise and ensure I'm guarding my heart?

Do not ask people for directions to places they have never been.

There was a married couple that often gave me relationship advice. One day, I realized that I did not admire the manner in which they treated each other. I was not willing to one day have a marriage that reassembled their own, so why would I let them influence my decisions regarding relationships? I can not receive influential advice from people who have never been where I am going.

Ask for advice from people that have "skin in the game."

There are individuals that have given of their life to benefit my own. My parents, my pastor, and spiritual advisors that have loved me for decades. I want to give weight to the voices of my life's "investors" - those that will feel my successes and failures much more deeply. Those are the voices that will tell me the truth, even when it is not something I want to hear. My success is theirs as well. My failures hurt their hearts. They have a personal stake in my choices.

Listen to THE voice.

It is almost a reflex, isn't it? I'm having a bad day, so I pick up the phone and call my bestie. But how often do I instinctively drop to my knees and speak to the Lord? How often do I listen? John 10:27 says that we can hear the voice of our Shepherd and follow. And when His audible voice is silent, I can go to his voice on the page. Psalms 11:105 says His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. When my path seems dark and my footing unsure, His Word will ALWAYS shed light on the situation.

When it is all said and done, I have a responsibility to "vet the voices," helping to guide my thinking and influencing my choices. Perhaps not every voice deserves clout in my life. Perhaps not every blogger is credible. Perhaps not every Instagram influencer is trustworthy. We need spiritual awareness to the noise we hear through social media, entertainment, our friends and work environments. Let us live alert and pray for discretion as to what opinions we allow to seep into our daily living. Most of all, let us live listening for the voice of our Shepherd.

The Tiny, Big Gift

We were little girls with the big dream of owning our very own "Toys R Us" Pioneer Barbie doll. At the time, our parents were home missionaries and could not afford to buy my little sister and I the toys. Instead, they suggested we take our allowance of 25 cents a week and save up for them. So we did just that.

Each week we would fill empty Gerber baby food jars with our coins. Soon enough we had quite a collection of change, and the promise of those coveted toys was within our reach.

However, one Wednesday evening our church had a visit from missionaries to Honduras. I remember hearing the burden of that family and being pricked in my heart as a little child, sensitive to God's spirit. When the plea for financial support went across the pulpit, my little sister and I turned our wide eyes towards mom. We wanted to give all of the change we had saved up, to those missionaries.

During the offering, our little feet ran to the church parsonage we called home. Minutes later, the lids from those petite glass jars were twisted off and the sound of clinking pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters was heard as they slid into the offering plate. My mother wept.

How could two tiny girls with such a tiny offering, give so much? We went home that night with no chance of getting our toys.

But God has a way of rewarding the innocent heart. The following Sunday, it was service as usual. My father studied in his office and then locked the door on his way out. When service had been dismissed, my entire family convened to his study as was our custom. Dad took out his keys and turned the big door knob. As we walked in, our eyes all shifted to see two white envelopes lying on his desk. With a bewildered look on his face, Dad reached out his hand and opened one of the mysterious letters.

Inside? Two "Toys R Us" giftcards in the exact amount we needed to purchase those Pioneer Barbie Dolls. To this day, we do not know who did such a loving act for two, small girls. My parents had not told a single soul about the incident. I still believe it was an angel.

Years later, I now realize what God was teaching us in that destiny moment. It is not that God wants to strip you of your dreams. It is simply that in the process of fulfilling them, He wants to know if you trust Him enough to put your little jar of coins in His hands... He wants to take us on a faith journey.

2 Corinthians 1:20 - For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

So what is the "Barbie" in your life? Is it the dream of a happy marriage? An illustrious career? A ministry opportunity? Whatever your hope may be, I want to encourage you to place it in God's hands. It does not mean it will never happen. Quite the contrary, my sweet friend. It just means that one day, not only will your dreams come to pass... but you will have a beautiful faith story to share in addition.