Some lessons in life are learned the hard way; this was one of them for me.
My plan...was to throw a load of laundry in and rush out the door in order to be on time for an appointment. The laundry basket was fuller than it needed to be and of course I had topped it off with a few things that needed to be brought downstairs.
"Debbie, the basket is too full, lighten the load."
I recognized His voice and I knew He was right however, this time, I answered in my heart...
"I've got it. I can handle this load."
As I rushed my way down the steps and through the kitchen I heard His still small voice again.
"Debbie, slow down, you are moving too quickly."
(To which I replied- "I've got it." I did not slow down.)
Rounding the corner and entering the laundry room my left hand smashed into the door jam...this time I was forced to stop! I looked down to my now smarting hand to make sure all my rings were intact. I have this habit of moving a ring from my right hand to my left when I am trying to remember something and on this given day, I had four rings on my left ring finger. All stones accounted for...and off I went to throw in the load and start my day.
Sometimes the consequences of our disobedience don't show up until later.
Life over the next two days went on business as usual. I don't even recall looking at my rings other than a cursory glance. Unbeknownst to me, my hand to wall smashing had produced some damage to three out of the four rings on my hand: my engagement ring's prongs had been shifted around, my wedding ring which wraps around had been pulled out of position and the diamond and sapphire ring that my husband had purchased for me on my first Mother's Day, had prongs that had been loosened.
Two days later, my daughter-in-law reached out to me. She had had a strange dream during the night where she kept feeling the need to check her prongs on her engagement ring. She even sent me a picture of her ring. She wasn't sure what the dream meant and thought she would run it by me. I acknowledged her dream but "nothing struck me."
God may attempt to speak again to your heart through another person.
When you don't listen to the Lord's still small voice you are less likely to recognize
His voice when He speaks through others.
On the third day I was out to dinner with a friend and my mother's day ring scraped me. The middle sapphire, the largest stone, was gone. The prongs were intact, although this time, I noticed that they appeared to be pulled further apart than before.
Disobedience opens a door to sin; slightly opened doors are easier to push wide open.
I was heartbroken. I am very sentimental and this ring was a special reminder of my three week old son I was holding that Mother's day. We never found the stone. Sure, we could replace it...but it would never be...that same stone.
I was frustrated with myself- "If I had just listened!"
That night I heard His voice one more time-
"Debbie, check ALL of your rings."
This time...I listened.
I discovered that the engagement diamond had movement because two of the six prongs had shifted, leaving a whole side of the diamond exposed. My wedding band had been bent out, leaving those stones vulnerable too. I immediately removed and bagged all three rings and made an appointment at the jewelers.
I now have all four rings on my fingers again, a new sapphire in its place and all the prongs repositioned and built up again.
Some lessons in life are costly-this was one of them.
Proverbs 4: 20-23 says...
"My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one's whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
God will work through our failures to really teach us valuable life lessons.
Let me share my "lessons learned":
*"My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words."
Learning to recognize the still small voice of the Holy Spirit is critical for every believer. His words may come to you as a thought that just "pops" into your head unexpectedly. His words will never contradict what He has already said in His Word, the Bible and the way He speaks to you is never out of His character of love.
He may speak to you through another believer who knows how to hear His voice.
He will speak to you through His written Word.
He may speak to you through a worship song or through His creation.
He DOES speak, the question is...am I paying attention and always ready to hear Him?
* "Don't let them out of your sight"
Ignoring what the Lord is saying to you is dangerous. He is a loving Father whose heart is aways for our good. When we ignore His word of caution or His instruction, we are missing out on His protection and His provision.
*Disobedience to His voice makes me vulnerable.
My prongs became weakened because I ignored His cautionary words. Although I did not lose those stones immediately, my rings became susceptible to more loss. It did not take another "big smash" for the sapphire to fall out. My engagement diamond would have been the next casualty.
Sometimes when we ignore God, we think that there are no consequences. We "got away" with something.
Satan loves to encourage that thinking.
*"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Our attention to and our obedience to the Holy Spirit's still small voice is what helps guard our hearts. Our commitment to studying the Word of God and hiding it in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) are like the prongs around a diamond. They protect the treasure of that relationship. When He speaks to you, remember that He is FOR you and not against you.
So today, I encourage you, check your prongs.
How protected is your heart?
Listen to His still small voice. Hide His Word in your heart.
Choose to obey.
Protect your treasure!