When Joshua was little, it was very hard to understand him when he talked. He had this little mouth and this big, ol' tongue...it was just hard. From the time he was a few months old, we...Mrs. Martha, the therapists at the school and I...began to teach him some simple sign language along with working on his speech. Words like "more" (one of his favorites), "candy," "cookie," "juice." We would say the word and sign it at the same time...and he would do the same. So, he would say, "moh," for "more" and do the sign...and "dooooooosh" (I KNOW) for "juice" and do the sign.
One thing he started saying often was "eee-woh-tay." We had NO CLUE what it meant, and there was no "sign" that went along with it...but we would repeat it after him...just the way he said it.
Oh, we tried to figure out what it meant...we just never could.
Until one day.
Jim and I got new bedroom furniture when I was pregnant with Holly...right before she was born. She and Joshua are 2 years and 9 months apart, so he was pretty little. One of the things we bought was a 4-poster bed. Joshua came in our room one day and started climbing up one of the posts. He was a little monkey...always climbing on something. And he had NO FEAR whatsoever.
I was on my way over to get him down and I said, "Joshie, hold on tight!"
Joshua just smiled real big and said, "eee-woh-tay!"
HOLD ON TIGHT.
After thinking about it, I realized that most of the times that I heard him say "eee-woh-tay," we were in the car...which may say something about my driving! Eeek!
This particular experience has stayed with me all these years...why? I guess because it was through things like this that I learned to listen. I mean, reallllly listen. I had to use all of my senses to figure out what Joshua was saying or needing, and that has helped me listen in other situations. So many times, God is telling me something and I just don't "get" it. Maybe I'm not listening. Or maybe I am, but just can't figure it out.
God used experiences like these to teach me how to listen for the words that aren't said. The hurt under the "I'm fine's," and the fear under the "whatever...I don't care."
I spent a lot of time getting to know Joshua...his moods, his fears, his speech...I watched his face, his eyes, his movements. I watched him breathe while he was sleeping. I could tell what he was thinking when he couldn't even say the words. I could tell if he was sick before I even took the thermometer out of the drawer. How? Because I KNEW him...
That's how it is when we love someone that much...that's how God loves me. He knows everything about me...He made me.
The goal is for me to know GOD...intimately...to spend as much time getting to know Him, as I would spend getting to know my husband or my child or a dear friend...
And when I know Him like that, I will hear His voice...and I will know what He's saying.
"My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me." John 10:27