Proverbs 31 Womans Devotional - Encouragement for Today

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Encouragement for Today - Jan. 18, 2008

January 18, 2008


The Gift of Listening

By Renee Swope


“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.”
Psalm 17:6 (NLT)


I was recently reading a book in bed when I heard my husband calling our dog to come get her treat. He was actually luring Chelsea, our thirteen-year-old daschund, to her doggie bed.

Daisy, our beagle, was already outside doing her business, anticipating the reward of a doggy biscuit if she obediently came back inside and went to her bed. However, Chelsea was sound asleep in her chair; and nothing was going to get her to budge. Not even the promise of a bedtime treat.

I wondered if Chelsea had perfected her “selective hearing” skills, knowing it was time for bed, or if she's going deaf. I had a feeling it was the latter.

Once the dogs were tucked in bed, we laughed about how Chelsea used to hear every little thing. If the wind blew a leaf outside our front door, she barked.

Andrew my 10-year old came to my bedside to kiss me goodnight. With a concerned look in his eyes he said, “Mom, I hope when you get old you don’t go deaf like Chelsea.”

I laughingly told him that when I’m as old as Chelsea, it might be good if I can’t hear everything. She gets a lot more sleep than she used to, and I love to sleep. She also doesn’t hear when we laugh at her, and it might be good if I don’t hear jokes them laughing at me either.

My light-hearted response didn’t wipe the concern off his brow, so I asked why he was afraid I won’t be able to hear him.

"Well, sometimes you don’t hear me now. Like when you're on the computer and I ask you a question, sometimes you don’t hear me.” He answered without hesitation.

Ouch! I was not expecting that answer. I almost plunged into a "bad mommy" moment. My child thinks I can't hear him. I thought. I felt really bad because although I may be deeply distracted, I know that I hear him but I don’t always listen.

Instead of defining that moment with guilt, I pulled Andrew close to me and told him I was sorry for not listening sometimes.

I didn’t want him to fear that old age might make it worse. So, I explained how me being on the computer is similar to when he’s watching a good movie or playing video games. I reminded him how he gets so involved that’s it almost like he’s in another world and sometimes doesn't hear other noises, like me calling him for dinner. He nodded with a smile.

Then I made a promise I want to keep. “Andrew,” I said, "I am going to try really hard to stop what I am doing when you come to me, look away from my computer and really listen to what you’re saying. You're more important than anything I do on the computer. What you have to say matters to me!”

Today’s verse reflects our longing for God to hear us. It reminds me that in the same way I go to God because I want Him to listen and answer me; my child and others come to me because they want me to listen to them.


That night God showed me a valuable gift I can give to my children, my husband, friends, co-workers and even strangers. I can give the gift of listening by simply stopping what I’m doing, and giving my full attention to them when I hear them speak to me.

Lord, thank You for listening to me. Please help me be a better listener. It’s easy to hear with one ear while the other is turned toward my computer, the television or my cell phone. I want to give the gift of listening this year. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

Living and Leaving a Legacy, 2 part DVD Conference Message by Renee Swope


Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child, Character Chart & Message on CD
by Renee Swope


Renee’s Blog


Love the One’s You’re With, a free devotional by Renee Swope

Application Steps: 

Make a list of those you want to give the gift of listening to. Tell them your want to be more like Jesus by devoting your full attention to them when they’re talking. Ask them to help you.


Here are some ideas I am trying to implement:

  • Turn off my cell phone in the evenings
  • Limit email to one hour each morning and evening at home
  • Delay answering the phone during dinner and family time
  • Turn away from my desk at work when someone comes to talk with me
  • I’ve asked my kids to come to my side and jokingly say, “Chelsea? Chelsea?” after a few failed attempts to get my attention. This is a fun way for us to keep it light while helping me realize when I’m not listening.



When I talk to God, do I realize that He’s listening with His full attention?

When someone is talking to me, do I stop what I’m doing and turn my full attention to them? How can I be a better listener?


Power Verses:

Psalm 54:2,Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth." (NIV)

Psalm 66:16
, “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” (NIV)

Luke 2:46, “After three days they found him [Jesus] in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” (NIV)



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