Wow. Your response to the series on listening has been amazing. I’ve read every comment, email, and social media post that you’ve sent, and I’m encouraged. We’re in this together!
But I’m certainly new to this, and I’m learning from so many others. In the upcoming weeks, I’m going to let you listen (see how I did that?) to some other voices with more experience. These are friends that I trust with additional resources for our growth as we learn to listen.
There will be lots of new thoughts and giveaways too, so make sure to read to the end and comment to enter!
Today, I’d like you to welcome my sweet friend and valued agent, Blythe Daniel, and her mother/co-author, Helen McIntosh. Today’s post is an excerpt from their wonderful book, Mended: Restoring the Heart of Mothers & Daughters.
(At no additional cost to you, this post contains affiliate links that help maintain the site. Click here for my full disclosure.)
There’s a dance between mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, husbands and wives. Do you bite your lip to listen or go for it? Sometimes we don’t know what to say to each other when there have been hurt feelings, time or space, or something more serious between you. What do you say exactly?
Part of being wise is knowing when to speak. Silence can be golden, but not if we are mute at the wrong time. We don’t want to talk too much, but we don’t want to seem uncaring by our silence. You have probably seen wonderful dramatizations of people consoling one another without words, and it’s beautiful. But at the right time, speak some words, and I am suggesting a very gentle sentence or two for starters. Even if you have been verbally put down or assaulted, you will want to regain your confidence to voice your thoughts by even speaking just a few appropriate sentences. Especially after a grievous loss or change, it’s helpful for the other one to say, “I am so sorry for what you are walking through. I don’t know what to say but I hurt for you/with you.” Another really good thing to say when you don’t know what to say is, “How do you see me helping you? What do you need that I can do for you?”
You may have just winced at that question. Do something for someone whom you feel awkward around because of the issues surrounding you, or for someone who perhaps doesn’t seem like she even wants you to bring up a conversation with her? Remember, your job is to ask. To initiate conversation. If she can’t accept your help, then you have at least asked. You can’t force yourself in, but you can offer. It may be the opening thread that helps tie your relationship together at some point down the road that you can’t see right now.
Have you prayed about the timing of your message? Often, right at the onset of pain, it’s hard to hear another person and you can mistakenly turn them away because you are really only thinking of yourself and your situation at the time. You might ask yourself, “Is my mother or daughter ready for me to have this conversation with her? Is it more about me wanting to get off my chest, or do I sense this would be helpful for her right now?” Make sure your need to talk isn’t more important than your mother’s or daughter’s need to hear it. It needs to be equally helpful and timely for both of you.
You will want to also pray for the hearer of your words, and for God to consecrate and bless your time. Your ability to sense how the conversation is going is a big part of talking and inviting yourself into the other’s life in that moment. You may come prepared to ask one thing, but have other words prepared so that you don’t feel at a loss for words and then resort to frustration or anger. You’ll want to pray before and after your conversation so that what you discuss is sealed and affirmed under the covering of the Lord Jesus and so that neither of you can deny His power in your conversation when doubt may want to creep in after your exchanges.
A great skill for families is listening well to one another. Hearing one another and hearing from God helps us replay to our loved ones in a wise and peaceful way. We need to be excellent listeners to words and hearts, and hearing from God for our replay is the greatest gift we can receive and the fruit we cultivate to offer others. God has encouraged us to listen well to others and listen to Him as he leads our hearts to respond.
From Mended: Restoring the Hearts of Mothers and Daughters, by Blythe Daniel and Dr. Helen McIntosh, 2019, Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. Copyright 2019 by Blythe Daniel and Dr. Helen McIntosh.
Giveaway: Leave a comment telling one way listening has helped you OR one tip recommended by Blythe and Helen that you’ll try. Your comment will enter you in a random drawing for a copy of their new book, Mended: Restoring the Heart of Mothers & Daughters.
Blythe Daniel is a literary agent and marketer with 20 plus years of experience in publishing. She has written for Christian Retailing and Focus on the Family, and she links bloggers with readers through BlogAbout. The daughter of Dr. Helen McIntosh, she lives in Colorado with her husband and three children.
Dr. Helen McIntosh (EdD, Counseling Psychology) is a counselor, speaker, educator, and author of Messages to Myself and Eric, Jose & The Peace Rug®. Her work has appeared in Guideposts, ParentLife, and HomeLife magazines. She resides in Georgia with her husband Jim. They have two children and five grandchildren. For more information, visit www.ourmendedhearts.com