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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Concentration (07/24/08)

TITLE: The Voice
By Sarah Heywood
07/30/08


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The Voice

It seemed like during all my growing up years I was continually being told to “concentrate!” I was a bit of a dreamy child, so nobody should have been surprised by the constant admonitions from my teachers. My report cards always had comments on them like, “She is a nice child, but she needs to concentrate more on her schoolwork.” My mother, who is very practical and lives by the motto “dust should die” was continually frustrated by me because I didn’t concentrate on what she felt was important - namely, housework and schoolwork. Despite my inattention to those subjects, I did manage to reach adulthood, safely and wholly, held down a variety of jobs, kept a husband, and even reproduced several times.

And now, as a mother, I find myself increasingly telling my children to “concentrate!’ I wasn’t going to do that. If my kids were happier in their own little worlds, then so be it. But, I have taken on the task of home schooling them, and because of that, I feel a certain sense of obligation in actually getting them to learn things. Primarily, my admonitions are directed at my second son, who is autistic. It is a continual struggle to get him to focus on the task at hand, whether it be addition facts, or putting dishes in the dishwasher. Truly, I am not a schedule-crazy, housework-driven type of woman (trust me - just look (please don’t!) in my laundry room!) But I find myself imagining this child at 21, still having to be reminded that underwear should not stick above the pants once you’re dressed and that it is important to brush your teeth every single day and I get a little nervous! And then I start pleading with him to just concentrate! I bet he feels like I am nagging, much like I did with my own mom and schoolteachers.

At the same time that I am mothering, teaching and training my children, I am hearing another voice that isn’t my own. It too, is pleading with me to “concentrate”. When, finally, in the midst of my busyness, I stop to listen, I realize that it is the voice of God calling to me, speaking to my heart. He is saying, “Concentrate!” But, I don’t have time! Even when I do my daily (kind of) devotions I am usually just checking off the required things I need to do in order to have a right relationship with Him. I read my Bible - check. Then, I whip out my prayer journal and recite my written requests to him, along with the reminder that I really do need a bigger house! And prayer time is done - check. Then I’m off to my day of running errands, home schooling, disciplining, cleaning, paying the bills, feeding the baby, checking my email, cooking, and hanging out the laundry. But then I hear that voice asking me to please, please, concentrate. I can only ignore the voice for so long. I sigh, but attempt to do as I am asked.. But what do I concentrate on? And God whispers, “On me.’ When was the last time that I was solely focused on God? I don’t know. It seems like my life has been so chaotic for so long that there just hasn’t been time. Ideally, I could do it during church, but it seems like then, if I’m not in the nursery, I am spending time separating my fighting boys and handing out gum and ink pens. I don’t have the answer yet for exactly how I am to concentrate more fully on God, but I am beginning to think that it has more to do with an attitude than a set time. I think He wants more of me than the 15 minutes that I give him in the bedroom first thing in the morning. I think He wants my focus and concentration to be on Him even when I am in the middle of my crazy days. And maybe they would seem a little less hectic if I did this! I don’t know - it’s just a hunch. But I do know one thing. Every time I admonish my son to “concentrate” during his days I am going to remember that God is asking me to do the same. Maybe we’ll both start listening one of these days.


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Sara Harricharan 08/01/08
Very encouraging, reads like a slice of life type of devotional because there is a realistic tone and setting, along with everyday things and feelings that I can relate to. ^_^