A little girl once sat in her bedroom and prayed to God.
“What do you want me to be when I grow up?” she asked.
God was quiet. Confused, the little girl thought that maybe she hadn’t heard God because she hadn’t prayed hard enough. So she prayed again. Still, the receiving end of her prayers was silent.
Several years went by, and the girl grew into a teenager. She was sad because she had just moved away from all her friends to a new home in a different state. Who was she without friends?
Reluctantly, the teenager clasped her hands together and prayed.
“What do you want me to do NOW?” she asked.
As before, God was quiet. This time, the teenager threw up her hands.
“FINE! If you won’t answer me, I’ll figure things out on my own,” she said.
The teenager grew into a young woman who had her college diploma. She was also a newlywed. She had a new car and a new apartment. She even had a new job. The woman had worked hard to be where she was at.
She had no desire to pray.
A year later, the woman moved with her husband to a new home in a different state. Although she had left her friends behind, she had a hot new job awaiting her. Work became her sole focus.
One day while driving her car, she heard a voice inside her head.
“Pray,” it said to her.
Undeterred, the woman ignored the voice and kept driving. She didn’t hear anything after that.
A few years passed by, and the woman discovered she was going to be a mom. She was happy about the baby but scared about how her life could change with a little one to take care of.
Again, the voice in her head spoke its one word.
This time, the woman listened, but she couldn’t bring herself to clasp her hands in prayer as she once did as a child. Her prayers hadn’t been heard before, she thought, so why would they be heard now?
Once the baby was born, the woman surprised herself by having few of the worries she once had. Being a mom felt natural. Nothing else—not a college degree or a new job or even friends—compared to the feeling of euphoria when she held her baby boy.
The voice inside her head spoke, but the new mom was too consumed with her new role to listen.
After that, the voice stopped talking. Or so the mom thought. Unbeknownst to her at the time, the woman’s ability to hear was taken away once her child was born.
Day and night, all she heard was the sound of ringing inside her head. A doctor told her this was tinnitus—a condition common with hearing loss.
The mom was going deaf.
As the years went on, the ear ringing continued. And so did the hearing loss.
One night, unable to sleep and exhausted with worry and fear, she pressed her face into her pillow and prayed one word.
She didn’t hear anything, just the same loud ringing that filled her ears day and night. The woman cried.
When she finally fell asleep, she dreamt that her hearing loss was gone. She could have a conversation with her husband and hear her child’s voice without any struggles.
Elated, she woke up only to hear the same thing inside her head. Ear ringing.
This time, instead of worrying about what she couldn’t hear, she focused on what she could do. The mom grabbed her child and held him close to her. If she held the little one next to her ear, she could feel the child’s breath. It was soft and sweet.
The mom and child stepped outside and felt the spring sunshine warm their faces. Although the mom couldn’t hear the birds overhead chirping, she could see them fluttering about in an old oak tree behind her home. The birds were various colors—canary yellow, fire engine red, sky blue.
With her child now old enough to walk, the mom let the little boy scamper ahead of her while she stayed behind and watched the birds. She reveled in their brilliant colors and how they effortlessly moved from limb to limb.
Then, the mom heard something odd coming from up high in the tree.
She strained to hear this noise above her; it competed with the sound of ringing in her ears. But she definitely heard something.
It was singing. The birds were singing.
She hadn’t been able to hear them singing for so long, and now she could. Overjoyed, the mom clasped her hands together. She prayed a simple “Thank you.”
The birds soared out of the tree, bursting into a symphony of song and filling the sky with their rainbow color. As the birds performed their dance overhead, the mom gazed again at her child walking ahead. The little boy toddled along with a peaceful smile on his face.
The mom felt God’s love shining down on her and inside of her. She felt love.
In that moment, she heard God’s voice say to her, “I am here.”