I stopped and looked around my kitchen for a moment, overwhelmed with joy at what I was seeing. About fifteen women, a few of whom I was very close with, some I had never met before that night, were gathered around my kitchen island. The volume was loud as multiple little conversations had formed, and the laughter was contagious. We ate snacks, hung out, and for the first time ever, just stood around and got to know one another. These were moms from my neighborhood, women I smiled at and waved to each day, but didn’t know. Until that night.
It all started a few months back when I realized my birthday was approaching and decided I wanted to celebrate somehow. The problem was, I didn’t know how to do that. I have a few close friends, but they don’t know each other so trying bring those groups together might be awkward. And trying to arrange a dinner out or something like that felt hard and again, who would I invite? As I considered it, the Lord gave me an idea, and I ran with it. Instead for having a party for myself, I was going to have a Mom’s Night Out. I’d invite any mom’s of kids from our neighborhood school and instead of being bummed out that I didn’t have more close friends, I would step out and start making some.
With a ton of fear and a lot of hesitation, I sent out an evite to the few women whose email addresses I knew, and waited. To my utter surprise, people wanted to come. In fact, the small number I had invited grew as other women invited their neighbors. They were excited! And on that night when everyone arrived at my house, a beautiful picture of community emerged. We laughed, talked, shared, but most of all, we connected.
In the midst of planning this and following the Lord’s lead, I received a package in the mail. Karen Ehman’s book Listen, Love, Repeat had shown up and, man, was the timing perfect. The book, subtitled Other-centered Living in a Self-centered World, is a beautiful invitation to listen to the hearts, not just the words of the people you are with, and by doing so, love them well.
Listen, Love, Repeat
Listen, Love, Repeat is an amazing book; one I would highly recommend. In it, Karen teaches about the importance of living alert and listening for what she calls “heart drops.” Heart drops are those tiny moments when what a person is really going through peeks out and you get a glimpse of their heart. It’s those tiny phrases of deep need or longing or joy or pain. Moments when you can really see what it is they need. Heart drops form the subtext of what a person is saying and get to the heart of what they are feeling.
Listening for heart drops is a skill, one that Karen teaches well in this book. It takes practice and selflessness. It takes prayer. It takes time. But when you learn to love other people more than yourself, when you take the time to hear what they are going through, and learn to act on that, you will start experiencing immense joy. We will also start to see lives changed and the love of the Lord go out. Living like this lets us see God moving and gives us the blessing of joining him in that.
What I Loved
The Stories. In her book, Karen fills the pages with personal stories of God moving through the simple act of listening. Stories of families gathered together, moments with chocolate and friends, and times she connected with people on a heart level all because she made an effort to listen (or they listened to her). I loved the personal touches, it made this an easy read and made me feel like I was one of those people seated around her table, sharing a cup of coffee and talking with an old friend.
The Bible. It wasn’t just anecdotes, though. She bathed every chapter in the truth of Scripture and reality that Jesus alone is our example of how to love by listening. He is the standard for learning how to put others first and he teaches us how to let go of our own personal agenda and just love people as he commanded us to. I really appreciated that this wasn’t just a self-help book with nice things to say but very little to back it up. Quite the opposite actually, it was rooted in the Bible and everything she said pointed us back to Christ. While I wouldn’t really call it an in-depth Bible study, it had enough scriptural basis to make it a good read for a small group.
The Tips. It was also very practical. She doesn’t ever leave you with a vague idea, but no way to carry it out. Every chapter ended with practical ideas to put into practice what she had just been talking about. Ways to carefully care for a grieving friend, ideas for hosting a large group dinner, and even little ways to show love to your family are all included. While not all of them will necessarily work for every reader, they do a really good job of highlighting the topic and helping you start thinking through ways to put it all into practice.
The Growth. Karen wrote this book with the expectation that you will leave changed, and that comes out over and over again. This is not a pithy read that you can put down and forget about, it is a book that gently calls you to action. One of the most direct ways she does this is with guided prayers at the end of each chapter. It was a very clear call to action and I really appreciated it
In my kitchen
That night in my kitchen, listening to women who had never met each other talk and encourage each other, was one of the best nights I’d had in a really long time. The gospel wasn’t shared out loud, but it was lived in a dramatic way and I was honored to have been a part of it. At the end of the night, many, if not all, of us had the distinct impression that friendships were being forged and we were on the way to doing life together. All night long I thought about what Karen had written and kept praying that I would live alert, that I would listen to the women I was with, and would love them well. I am so thankful for what she wrote and the way it encouraged me to reach out of my comfort zone, obey the Lord, and put others first.
I loved this book and want to share it with you too!
So, who want’s their own copy??? That is right! I have a full gift set to send to one of you….
Here is what it includes:
One copy of Listen, Love, Repeat, one Study Guide with the DVD, and one box of Hot Chocolate to share with someone in your life!
There are four ways to enter (pick one or all!):
Like my Facebook page then comment here letting me know.
Follow me on Twitter, then comment here to let me know.
Share this post on any of your social media platforms, then comment to let me know.
Comment bellow letting me know what your favorite thing to do for someone is, when you know they are going through a hard time (write a letter, send a meal, etc).
(Each comment counts as one entry, you can comment up to four times. So be sure to comment for each item you do!)
The contest will close on November 22nd. One winner will be chosen at random, I’ll announce the winner then and arrange to have your gift mailed to you!
*The Study guide with DVD will be shipped to me on November 29th. I will mail out the entire gift set once I receive it. I’m only able to ship within the continental United States.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Kim Mobley, she won the gift set!! I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I did. Hoping to do many more in the moths to come. Kim, I’ll be in touch to get you your gift set.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated are my own.