Debbie Salter Goodwin
The Girl and the Window Fan
My bedroom was on the second floor of our two-story, traditional Kansas City house where I grew up. We didn’t have central air, but I had a window fan. Often at night, before turning into bed, I stood in front of that fan, an awkward, hopeful, insecure teenage girl and cried because no one would hear me over the whir of the blades.
That is, no one except God.
I can’t tell you how I knew that, but I did. I knew that God was listening. I poured out my heart to him, my angst about feeling like a misfit, my fears that no dream would ever come true for me and that, just like no one ever chose me for any team, no one would ever choose me for anything else, including dating and marriage.
One day as I was flipping through the King James Bible, (this was before there were translations that brought Bible language into my century) and the words of this Psalm literally grabbed me:
I love the Lord, because He has heard
my voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
therefore I will call upon Him
as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1-2, KJV)
There it was, confirmation that every silent thought, every heart-deep hope, every misplaced push to be accepted, everything I didn’t like about my clunky self; God heard . . . with compassion. I knew it like I knew day came before night. I knew it in a tangible, present-in-the-moment way.
That truth anchored my life in a way that superseded acceptance, dating, good grades, or anything my teenage heart longed for. God was my safe place, my center, my map.
It’s one thing to know someone is listening to everything you think and say; it’s another thing to wait for a response. I always expected God to respond to me after He listened. It wasn’t about getting some spectacular movie moment when wall-flower Debbie was somehow transformed into someone everyone noticed and wanted to be friends with.
I’m not sure God spoke to me in sentences; He spoke in Presence. I knew He loved me where I hurt. I knew He wouldn’t leave me there by myself. I can’t explain how that was enough, but it was. I also knew that what made it prayer was not my cries, but God’s response.
I learned to wait for His response.
Today, The Living Translation has updated my King James:
I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!
Sometimes I am still that teenage girl standing in front of the fan, crying my heart out to God. God still responds. He comes like a gentle breeze, a warm hug, and His Presence settles me. His Presence is my answer before any circumstance changes. I know He “hears my voice.” I know “he bends down to listen.” Because of this anchoring truth, “I will pray as long as I have breath!”
What verse taught you that God heard you? How did you know? Leave a comment to encourage another pilgrim who needs to know what you have learned.
Sharing the journey!