Do you ever have one of those days when you think or hear something and then several times throughout the day you are reminded of that thought from various outside forces? This happens to me pretty frequently and I know I’m not alone in choosing to refer to these times as “God-incidences” rather than coincidences.
Even when we are not purposefully listening, He’s calling out to us, beckoning us to hear His voice and give heed to His calling. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in day to day living that I don’t recognize His voice and go about my business as usual. Until….a day like today when His voice is unmistakable. Please allow me to explain.
I’m tired. I’ve worked extra hours this week already. I always feel a bit overwhelmed this time of year with Mark’s extended hours that go to 7 days a week from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Pretty much all of the holiday prep falls on me, on top of the usual running of a home, school, family, and part-time job.
Mark was already gone this morning when I woke up but Toby was by my side, having joined us sometime in the night after a bad dream. My first thought of the day began with all of the to-do’s I need to check on and accomplish today and tomorrow to prepare for the kids’ Christmas program at church and then went onto all of the Christmas preparations that are still left to do, wrapping, baking, making, etc.
Toby snuggled up closer to me and sighed. As quick as those thoughts of anxiety and dread entered my mind, they were gone with that child’s touch and heart bursting with love at my side. As our hearts(and morning breath, whewww) mingled I was overcome with the appreciation and love of times like that. Time that nearly seems to stand still. The quiet time. Very clearly I heard His voice, “Protect the quiet.” As I began to pray I promised to do just that. To ensure that we take time during this hurried, noisy, busy season to be still and trust in His promise. To be quiet and listen to what He longs to say to us. To remember that on that night when He was born, all was calm.
I reached over and grabbed one of my morning devotions, I have few by my bed. Stay with me, this is significant. Most days I read 2 or 3 of them. Today I grabbed the one I usually read last and thought that I’d just do that one. This is it:
It’s simple but profound, deep but doable. The moment I began to read today’s entry I realized why I felt that one would be enough. It read:
Think: “Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world that passes like a shadow.” St. Clare of Assisi
Pray: Infant Lord, the world becomes noisier and noisier as we approach your birthday. Help me to remember that infants are best appreciated in the quiet.
Act: Reserve a half hour of quiet for yourself today. Fix a cup of something warm and curl up with the Bible or an Advent book. Read or don’t–the important thing is the quiet. Listen. Jesus is speaking.
Huh. Isn’t that something? I was just chatting with Jesus about that. Interesting.
As I make my way out of bed with kids needing things and the business of the morning on us, I gave thanks and looked forward to our quiet time today. See, we have quiet time every day after lunch for 30-45 minutes, sometimes even an hour. The kids each go to their own rooms to read, draw, rest, or play quietly. I typically rush around cleaning the kitchen and preparing for whatever we need to go and do in the afternoon. My quiet time, though mentally quiet, is physically loud. Today I vow to “protect the quiet” of mind, soul and body.
So, I talked to the kids about having a quiet morning. They agreed to play a little quieter, to speak softly and to help me protect the quiet as we wait in “joyful hope of the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ”. During our private quiet time today, I will be quiet, and listen.
As I sat down to check my emails, just before I started writing this, I found one I had been meaning to read from the wonderful crew at Simply Charlotte Mason. As you can probably guess, it was about basically the same thing I have been thinking about all morning. It is well worth the read and reinforced the need to preserve the peace. Charlotte Mason herself even recognized that “There is a shade of anxiety in the mother’s face as she plans for the holidays. The brunt of domestic difficulties falls, necessarily, upon her” (Vol. 5, p. 109).
From Simply Charlotte Mason:
“But in typical Charlotte fashion, she went on to give a suggestion that can restore balance and refresh our spirits so we can once again see the delightful aspects of the holidays. She urged mothers to try to arrange for some quiet time of “rest for body and mind, and for such spiritual refreshment as may be, to prepare them for the exhausting (however delightful) strain of the holidays” (Vol. 5, p. 110).”
Wow. Maybe this is God’s version of yelling at me. Regardless, His persistence has worked.
The kids are speaking in whispers and enjoying the challenge of living quietly today. As for me, I think I’ll pour another cup of coffee and sit a while to crochet. I hope you will find your own way to protect the quiet today.