The Beauty of Silence…

I’ve got a confession to make.  I’ve come to the realization that I think I’ve got a “frenemy.”  Maybe you too would be honest enough to admit that you have one of those in your life?  Both a friend and an enemy… the oxymoron of complicated relationships.  My frenemy, however, is not a person – but a spacial awareness in life that I find myself facing regularly and trying to battle through.  And that, my friends, is silence.

Silence is this awkward thing that not many of us seem to have much of these days.  This world is loud and clamors for our attention at every moment of every day.  From the constant invitations to connect that are coming to us all day long through our phones and social media, to the faster paced lifestyle that our grandparents never could have imagined, our calendars are full and so are our moments.  I’ve come to think it’s no wonder that when silence does present us with an invitation to sit with us for a while, it’s so easy to ignore it or push it away entirely.   It takes discipline, and I admire those people I’ve met who have developed that in this area.

I’m so guilty of pushing away the silence now more than ever.  Not only are my days currently full of work and parenting solo, but the little people in my home don’t really allow for me to have that much time to think quietly.  From the time their feet hit the ground in the morning, there are constant demands, giggles, and commentaries about their lives.  And when their feet get back into their beds at night, my mind is often so ready for some adult conversation, that a show or some time on social media is way more inviting to me than being quietly alone with my thoughts.  Furthermore, when you’ve been through grief and loss, thoughts may pop up at times that aren’t welcome where silence abounds, making that silence even a bit scary.

But recently, I started realizing what a disservice I was doing myself if I didn’t intentionally make time for quiet moments throughout my day.  I cannot be intentional about the way I live out my days if I don’t have time to think through the decisions I will make for those days.  I cannot move forward if I cannot have time to process the past.  I cannot reach my goals and dreams if I don’t have any time to think about why and when I want to accomplish them.  And most importantly, I cannot have enough time to spend with my Savior if I don’t allow silence to be a regular part of my day, where I can stop talking and just listen for His still small voice that isn’t often heard in the noise.

silence

Mother Teresa said, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”   

And so, I’m choosing to embrace the silence – even when it hurts, when it makes me feel isolated, and when it would be so much easier to keep drowning out.  Because if God is the friend of silence, then I need to make silence my friend too.

And after all, isn’t a friend way more fun to have along than a frenemy?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

New Year, New Word… or Not.

We’ve all just turned the page on another calendar year, and the wave of opportunity and fresh starts has hit us once again.  No matter how bad or how good 2016 turned out, it’s over – and we each have been blessed with a blank slate of another year to write on.  I know that at least for me, the realization that it’s once again the time of the year to reevaluate my life and goals has me focused on being more intentional.

I usually pray about a word for the year, and this year is no exception, but it came about a little differently this time around.  Ever since I finished Ann Voskamp’s new incredible book entitled The Broken Way, I’ve been contemplating this beautiful Greek word – anamnesis.

Image-1 (13)

 

This word is only found four times in Scripture, and each time it is mentioned, it is in reference to the sacrifice that Christ made that is “remembered” in the Last Supper. 1

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  -Luke 22:19

“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’”   -1 Corinthians 11:24-25

“But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.”  -Hebrews 10:3

Apparently, Plato used this word “anamnesis” to express a remembering that allowed it to be an integral part of the everyday – a sort of allowance of something from another world to penetrate this one.  Similar to the way we remember a person who is no longer with us by allowing their influence on our lives to direct the way we live as an inspiration, this sort of remembering carries with it a constant, continuous effect on our current world and circumstances.

When I read about this, and the impact this world of remembrance can make, I realized that this is how I want to live my one life well this year.  Because I don’t really need any new goals right now.  I’m pretty much a great goal setter anyway.  But I do need a much greater awareness this year of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice that should influence every word I say, every action I do, and every goal I may set this year.  And, this reminder frees me, because I know that the victory in His sacrifice and Resurrection has changed everything.  Christ has conquered death and is so very present with me.  He walks with me through everything that I face, good or bad.  This means that the way I choose to spend each day of 2017 is decided with the mindset that He is walking every single moment of every single day right there with me, helping me live because of His costly sacrifice on the cross.  And that Presence affects everything.

Exercise goals?  He’s there giving me the strength and willpower to push through.

Book lists to read through?  He’s there illuminating my eyes to see the words on those pages as more than just words, but reminders of His love that penetrate and change my heart.

Job responsibilities and/or changes?  He’s there giving me the wisdom to navigate each step and the stamina to fulfill whatever is required of me.

Healthy eating habits?  He’s there providing me with the self-control to refrain from what my body thinks it needs in the moment, but really doesn’t.

People I long to serve?  He’s there giving me the heart to have compassion on those He calls me to serve, to love even the seemingly unlovable.  The ability to put my feelings aside and become more like Him in the way I treat others.

Bucket list dreams?  He’s there giving me the mindset to dream big, no matter how small I feel that day.

You name it… He’s there.  His sacrifice now assures our victory, and His amazing love, grace,strength and incredible power helps us push through obstacles and tackle hard things.  And because of His presence, we know that anything we face, we don’t face alone.  We just have to keep remembering Him – both His sacrifice and His presence  – for He truly is the only reason we can live and move and even have our being.

So here’s to an amazing 2017!  Because when we know Who has gone before us, and then walks it out with us, the best truly is yet to come.

 

1 Voskamp, Ann. The broken way: a daring path into the abundant life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016. Print.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmailby feather

Thanksgiving blessings…

Just like that, another Thanksgiving is upon us.  (Does anyone else feel like this year flew by?) For those who have experienced loss, this can be such a bittersweet time of counting our blessings, yet feeling that ache of missing those no longer with us that churns in our hearts a little stronger around holidays.  We are definitely feeling it, but there is still so much to be grateful for, and I always want to try … {…Read More}

When the carving brings hope…

A few weeks ago, we sat down like so many other American families this time of year, to invest a night in the activity of carving pumpkins.  Now, you must understand that I make this incorrect assumption every year when we buy pumpkins and plan our carving night… that is, I tell myself that my kids are old enough to do the carving now.  I know.  Faulty.  But to justify my thoughts, my kids do … {…Read More}

The beauty of the slow brew…

I will never forget the way our house used to smell each morning after I brewed a pot of coffee. It wasn’t just any old brand of coffee, either. This was coffee made of rich Ethiopian beans that we would get through a company supporting fair trade and small business opportunities in developing countries. And, as an extra bonus, five dollars of every bag bought went to help fund our pending adoption. B never really enjoyed … {…Read More}

Why we should all keep walking…

I don’t know what it is about walking, but it’s really enjoyable for me. And I feel like I don’t do enough of it. Walking is an easy task in and of itself, but it can sometimes be laborious too. You can set out for a walk eager to get some exercise, and come back home exhausted due to the length of the walk you took. Of course, now that I’m trying to train for … {…Read More}

When birthdays become life lessons…

Calling all the mamas out there today… Yes, you, with the child you feel like you are constantly disciplining for the same old reason.  The one who wears you out with the way you have to stay on top of them with a balance of discipline and love, wishing you could just love without the discipline for just one day.  Isn’t disciplining so exhausting?  It wears me out and makes me long for a day … {…Read More}

Like a conquering hero…

  Last weekend, the kids and I got tickets to go watch our local orchestra perform for next to nothing.  We got great seats and sat back to listen to an amazing performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony… which, in case you didn’t realize, is actually more than the “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” part we all know well.  70 whole minutes, in fact.  While the kids started squirming a bit, I tried to follow the … {…Read More}

Why honesty {to ourselves} is the best policy…

I think sometimes, the hardest person to be honest with is myself.  Anyone with me? I would consider myself a pretty honest person.   I guess you could say I’ve been blessed with a pretty strong conscience that sends flares off to the rest of me if something’s not right.  I desire peace with the people around me at almost any cost, which isn’t always a good thing for my own well being.  But it does … {…Read More}

When loneliness becomes a gift…

I’m back.  But it feels like I should write that as, I’m baaaaaaack.  Because it seems like forever since I’ve written a blog post.  I’ve missed it, not because anyone out there really needs to read what I have to say, but because I feel like I need to write.  It’s this push in my heart, but there are seasons and breaks and busyness and things that get in the way. For us, it was … {…Read More}