For twelve years, I have had a baby or a toddler in tow with me all the day long. My youngest started preschool this year, and now I have nine hours a week to myself. Many mothers would jump and cheer about this, but as having a child on my hip is truly my sweet spot, I found myself a little sad. “What in the world am I going to do with all that time?!” I tried watching a beading television show, thinking maybe that is what my life would look like now—a crafty zen space full of beads and scrap paper or something. But I didn’t even understand the words in the “hook” question: “Have you ever wanted to make an entire piece of jewelry using only a jig?!” Um, no. I wasn’t exactly sure what the nice lady was asking, but I am still confident my answer is no. (But may God bless those who know what that means and can do it, though.) I realize that I am blessed to not have to work full time outside of my home. That may not always be the case, so I am thankful for every single day I get to be a work-at-home-mom. But now I am challenged with how best to use those noise-free moments in my day.
Truth be told, mothering nine hours less a week still doesn’t take away my other responsibilities—cooking, cleaning, shopping, writing, scheduling, budgeting…all of that still must happen, and much of it happens in the nine hours I am without my smallest one. But one preschool day, when I sat down to my devotion, I was distracted by the silence. Most of my devotion time is accompanied by child noises: a murmuring baby, Legos whishing around a box, crayons scribbling on paper, maybe a squawk from someone. I try to get up early and study, but my mind doesn’t work great until I’ve been up a bit. So while the kids played quietly in the mornings, I would also have a quiet time. And God would move in those moments, teaching, convicting, healing. But I didn’t realize how un-quiet was my “quiet time” until all the kids were at school.
I’ve decided to press in to the silence. Press in to the sounds God makes when all the other voices and cries and demands on me and my time are squelched. Press in to the voice of God reminding me of His great love, His great care, and watching as He unfolds mysteries of scripture before my very eyes. I have to be disciplined. It’s tempting to turn on background music or call someone or text people hoping for a text noise in return. But while I can savor it, I’m going to press in to the life-giving sweet spot of spending time alone with my Heavenly Father. I may be without my sons and daughters for nine hours a week, but that’s no reason to ignore the Father-daughter time I believe God is excited to have with me now. I wonder if He’s waited for this season in my life, for lengthy uninterrupted time with me on a regular basis, as much as I’ve missed my children’s constant company.
So I’ll turn off my phone now and black out the computer screen and listen for the voice of God. Later, I’ll put my phone down again so I can look into my children’s faces and listen to the stories they have about their day at school. I will embrace them and give them my full attention even as God is giving me His full attention, and waiting so patiently for me to return the favor.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:1-4