An Invitation to Solace
Rummaging through some old papers from my previous life – the one before my name was Mommy – I found a couple of devotionals and articles I had written prior to the scars of motherhood. When Michael and I lived in Houston as newlyweds, we would drive over to a beautiful convent once a year with other members of our church and spend the weekend on a Silent Prayer Retreat, where we each went off alone and literally did not speak from Friday night until Saturday afternoon. It was such a refreshing, renewing experience – one that even now I vividly remember. As I read these essays I had written for the retreat (dated 1997), I had to laugh when I realized that back then, I had no clue just how much I would crave silence and rest in just a few short years. What I wouldn’t give for just a little piece of quiet! But Naïve 1997 Jennifer still has a few lessons to teach Exhausted 2007 Jennifer, especially in the busyness of the Christmas season. Here’s an excerpt of what I found:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
Can you picture it?
A rush to do all the things and complete all the tasks you should have done yesterday…and the Father whispers, “Be still.”
Confusion and fear as you weigh all the options and wonder which decision is the right decision…and the Father whispers, “Be still.”
Exhausted from the day and just wanting to absorb passively whatever happens to be on the television – better yet, just crawl into bed and go to sleep…and the Father whispers, “Be still.”
God, I’m weary…
Lord, I’m so lonely…
Father, I feel so foolish…
How often I ignore His command for silence. How often I scurry through my day without the thorough cleansing, healing, and nourishing that the Father knows I need. How much I miss when I ignore His call. I can accomplish all my daily tasks and get eight hours of sleep, yet my soul remains malnourished and broken when I do not allow my spirit to find the rest that only God can provide. Daily He continues to beckon
Come to me, all of you who have had enough – all you who are worn out and exhausted and feel like you can’t take another step. All you who long for something more than Sunday morning religion. All you who have something missing from your life that you just can’t put your finger on. All you who wonder where I am. Come to Me. I’ll show you truly how to rest. I will comfort you and encourage you. I will lead you to a solitary place where it’s just you and me and no one else, and I will speak tenderly to you. I will restore you and recreate you into who I desire you to be. But only when you come to Me.” (Matthew 11:28; Hosea 2:14)
Aaaah, stillness. Rest. Quiet. Is it possible and attainable for a mom? (And when was the last time I got those “eight hours of sleep”?!?) Can we really find a solitary time and place to be still when these little people demand so much of us? Can we hear God’s whispers of “Be still” in the midst of diapers and tantrums and the heart-wrenching choices that come with raising our precious children? I hope so. I know that in ten years, I certainly haven’t outgrown my need for it; in fact, I probably need that kind of solitary restoration now more than ever. It may not happen during a weekend retreat, but it can happen.
Let’s find it. Let’s find that place of peace and renewal. May we join in the prayer of the psalmist, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.” (Psalm 63:5)
Have a very blessed, peace-filled, soul-renewing Christmas!