It is such a rare thing in my life, and a virtue that I have worked hard to set aside time for in my mothering lifestyle in the last few years. I realized the value of finding time to be 'still before the Lord' when I was a new mother and I was invited to join a contemplative prayer group. The group was conveniently set after 7pm so that mommies could come without their babies and I will always be grateful for that first taste of quietness training.
I was won over in a heart beat! Turns out it was just what my mother heart needed in that season, to learn how to sit quietly and learn how to hear the Lord's voice better.
Then we would just sit there, waiting quietly for the Lord to speak to us. I always chose the spot closest to the fireplace, and I would just stare off into the flames as I prayed a quick invitation in my heart.
An invitation something like this, 'Lord, thank you for this time, please come and speak to me, here I am, so let me hear Your voice,' prayed in my head, and then I would just sit and wait.
Sometimes I wouldn't hear anything really, or I would spend the majority of the time trying to calm my thoughts down and stop thinking about my grocery list waiting at home. You know the thoughts that come in when we try to quiet ourselves, they run something like this....
"Lord, I love you, speaking of love, did I kiss my husband before I left tonight, oh, did I kiss the girls, they will want bananas for breakfast tomorrow morning, I will have to get some more at the store tomorrow, oh, I'm almost out of eggs too, and bread...."
And so on. It is pathetic and counter productive, but it is also reality some of the time. When I would battle these thoughts the worse, that is when I would bust out the Word. Reading about the Lord is the best way to bring my focus back to Him.
So enough of all the times that I struggled though, it can't be prefect all the time. The times that the Lord really met me made it all worth it! Sometimes He would give me revelation on a dream I had or He would give me insight into a situation I was encountering with my daughter, or He would bring to mind something I had asked Him about a scripture and give me a new understanding on it. Sometimes He would just impart peace to my heart, and I would be washed in a calmness after a day of stress. No matter how the Lord chose to touch me, it was always just what I needed.
Most nights I would go home on a cloud, so excited that the Lord had met with me and I had heard Him so clearly that I could barely fall asleep.
That season was a very important one for me to, number one, learn the value of setting aside quiet time for the Lord to speak, and secondly to learn how to hear His voice clearly and recognize it apart from my own.
So often we ask the Lord to speak to us, but we are not in a position to hear His answer, either we are not familiar enough with the sound of His voice, or we are not in a quiet place to hear His still small voice. Certainly there are times that the Holy Spirit 'shouts' to get our attention, but for the every day sorts of conversations, it is a small whisper in our hearts that He chooses to use to communicate with us, and one that can easily be confused with our thoughts, if we don't know how to discern the difference.
Some people have a greater measure of discernment, I do not in most cases, I had to practice and learn what the Lord's words sounded like in my head. Holy Spirit has a very distinct way of speaking to me, and I am so thankful now that I took that season to learn how to distinguish His voice better.
As an application of how my thoughts run and how the Lord interjects His, it sometimes runs something like this...
"Lord I love you, help me to know what to do with Kinsey, she is peeing her pants all the time these days. Should I just spank her every time, or should I offer better treats for when she goes on the potty? Why doesn't she want to use the potty?
Enter Holy Spirit, "you should just relax and let her go back to diapers."
Me, "But she knows how to use the potty, she was potty trained for over two months, I can't just give up,"
Holy Spirit, "let it go, it is not worth stressing about it,"
Me "I won't fail, I can't fail, she won't move up in the CEC if she isn't potty trained by three, her friends are potty training just fine, what did I do wrong,"
Holy Spirit, "just relax, fear and anxiety are not from the Lord...."
And so on. I put her back in diapers, even though I still felt like a failure, and a few months later, my daughter was ready to keep her panties dry, all by herself. Lord, you know all things, and my stress added nothing to the picture.
So this post is to encourage women and mother's everywhere to again find time for the Lord in your everyday life, again. Haha, I know it seems to be a common theme in my posts lately, but He wants to speak to you about the most simple of matters. He wants to wow you with new revelation, but you have to set your heart to hear Him. He won't always shout, so you must learn the skill of stillness.
One thing I just read in my book by Elisabeth Elliot "Keep a Quiet Heart" really stirred me to again set specific time to sit quietly before the Lord, ready to receive directly from His hand.
She says, "Silence is one form of worship. When the seventh seal was opened (in the book of Revelation), there was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. What would happen in our homes if we should try to prepare ourselves for those heavenly silences by having just one half-hour when there was no door slamming, no TV, no stereo or video, and a minimum of talk, in quiet voices? Wouldn't it also be a calming thing just to practice the stillness which is the absence of motion?"
From experience I know the rewards of making this discipline a staple in my week. I'm not able to do it every day, but when I find myself alone in the house and all the babies sleeping quietly, I do often feel the prompting of Holy Spirit to sit quietly and wait before the Lord. In the times that I obey that prompting, I am usually rewarded with some new insight or revelation, and if not something tangible, at least I come away from the time of quiet feeling refreshed and filled with peace.
Amen for peace!!!