Quiet came to my home tonight. Sweet, rare and precious quiet. It seems, after you become a mom, the delight of simple quiet slips away from your grasp and is instead replaced with endless and constant banter where you just keep going and going and going. Clanging pots, sniffy noses, blaring music and barking dogs. While there is something wonderful about the hustle and bustle of family life indeed; peaceful gentle quiet is generally not one of them. Alarm clocks ringing, showers running, breakfast cooking, and cars rumbling. I have really come to savor times when I am able to dial back the constant pounding demands of our daily routine. And so, when the quiet comes, I find my most comfortable blanket, warm up a favorite tea and for a while do nothing but listen to the slow, calm that surrounds me.
For an hour tonight I did nothing but sit and breathe. I could have spent that time cleaning the house, or folding clothes. I could have paid bills or filled out my daughters passport application. I probably should have done many, many things. But, instead, I sat in the beautiful quiet and slowly breathed. I really had no expectation. I knew I was tired. Really so very tired. I also knew the quiet was good for me. Beyond that though, I wasn’t trying to accomplish much of anything.
I suddenly heaved into an incredibly unexpected sobbing from the depths of my soul.
The floodgates had opened. Years of concern for my son’s mental health overwhelmed me. The quiet, it seemed, allowed me to touch the grief I feel over his suffering – the grief that I constantly push deep down so I can function well every single day. I wept and wept and wept until I could weep no more. Though I was physically alone as I grieved, I never felt alone. I know how deep the Lord’s love is for James and for all of us. Knowing this made it feel as though Jesus was literally sitting there wiping each tear away while holding me with his loving arms.
In that moment, I couldn’t help but remember the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. I, too, knew that God in Heaven saw me and had just come to my rescue.
Within 15 minutes of my sobbing/grieving/prayer time ending, noise returned to my home. The dogs woke up and wanted to go outside. James came downstairs looking for a snack. Faith came in from a date and wanted to talk for a few minutes. Even the cat started to walk around and meow! Good things can only last so long right? The truth is, the quiet lasted exactly as long as I needed it and I am ready to delight once again in the noise and hustle and bustle that being “Mom” in my world brings.
The key to catch here is absolutely nothing has changed in my circumstances and yet everything within me has.
The ups and downs of James’ struggle are very difficult and trying. The fatigue, fear, heaviness and general stress of caring for a son (who I deeply love) with his complex issues had me feeling worn down and empty. God saw this, and provided an environment where He knew I would slow down, grab my favorite blanket, warm a cup tea and sit in my favorite chair to just breathe. Then, He was right there to meet me when the floodgates opened, like no one else possible could, at the very depth of my pain – raw – real and very broken.
Going and Going and Going
So many of you out there are just worn out. You wonder if anyone out there sees how hard you’re trying? Do you even matter? Every single day you keep going and going and going. Clanging pots, sniffy noses, blaring music and barking dogs. Alarm clocks ringing, showers running, breakfast cooking, and cars rumbling. Doctors visits, IEP’s, band concerts, and therapy appointments. Swim meets, grocery shopping, bills to pay and youth group meetings. The noise and constant running of life doesn’t let you stop for one single moment so you push your heartache deeper and deeper too afraid if you even touch, it you’ll collapse in a puddle of tears unable to get back up again.
I get it. Oh how I get it. Even more important though. God gets it. He sees you, your heartache, your confusion, your sadness and yes even your anger. Whether you realize it or not, He is working glimpses of hope and rest into your days but you (and I) need to stop long enough to see and experience them.
As the night is now drawing to an end and the early morning hours are beginning to tick by, my heart is heavy for all who are overwhelmed and burdened like I’ve been. This side of Heaven there are often no easy answers or solutions for the many complex problems we all deal with day-to-day. However, I’ve learned over the years, there is an easy choice, that will help anyone who will make it, walk through this often difficult journey we called life. That choice is to put our trust in Jesus and his love every step of the way. I think Jesus said it best in Matthew 11:28-30,
28 “Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Follow My teachings and learn from Me. I am gentle and do not have pride. You will have rest for your souls. 30 For My way of carrying a load is easy and My load is not heavy.
When I read Matthew 11:28-30, trading in the hamster wheel of life seems a whole lot easier to me.
I’m in. How about you?