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Monday
Feb062017

Finding God in Silence

“In the act of silence you’re not waiting for God to make a move. You’re becoming aware of the moves he is making.” – Brennan Manning

 

Patches of crusty dirt-stained snow lay on the grass like a map of continents from some other planet etched on a worn green canvas.  I think I see a continent resembling Africa.  

There are starlings at the feeder, and I’m thankful for even a small sign of life.  

Winter feels like death to me.  

I’m not sure if it’s from growing up in the country, climbing so many mountains in my twenties, or if it’s just the way God wired me, but the natural world feels like home to me.  Going to the woods brings life to my soul, and I often feel most connected with God under open skies.  The first time I really encountered him for my own was in a hayfield.  But that’s a story for a different day.

I love being outside so much that the sting of winter’s reality strips my vitality.  I feel lifeless and unmotivated.

I ponder these things as I watch the starlings flutter over Australia.  Why must there be winter?

A thought about restoration floats across my stream of consciousness, and I let it keep going.  Surely God doesn’t want to speak about a cold, bleak season, and how he intends to use it to restore me.  

I ponder Psalm 23, mostly for a distraction.  The steaming coffee in my hand is like warm medicine.  The baby monitor remains silent.  I pray he keeps sleeping at least another twenty minutes.

The thought about restoration returns, and I can’t ignore it this time.  I let it bounce around the walls of my mind for a few minutes, trying it on for size.  Is it really like God to use cold, hard seasons to restore us?  Isn’t winter more like trial – something to get through, not something to restore?

I’m reminded of the pace of our summers.  Days are filled from dawn to dusk with trips to the creek, hikes through the hemlocks behind the house, afternoons splashing in Lake Arthur, visits with friends, neighbor kids on summer break, and evenings spent catching fireflies and walking along soybean fields in search of deer.  There’s little time to stop, sit, and be.  The laundry piles high, partly because I’m never inside to do it, and partly because each family member muddies three outfits per day.  We eat a lot of pizza and hotdogs.  Lunches are always packed in crinkly shopping bags, intermittently eaten and smeared in the backseat of cars and in the shade of huge strollers, big enough to hold two small adults.

Summer is fast.  We love it all.  But we’re tired, and there’s seldom time to think.

Winter isn’t like that.  We’re inside.  We make crafts and write letters to friends far away.  Toys are strewn across the floor while I pound on a keyboard and redirect the toddler who insists on sitting with me.  There’s time to think about what I learned in the summer months, read long Bible stories, and light candles every night.

The darkness assures we’re not building fires in the woods or racing across the yard in orange sleds past five o’clock.  There’s time for quiet reflection, the writing of new Bible studies, blog posts, and journal entries.  We watch MASH reruns for hours and look forward to Andy Griffith at eight o’clock.

And so, as the starling flutters off to lands unseen, a spark of gratitude rises in my heart.  I’ve silenced my soul enough to be aware of what God’s doing.  He’s moving, even in the winter of my heart.  He’s rebuilding, restoring, and transforming.  I ought to make more time for silence.  And since it’s winter, I think I will.

Stacey

(Visit Stacey's website at staceypardoe.com)


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