My Oasis of Silence
My motherhood has reached a point now where most mornings look like this:
I wake up at 6:15 to my kids' hugs, then I casually roll over and grab my phone and start responding to messages.
About 15 minutes later, I roll out of bed (clearly there’s a lot of rolling), put on my thermal socks (and my slippers), and thump downstairs as I zip up my enormous Irish sweater that covers my now-freezing body.
When I get downstairs, the kitchen is already buzzing with activity -- my oldest daughter is making “vitamin juice” for her sisters and my husband is making eggs for my 9 and 7 year old girls.
I kiss everyone, pack up the kids' backpacks, brush some snarly hair, and then wave goodbye as my 9 and 7 year olds walk to the bus stop that's across the street from our house. It is now 7 am., and life is good b e c a u s e ... I can FINALLY pour my morning coffee, take a sip, and head upstairs to my office…….where a true oasis of silence awaits me.
Is there anything better than coffee and silence? Seriously.
Usually my agreeable 4-year old plays quietly near me so I can read my devotionals, write, and finish my coffee. And it's within these quiet moments that I often smile and thank God for "having arrived."
Before you want to start booby trapping my house, let me say that my mornings weren't always like this. I paid my dues too: freezing cold coffee, uneaten breakfasts, and tempered voices for shoes to be put on ... for the millionth time! (Why is it so hard for kids to put on shoes?!?!?!?!) But I swear, it was like one day my kids were boogar-trappers, and the next they were LEGIT, fully-functioning HUMANS!
This is why I was caught off guard the other day when my children decided to disrupt my oasis...
It was a non-school day so all of my kids were home. They were playing nicely in our family room, so I smiled, poured my coffee and started to head up to my office when I heard my oldest daughter whine and my middle daughter gruff back at her. Of course I stopped dead in my tracks, assuming that I'd have to intervene, when the Holy Spirit nudged me to wait.
Listen and watch, he said. So I sat down on the steps and listened to my children.
First, my middle daughter did what middle children do best -- she appealed to all parties involved -- but my oldest kiddo wasn’t having it. Frustrated then, my middle child said, “Whining will get you nowhere. You are in charge of your actions. Take a deep breath please, and think about how you’re responding to me right now.”
HA!!!! The coffee literally spewed out of my mouth when I heard that ... She sounded JUST like me! (Isn't hilarious - and sometimes alarming - when you hear your kids parrot you?) Anyway...
My oldest daughter did NOT find her sister's coaching helpful. “You’re not the boss of me!", she yelled, and tempers started to rise.
So I stood up, naturally, but AGAIN the Holy Spirit prompted me to wait. Only this time he encouraged me to pray. So I did.
And no joke, 30 seconds after I started praying, my girls worked it out! They were laughing and galloping their American Girl dolls across the “plains” of our carpeted room. Who would've thought prayer could work?!
This got me thinking, aren’t we supposed to look at prayer as our first response to drama, pain, or whining instead of the last? I realized in that moment how rarely I do this, especially with "small" things; because my gut reaction is to get involved -- to give my kids just enough time to work it out before I step in and teach them what I feel is necessary. But God knows better, right?
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary [from listening to your children argue] ... and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Rest when they whine?!? Thank you Jesus! But how can he do this? God's answer for me came in Matthew 7.
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Yes! THIS is what every tired mama needs!
When you're weary, ask him to help...through PRAYER! He wants to listen to you. He wants you to keep knocking on his door so he can open up the hope, patience, and SILENCE we all need and crave. (I swear Jesus had a Quiet Hat too.)
Now, don’t take this to mean that every time your kids whine God will instantaneously assuage them. I DO believe, though that when we pray to him in these moments, he WILL give us creative ways to parent them through it.
Therefore, pray for your kids today before you step in. Trust that God’s got them, loves them, and cares about them AND your oasis of silence even more than you do! After all, isn't that why he invented coffee beans?!?!
Jonna Meidal is a mother to 3 girls who seeks to parent them by the fruits of the spirit (and her Quiet Hat). She's been to 20 countries (yay!), loves to write & laugh (a LOT), & can’t get through the day without eating popcorn (duh!). You can read more of what she’s been up to at jonnameidal.com or follow her adventures on Instagram @quiet.hat.adventures.