My daughter emerges from her room at 9:30 p.m.
It is now more than an hour past bedtime.
Showers have been taken. Teeth have been brushed. I have reviewed my daughters’ Scripture memory verses for the week, prayed with them, read them the Bible passage for the night, kissed them on rosy cheeks and sent them merrily to bed.
Or something like that.
But she re-emerges at 9:30 to tell me a play-by-play account of the book she is reading. She is a detail person. I’m pretty sure she is telling me exactly what occurs on each page of this 200-page book.
At first, I nod patiently and politely. I do, after all, love her. And, I do share her passion for reading.
Moms should be good listeners. Moms should make sure their children feel heard and understood.
After a while, though, I hug her close and slowly nudge her back to the bedroom while she is still giving a steady stream of book-narration, and I promise to listen more tomorrow.
Because seriously, it has been loud in my house tonight.
I have helped with homework for 3 children, fed and diapered and carried the crying baby around the house, made dinner, cleaned up dinner, packed lunches, supervised piano practice for 3 kids, sent 3 daughters in for showers and bathed one baby, combed tangles out of hair, folded laundry, read books, brainstormed ideas for a project on Ponce de Leon, prepped backpacks for the next day, laid out the outfits for tomorrow morning, signed agendas and math logs and reading logs, and threatened older children with punishment for any further bedtime delays.
You know, what moms do every night.
At one point, I had a baby crying, a child watching YouTube videos with bracelet-making instructions, one child practicing the piano, and one child asking me to quiz her on Life Cycles because her science test is in two days.
I know you all probably think when I’m in my minivan, I like to blast that worship music right loud and sing at the top of my singing lungs.
But you’d be wrong.
If I have the luxury of just 10 minutes in a car without a child talking to me, I turn the radio off.
Because, some times, a soul just needs some quiet.
Jesus knew it. After days of constant ministry, a needy mob following them around incessantly, clamoring for help and help and help all the time help, the disciples needed a change:
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31 NIV).
A quiet place.
Jesus knows we need that some times.
And it’s not just a break from noise we need.
We also need to come away with Him.
We need to not answer those e-mails, or check that Facebook, or answer that phone.
Our souls need beauty and filling up after relentlessly pouring out to others. We need Jesus and yet so often we choose to fill that void with anything and everything else.
But as Shellie Rushing Tomlinson writes in Heart Wide Open:
He will ruin you for anything else this world has to offer. However, it is a sweet ‘ruination,’ because the weaker the hold temporal things have on us, the freer we are to lose ourselves in the One who placed eternity in our hearts.
And here’s the hard discovery, that sometimes when I finally sit in relative silence, it rocks my restless soul more than any amount of noise.
That’s when I know I’m an addict, needing that next fix of adrenaline as desperately as others feel the shaking need for another drink.
I’ve become addicted to the rush of activity, addicted to the pride of feeling needed, addicted to the super-hero powers of rescuing people from crises all….day….long, addicted to noise and distraction and busyness.
So, that quiet falls uncomfortably on my shoulders. I fidget. I feel the need to hop up at the slightest distraction.
I need days to unplug, times off of Facebook, off of Twitter, and away from television, and this takes discipline.
I find sometimes that the quiet (in the rare moments when there actually is quiet) is awkward and uncomfortable.
And I find some times that the quiet is refreshing like an ice-cold lemonade after a couple of hours of yard work.
Either way, this is what I know—the quiet is what this soul needs.
Originally published March 26, 2014
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2015 Heather King