Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Are Your Noisy Times?

"How are your Quiet Times?"

That is a question I used to hear frequently. Friends and spiritual mentors would check in on me - wanting to hold me accountable for spending time with God daily, wondering what God was teaching me, and generally looking out for my spiritual well-being. And somewhere along the way I acquired the belief that God's love for me and the quality of my relationship with Him was directly tied to the frequency, duration, and noise level of my daily time with Him.
Is it any wonder becoming a mother put my spiritual life in a tailspin? The quiet times to which I had become accustomed were virtually non-existent and I was under the impression it was impossible for me to grow in my relationship with God.
How could I spend quiet time every day reading my Bible and praying, when I was surrounded by needy, noisy children?
How could God speak to me if the only quiet time I had was when I was sleeping?
How could God love me when I wasn't able to devote an hour to Him every morning like I used to?

Last week I came across something I wrote several years ago. I was with a group of friends and we were talking about "Quiet Places." Re-reading what I wrote allowed me to remember how troubled I was at that time.

Quiet places, huh?
Lord, I feel discouraged, even a bit depressed. A couple of times lately quiet places, quiet times, a "special spot," or a "prayer room" have come up. These ideas sound great, but I don't see it happening for me. The when and the where seem to evade me.
No. They seem impossible.
I don't think I have the space in my house. I can't imagine truly quiet and uninterrupted time. My heart aches and even yearns for such as these!

Remembering where I was at that time in my life makes me so sad. I know now that God had not stopped loving me, but at the time - because I wasn't having "quiet times" - I basically put my relationship with God on hold. It didn't occur to me that God could love me and speak to me, and that our relationship could continue to grow, in the midst of the noise.

Do you know what I'm talking about?

Have you been there, too?

Are you there right now?

If so, may I suggest to you that God is just as near to you, He is just as holy and loves you just as much when you are changing a messy diaper or mopping up spilled apple juice as He is when you find a quiet moment to read a verse or two from your Bible?
And would you believe me if I told you that God can speak to your heart through the noise of a fussing baby or a ranting fifth grader, just as clearly as He can through His still small voice when you happen to find yourself alone in a quiet place?
I didn't mean to, but now I realize that when I was struggling so much to find quiet time, I was confining God to quiet times.
And He cannot be confined.
God has shown me that He can use any situation to speak. He is not afraid of noise, or messes, or tantrums, or even long lines at the grocery store. God is present in each moment. He is loving us. And if we are listening, we can hear Him speak.

I do not mean to say that we do not need to seek quiet time to be alone with God.
On the contrary, I treasure the quiet times I have with God and I encourage every one of you to find a way to have them, too. But maybe you are at a place in life where a daily quiet time isn't going to happen. Maybe you need to arrange for child care and can only have an hour or two alone with God a couple times a month.
I don't know your quiet time situation, but I do know that God is holy and good and loving in the noise, too. He is not confined to the quiet. God speaks, even when it's loud.

So my question for you today is this: How are your Noisy Times?

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luvmy4sons said...

You know I remember very specifically when I let go of "the quiet time". I heard very clearly that God was right there with me as I trained and taught my children. Once I let go of having this set aside time of quiet with my God I began to find Him so much more in so many other ways in the teaching and nurturing of my sons...He voice grew louder in my noisy times. And the things He taught me in those noisy times were so profound!

Jessica said...

Well, I'm a little ticked at myself because I haven't been reading my Bible and I know I need to. Gotta fix those priorities. I guess I could say my noisy times are good, since that's often when I'm begging God for patience and the ability to talk softly instead of yelling. LOL I actually think stressful times as a mom are helpful because I'll either fly off the handle or I'll rest in peace and kind of connect with God for it. Does that make sense?
I wish more moms could read this post.

Mrs.Naz@BecomingMe said...

I want to comment because that was so wonderfully true, but I have nothing to add, because it was so wonderfully true.

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight said...

I am there. I am so, so there! Thank you for those encouraging words!

Proverbs 27:19 said...

That apple juice on the floor had me the other day, seriously!

Thank you, Karen, my Sister & friend for these words and adding your personal story with it.