Monday, March 23, 2015

Sabbath Silence

Years ago, a pastor friend invited me to attend a silent retreat. I responded with laughter, “Love you. Mean it, but are you kidding? I don’t have time for that and I am just not the silent type!  I’m more the get it done kinda of person. I thought you knew that about me.” That wasn’t the answer she was looking for; she saw a deeper need than I recognized in myself.  She looked at me, smiled, paused a little while and responded: “Ok, dear friend,” she said. “I’m going to make a few calls and I’ll see you at the retreat.” She wasn’t kidding. Judy called my husband and my boss. She made sure I had child care for Luke; she even paid for me to attend the retreat!

God met me the day of that silent retreat in a way I’d never met him before. Though the distractions were many, as I settled into the space, I began to notice Jesus surround me. I found myself simply being in the set apart time and space with him. No agenda. No to do lists or other people asking me to do anything other than just be. Simply God and me in his creation, his word, his loving presence. In the silence the Lord opened soul space in me that I hadn’t known before as I heard him call me his daughter who he loves.

From that time until now, God has used the soul practice of silence in my life to draw me closer to him and cause me to be aware of His presence and voice in my life and the life of others I love.

Now as a mom of teen and tween boys, if it’s not the constant beat of a basketball, the blare of the tv, or the general forte pound of teen voices, when my guys are around, there is a lot of noise. If I’m honest, though, even when they’re not around, I can have a tough time avoiding all the distractions around me.  I still like to ‘get it done’. Yet, I’ve learned over the years of practicing silence that doing the hard work of carving out time to be alone and undistracted in silent time with Jesus, makes me more aware of God’s presence even in the midst of the noise and distractions of my life.

For me, the best time to practice silence with God is in the morning when the house is quiet and I am getting dishes put away from the dishwasher and our boys lunches ready. These are such mundane tasks that I can concentrate on simply being with God as I do them. I also enjoy driving my car without any other noise around me. Yet, intentionally scheduling a day of solitude and silence to simply be with God is what I think has undergirded the other silent spaces in my life. As I make myself available to God in silence he meets me, he loves me, and I adore him in quiet reverence of knowing and being known. 

—Mary Vandel Young

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