I confess that I’m not slowing down.
I’m a stay at home parent. I’m also a full time student, and I work at a church where I am being mentored by the pastor (as part of the degree program). You know that scene in Star Wars, the one where the Millenium Falcon goes into warp speed? I often feel like that is what is happening to my life. Sometimes I get to the end of the day, and I feel like it’s been super long. I’m tired from having chased my three year old around or held my one year old all day. When I do get them down for nap/quiet time, I either work on a sermon or a paper for school, or if I am super good I get a craft ready to do with the boys when they get up. When I experience those days and bed time finally rolls around, I look back on the past 24 hours and I am speechless (and breathless). The days seem long when I’m living them, but the months are falling away like a tree shedding its leaves for winter. I want to slow down life. I want to, but I just need to figure out how. Recently I was reading a text for one of my classes and came across a really good concept that I want to share.
Author Tracy Balzer, writes about finding rest from all the noise in our lives;
“Perhaps we should consider when we last experienced true silence. It may be difficult for us to say with any accuracy, because we’ve gotten so used to the hum of electricity around us that we don’t even realize that we live with a constant level of noise…When did I last drive my car without the stereo playing? When was the last time my family and I sat around the dinner table with phones, dishwasher, and television turned off? None of these things are evil. But could it be that the many layers of noise we dwell in have numbed our sensitivity to the still small voice of God?”
As I write this I let myself listen for all the levels of noise that exist all around me. I can hear the hum of the refrigerator, the electricity of the lights, the WIFI modem, the computer fan, levels and levels of noise that I never really notice, all working in harmony to numb to the presence of God in my every day existence.
I think maybe I can slow down by being intentional with what I allow myself to take in. By taking a day of rest, where our family turns off our cell phones, and powers down the computers, and really listens for God. I think this could become a weekly event. Does it make you uncomfortable to think about turning off your cell phone for a full day? I know, I know, how would you be able to check facebook, your email, craigslist, gumtree, or the scores of that sporting event? Do you know that theres actually a word for what I am describing? It’s called a Sabbath. Not just a weekend day where we go to church, but a day completely plugged into God. Would you like to join me in carving out time to celebrate this day? To turn off and unplug electronics, to refresh our spirits, rekindle our passions, renew our minds and bodies, and reconnect with God and those we love.
I confess that I have an imperfect marriage.
A few months ago our mentor spoke with us about facilitating a marriage course at our church. The course would run for 6 weeks, there would be dinner available, and creche for the kids. Couples would be able to sit and chat with each other while doing exercises alongside the course manual and DVD. Of course, John and I were more than willing, because our marriage is PERFECT and we have LOADS to teach these other couples! Oh wait, just kidding, nothing in our lives is perfect, especially our marriage (except for maybe our kids, but even they get snotty sometimes….)!
But truthfully, we were excited to start this course because we are passionate about marriage and the covenant shared between two people.
We chose a Sunday evening to run the course which makes our Sundays extra long, especially if I’m singing in the Praise Band or John is preaching (both of which we did today, by the way). We do our church thang, and then we come home to cook for 20 people (eating lunch somewhere in there) and doing a bunch of dishes, then we go back to church and set up. After everyone eats and I hear encouraging comments like, “That food was gorgeous/lovely/to die for/amazing!” (<<This is so fun for me, I really enjoy cooking for people!), I do a bunch more dishes. Thankfully, our boys both go to creche so that I can do all this!
Turns out, amidst all this work, I LOVE Sundays.
As I have said before, Sundays are my jam! After a long day, I still treasure these evenings to allow couples the time to invest in their marriages. My favorite part is watching people interact with each other, taking turns talking and listening, and hearing laughter. From the kitchen in the back, I can’t tell what exactly each couple is talking about but it’s nice to see them enjoying each other’s company. What an important relationship. It’s so easy to get caught up in, well, LIFE, and forget about truly investing in the one we’ve chosen to “do” this life with.
No one’s marriage is perfect, especially mine. John and I weren’t “chosen” to facilitate this marriage course because we have the best marriage ever. We were just willing. We hope to encourage the couples we interact with every day and remind them (and ourselves) that God is the author of our stories! He created us, brought us together, and delights in seeing us live in harmony with one another.
And, Happy Sunday!