First Responders

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Maybe you’ve noticed this by now, but this blog doesn’t exactly stick to one focus. I wish I could say it was only about fearlessly mothering: boldy mothering when no Mom has, umm, mothered before, but it just isn’t the case. The more I try to focus on this one topic, the more I end up going in a different direction with my next post. Instead of wallowing in chocolate and frustration concerning this debacle, I realized this is because these two topics that I’m passionate about – fearlessly mothering and the awesome presence of God – are quite intertwined. For me, I cannot have the former without the latter. I simply cannot be a fearless mother without the living, breathing presence of God infusing my daily life. If I try to do this without Him, I become legalistic and my perfectionist streak takes over, and I start complaining about ridiculous things, like the fact that my two year old doesn’t know his alphabet yet. See? Ridiculous. I have to parent with His presence, each day, otherwise I become a bit ridiculous. For that reason, I’m informing you now that most likely every other post will concern the presence of God and what I’m hearing from Him, and have absolutely nothing to do with children or Cheerios or dirty diapers entirely. So consider this the non-Cheerios post for now, and let the dirty diaper smell fade into the background.

As I mentioned here, I forewent the New Years resolutions for the month of January and decided instead to concentrate on waiting on the Lord, without an agenda or a Big Fat My Needs List. It hasn’t quite been a daily thing yet (still working on that), but this past month has been so beautiful. Intimate. Restoring. I have learned much about calming my heart and quietly waiting on Him, even though I’m not exactly a quiet person. It’s almost like a tithe of my attention and affection: before I speak or interrupt, I’m learning to give Him the firstfruits of my attention, devotion, love, opinion. He gets the first interaction. I find my words changing from saying things about feeling the presence of God (although we can definitely feel His presence), to developing an awareness of His presence continually with me. Waiting on Him, by myself, somewhat locked away and with no agenda, has brought me to a place where I am not sitting around waiting for goose bumps, but instead am quietly listening for when my Beloved wants to speak (if at all). It is incredible. And normally, yes, He does grace these times with a thick, tangible sweetness and peace, like a cloud. But He’s taken me from seeking that to coming simply to worship Him because He’s worthy.

In the midst of this, I’m starting to hear Him call my heart during other times of my day. I’m sure He’s called me before, but this time I’m actually listening. When I’m frustrated about something and I’m standing in front of my kitchen sink, I’ll hear Him say something like, “You seem worn and tired. Come rest in Me a minute,” or after an interaction with my children that didn’t go well: “That was frustrating. Take a minute to sit with Me.” If I did hear Him say things like that to me in the past, I don’t remember heeding it often. I’d brush it off and continue what I was doing, knowing that the weight of our domestic household rested on my shoulders alone (cue sarcasm font). But now that I’m taking the time to wait and listen in the quiet places, I’m learning to obey in these moments, as well. I’m finding my Father wants every bit, every smidgen of my day – not just those moments I designate “Quiet Time.” I’m realizing that I don’t want to take these tender moments He sprinkles throughout my day for granted. I want to respond to His presence the first time, every time. I want to listen to His words the moment I hear them, even if it’s momentarily inconvenient to my schedule.

On a practical note, this doesn’t mean I run off to my prayer closet every time this happens. I realistically cannot bust out my newest Jesus Culture album and have a worship sesh on the spot while my four-year-old sprinkles milk around the kitchen as she pretends to be a helicopter. But I do have time to slip away to my room for a moment, or maybe just sit on the couch and close my eyes, and let my Father finish what He saying in the ongoing conversation we share throughout the day. As I train myself to listen, I’m realizing it’s not as hard as I thought to hear Him speak. My own fear and doubt were holding me back way more than my inability to hear Him.

I’m don’t write this to add one more thing to a weary mother’s growing list of demands. However, I find that when I respond to my Love’s call, when I heed the voice of my Father throughout the day, His voice becomes clearer, and I rest in His peace more often. I quit viewing my time with the Lord as an event or a moment in a worship service, but instead as an ongoing dialogue in a loving relationship. His continual presence in my life leads me to His rest and emboldens me to be fearless.

What I’m listening to: Waiting Here for You, Christy Nockels; Holy Spirit, Bryan & Katie Torwalt

What I’m reading: Psalm 139:7-90; Psalm 27:8, 14; Psalm 62:1; Psalm 63:1-3