My sons and I pile on the bed, all of us in a rare still moment, so I can clip their nails. I can hear them breathe. The windows are open, and a storm is coming. Curtains sail.

Moments like these are scattered between yelling matches, bloody noses, and tickle wars. My strong voice outlines strict instruction on how to pick up toys. I take every opportunity I can to name out loud a character I want out of my house and the ones, too, that I welcome. Our voices ring out from here like the hum of stars. We do what we do – live – and it’s all messy and loud, and often I’ve found myself having given all my time to the demands of the noise without even having found time to stop and eat.

My husband has been pursuing quiet for lent, and he’s been speaking it to me before he leaves for work. Hands on my shoulders, he says, “Take peace, and find that quiet place with God.” I must confess that I often respond with “pfffff” and an eye-roll, like what’s he even talking about – quiet, in this house.

We have 4 sons. We are many many things, but quiet is not one of them, and for that matter, Seth and I were loud enough before the kids.

But now that he’s mentioned it, now that he’s told me to grab those quiet moments and call them holy, I’ve noticed more and more how I reside in a throne room, even here in front of an entire box of cereal dumped out. Here I am with God at the sink; God on a walk to the mailbox; God outside at the garbage can; God as they stick their focused-tongues out to color a picture.

I’m in the shower, the hot water and the washing all done, but I stand here still. Usually I’m telling Jesus all the things that make me tired, if I’m acknowledging Him at all. But I’m learning, instead, to just be silent.

I’m learning so slowly to cut off complaint and the noise of anxiety, that only then comes the silence, that space where God speaks. I’m trying to cut straight to it, to hear it now. Hear it with me, His telling us, “I am with you [...]“

I recognize the rarity of quiet amid the mental noise that comes from social media, noise from fear of failed marriages like giant trees falling, the actual ruckus at the kitchen table, and the noise the baby makes when he wants to be held – the sound of a pterodactyl crashing into the room.

Weren’t we after all made for communion? Yes, and in this is often chatter, spilling the heart out in honesty. But, too, there is simple presence – the table where the drink is passed to us. Some moments we remember the quiet sound of the bread, the veil, split in two. Because we can’t talk and swallow at the same time, we call Jesus our bread even in the minuscule quiet moments, and then we take and eat.

written by Amber Haines

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  1. 1

    stopping to pray quiet for you right now….may you hear the only the hum of the refrigerator at some point today!

  2. 3

    “Because we can’t talk and swallow at the same time, we call Jesus our bread even in the miniscule quiet moments, and then we take and eat.” That is exactly what my life with babies is! Thanks you for the reminder to appreciate and make use of my quiet moments.

  3. 5

    “I’m learning so slowly to cut off complaint and the noise of anxiety…” This is where I am, too. It comes so slowly, and I used to think the slowness was God’s timetable…but it’s mine, because shutting it all off is one of the hardest things for me to do. Thank you for the thoughtful post.

    • 6

      This was the exact phrase that I could claim as my own, too… I like how you described the slowness being your timetable. Something good to think on… and yes, it is true.

  4. 7

    “Here I am with God at the sink; God on a walk to the mailbox; God outside at the garbage can; God as they stick their focused-tongues out to color a picture.” I have been one tired mama lately and need to remember this today…maybe write it down and post it around our home.

    • 8

      What’s hard for me is to get away from the computer during all my quiet moments. I figure I’m not the only one. I need to post it around my house, too.

  5. 9
    Pamela Dempsey says:

    Beautiful. Tears in eyes. Holy. Beautiful. Thank you. Blessings to the chorus of chaos in your family – and for the little silences you claim.

  6. 11

    Ahhhh, the irony. My son is literally yelling “I’M NOISY!” as I read.
    May you experience inner quiet, regardless of the volume around you today!

  7. 13

    Such beautiful and exquisite writing Amber~ beautiful.

  8. 15

    This took me to a place I had lost in the muck of life. Thanks, you often have a way of ripping off the layers to get to the core of what is important.

  9. 17

    Somehow, my own family hungers for this same quiet. The world is noisy, our brains can be just as chaotic but HOME means peace to us.
    It’s a great day to just be…still & quiet!

    • 18

      Sometimes I want to pitch a full-blown toddler fit until somebody puts me in the bed and tells me to not get up or I’ll be in trouble.

      But I know that won’t work. I know that life moves on. There has to be a way to find peace in the chaos. It’s a journey of learning, isn’t it?

  10. 19

    “We can’t talk and swallow at the same time.”
    Amen. May I swallow today and find communion in the quiet places. I struggle too Amber. And I only have two boys. . :)

  11. 20

    GREAT post!

    I too struggle with quiet and now I’m well on my way to 1/2 of your chaos (due with my second son in 4 weeks!).

    :)

  12. 21
    Grammarox says:

    Thank you for such words of wisdom. I’m in awe that you find time to write such beautiful words. I remember what life was like with little ones, but it doesn’t change all that much as we grow older. I’m a gramma now and I still need to be reminded to “Be still and know that I am God.” It is in the stillness that we receive and honor God. You are right, we can’t talk and swallow at the same time and we can’t thank Him for it All and complain or rush thru our days either. Thank you for your reminder to take Jesus where ever and whenever you have a moment and savory that moment with Him.

  13. 22

    It is difficult to find God in a noisy world. I struggle with that daily. But, when you can find those quiet moments to commune with Him, it is oh so rewarding.

  14. 23

    Oh, sweetie pie – this is so gloriously beautiful and true. Thank you for writing out this truth in such exquisite language. And I get the pfft and eye-rolling – but you’re right. His blessing you with the hope of quiet helps to center those crazy-making moments that ANY mama faces during a given day.

    And that comment about pitching a toddler fit and being told to stay in bed. ME, TOO.

    There’s a Holy Spirit thing going on out here in blogland today. A theme about the gift of having children, even when it’s hard and loud. A meme, if you will, about seeing Jesus in the midst of it all, most especially in the eyes of our children. (http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com/2012/03/lenten-journey-climbing-to-calvary-day_26.html )

    Thanks for this, Amber. Thanks.

  15. 24

    Ah, quiet moments. Such an incredible reminder of how often God longs to commune with us. Thank you for sharing, as I, too, more often respond with a “pfft”.

  16. 25

    Such a glorious reminder. Praise the Lord! After stressful mornings, taking the time to stop and breathe in the presence of God is so necessary.

  17. 26

    It feels like these moments really are few and far between doesn’t it? This was so beautifully expressed. Thank you for the reminder that these God moments exist all day long. Instead of fighting to find or make peaceful moments throughout the day (that’s how i find myself tackling things anyway), God puts them there Himself for us to see them and receive them as gifts from Him.

  18. 27
    Carrie Lakey says:

    Oh, my. I know that pterodactyl crashing sound! A while ago, I bought a plaque that says, “Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.” It made me laugh out loud at the store and I brought it home with me as some kind of a hopeful gesture that it might work. It doesn’t work on the littles, but it is a good reminder for me to settle into the quiet, peaceful place deep on my insides at least while I’m working at the dishes, and it always at least makes me smile! =) Such a hard discipline. Some of these days are just so very long… Love you!

  19. 28

    A lot of times my home is quiet but my mind is full of noise from the world, things I have to do, and endless lists of responsibilities. I am going to work on quieting myself so no matter what noise is going on “out there” I can still have the quiet and peace from Him.

    Thanks for this beautiful post. I grew in reading in it :-)

    Michelle Growing Mama

  20. 29

    Thanks for this great reminder, Amber! I have two boys with number three on the way soon…I SOOOO feel you!!

    So much noise, but the Lord doesn’t want to wait for me to find outter silence to be with him–if so, he’d be waiting a looong time. But I know he desires to quiet my heart and mind all throughout the day and be with me there, in the mindst of dragon caves and diaper changes and potty training and lizard hunting.

    I often wear Lisa Leonard’s “Be Still” necklace around my neck as a sweet reminder of what my soul needs.

  21. 30

    We too are a home of four boys all trying to become young men of worth and power. To be leaders in each their own way and fill that role Christ has set before them as headship. In fact my six year who struggles to be “big” said it was going to take too long to be a parent. I referred him to please not play parent in the sweetest tone I possibly could muster at the moment :)
    Oh how I need to quiet my restless soul and soak in the stillness of a father that knows no such busyiness!!
    Thank you for being relatable when I feel like not many know the life of an outnumbered mother.
    Blessings on you and the men God has surrounded you with.

  22. 31
    Beth Williams says:

    Your husband is absolutely right! You need to find quiet to calm your soul & have peace. It helps to have some quiet time with God.

    I do it at 5-5:30am Monday-Friday. Then I head to the noise of a busy doctor’s office.

  23. 32

    I think it is what we gain from those quiet moments alone with God that makes us better at everything else and all we do, because we take what we gained with us to everything else.

  24. 33

    Thrumming in my soul, these thoughts. And quietly so.

    “I’ve noticed more and more how I reside in a throne room…”

    And to remember that lovely truth marks the beginning of unceasing prayer :) .

    Your penned voice is soul magic.

  25. 34

    i love seth’s words to you. i definitely need to seekthe quiet. i actually am today…right now. the house is still and i am listening for Him because you are absolutely right “we cannot talk and swallow at the same time.”
    thank you for thi reminder!!

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