A familiar stranger comes to visit me, in the still of the morning. Her quiet, gentle spirit soothes my soul. Words that are kind and re-assuring are spoken by her. They bring comfort, and convince me that today is a day that will matter – a day where memories are made among an inquisitive six year old, an active three year old, and a 20 month old with a smile that brightens my world. For a moment, my life seems serene – so perfect and blessed, magnified as I become re-acquainted with the Woman.
I cannot describe her outward appearance, for it is difficult to discern. Her beauty within shines so brightly, that I never notice what her physical features hold. Except her hands. They cradle her coffee cup. Larger hands really, than I would expect. Hands that appear calloused from hard labor, but at the same time, guiding, tender, and soft. We visit silently about life, talking to God, praying, reading, and resting.
Somewhere in my ponderings, I hear the pitter patter of little feet upstairs, and She quietly leans back in her seat. Already, her non-verbal communication indicating a separation from She and I. As the little feet descend the stairs and the familiar voice of a child sounds out with my name – “Mommy”, I see the woman stand.
I yearn to stay connected, our intimate time of rebuilding to continue, but the demands of the day have begun, and already I begin to think about our schedule. The dishes left in the sink, a quick glance at the clock to establish a plan, and the laundry that never got started.
As the middle child and I head back upstairs to get ready for the day, the Woman follows me to the foot of the stairs. She never follows me into the fold, but lingers in the midst. When the oldest child awakens and the youngest stirs, I move among the flock, shepherding them to and from the bathroom, brushing teeth, combing hair, choosing clothes and ushering them to breakfast. The increasing hum of the busyness of life begins to drown out the peaceful melody of the early morning. The flock and I move downstairs. The 20 month old throws a temper because he wanted marshmallows for breakfast. The four year old refuses to eat his pears, and the six year old is now testing the Guinness Book of World Records for how long it takes to get ready in the morning.
I try to notice the woman heading for the door.
I catch glimpses of her here or there, but in my heart, She has already faded. Sticky oatmeal fingers on my arm and shirt for work. We may be late now. A spilled cup of milk, the packing of lunches, more glances at the clock and we are out the door. The Woman left sometime during the chaos.
I hope she returns tomorrow morning.
The Woman is the woman in 1 Peter 3:4 – a gentle and quiet spirit – full of wisdom, contentment, satisfaction in the Lord, and lots and lots of patience. Our visits are always too short, and never without conviction.
How do I keep her from leaving? What is the balance between a gentle and quiet spirit and the discipline and order of a young family? Each one can seem more important than the other at times.
I fight with frustration – another mess, time passing, so much to be done.
She rests in the Lord. She praises her husband. She relentlessly bestows love on her children.
Indeed, she is who I want to be, and who God wants me to be. The ironic part is the more I fight for her to exist in our house, the less I recognize her presence. But if I surrender. If I give in to the persistent, perfect love of Christ, resting in His promises, meditating on His word, communicating through prayer, the Woman reappears, and rocks gently in my chair.
Lord, help me to focus on You, the one who bestows grace on the humble, and shows mercy according to Your unfailing love. And perhaps one day, the Woman and I shall become one in spirit, and I shall rest peacefully in the calloused, pierced and gentle hands of God.
1 Peter 3:4
“[Your beauty] should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
By Karen Gill, A Heart Renewed