Wednesday – October 29, 2014

Wednesday – October 29, 2014; Psalm 46: 10 – 11

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!     I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Yeah, like we have time to be still!!!

I remember taking my daughter to an Aquarium near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Not only did we see an overly friendly walrus, but we also saw the sharks! I was fascinated as I watched him swim back and forth through the large tanks…and we read that sharks are in constant motion as if they stopped moving it would cause the water to stop flowing through their gills, and this would cause them to suffocate! As a single parent I can find myself identifying with the shark, as sometimes it feels like I too have no other choice but to keep moving!

I do not need to tell here that life as a single parent is a busy one, leaving us with little chances to be still, to simply sit and listen…and even when we do find some time to be still often it is difficult for us to settle down and be quiet, as we are so used to going all the time!

When she was a small child, my daughter took up much of my time and energy, from hours spent playing together, reading, coloring, going for long walks, watching movies, and dealing with school issues, to taking care of our home and ourselves…there was never much time for me to just be still and listen to the voice of God in my life.

Even though my daughter is now 20, I still spend a lot of time worrying about her, cleaning up after her (actual messes, not just hypothetical messes), trying to give her advice, give her rides, and while also dealing with struggles of my own…which means that I still feel like I have little time to be still.

In my case, I have to admit that I am not really the ‘still’ type, as my mind often seems to be working over-time; and this has been true long before I became a single father! I like to keep busy and even while sitting on the sofa watching TV it is hard to just be still…I am always thinking of something, turning over ideas and thoughts and exploring my curiosity. Of course I also spend a good amount of time writing down these ideas to share with you!

Sometimes I have to simply get away and force myself to be still…and it does not have to be for a long time.

Often I will sit on my back porch watching the dogs play, and listen to the sound of the local church’s carillons…and just try to be still for a little while. At other times, I will ride my bike or drive over to the lake and sit by the water watching the waves, and waiting for fish to jump! Then there are the long drives home from work at night…as well as walking the dog, and of course, time spent at church, my 12-Step group and in prayer.

In short, we can find many opportunities for being still…even if we are not exactly staying still while doing it.

However, once we are still it is important to really listen for God’s voice – sometimes I can try too hard to hear God that I am unable to listen. Yes, sounds cliché, but it is true, I do so much active listening for God that I do not listen when He does speak to me…for to be truly ‘still’ sometimes we need to quiet our inner voice that tells us about all the things we need to do, mulls over our mistakes and our worries, and can cause us even more stress!

For me, being quiet also means that I need to stop telling God what I want, or about how unhappy I am with the way things are going for myself and my daughter and to be open to God’s Will!

It takes practice, and faith…faith that God is always with us, and is our Fortress and our refuge, and faith that God does speak to us, all the time; both in that small still voice we often hear that offers us guidance, through the scriptures, and also through others…as I have gotten a lot of benefit from the advice of others, and this has kept me on-track, as a person and a parent!

So today, as we approach Reformation Day, let us practice being still AND quiet, and it is when we let the voice of God come to us that we can find renewal, refreshment and re-formation in our lives…to shake off the busy-ness, and the frustration, and to find peace, and trust in the love that God has given to us freely through Christ!

For it is when we embrace the grace that surrounds us that we can truly find peace, and hope…if only for a moment or two…as this stillness can reconnect us to God and give us a fresh approach to single parenting, reminding us that it is not a burden we carry alone, but that we have the support of God’s love and the compassion and understanding of those around us…and with this support, we can see that single parenting is not a burden at all, but a blessing!

Let us Pray:

God, thank you for being our refuge from the sometimes harsh realities of life as single parents…and thank you for speaking to us and being present for us in our lives through Christ and through all those with whom we share our faith. Help us to find the small moments to be still AND quiet, so that we can actually listen to your voice, rather than working so hard to hear it! Once filled with your grace and peace, let us share these gifts with each other, as we refresh and re-form our spirits to give us give ourselves renewed energy to face the challenges of parenting, and to see the true gift we have been given as single parent.

Amen

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