and i listened

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This morning when my little wake-up call sounded in the other room at precisely 5:43am, I padded into his room in the dark and fumbled around for a lovey and a pacifier. I changed, I soothed, I left -- because as every mother knows we don't get up that early, baby, please pretty please.

I went back to my room and pulled the eyemask back down, then froze. Because it was basically 6am. A very reasonable wake-up time for a woman trying to be a little more intentional and attentive this season. I swung my feet back out of the bed and tossed the eyemask onto the nightstand. I checked the time again, to be sure, and heard that still small voice, 'Would you rather sleep or be with Me?'

So I made my way to the kitchen, pausing to notice the little noises the baby was still making (apparently he was up for the day) and I plugged in twinkle lights on the counter. I walked through the living room lighting candles and more twinkle lights. I heated up some milk for chai. When all the small preparations were made, I curled into my old squishy couch and opened a book by the light of the tree. My eyes were blurry. My brain was fuzzy. I jotted a few thoughts in my journal, a few prayers and pleas for aid. I couldn't find my place or my way through what I'd really wanted to be a Deep, Spiritual, Significant Moment.

The baby was still awake.

And then I heard another small voice: "Hi, Mommy. You're out here. I thought I saw the lights! I knew it! I was going to come have a little rest myself by the tree here, but you have beat me to it. Can I sit with you? Right here? And just talk to you while you do your reading your Bible? How are you? Did you have any dreams last night? ...Oh, doesn't the tree look sweet?"

(I am not making up her monologue. These are her words.)

I wrote it down as a prayer of thankfulness and I asked God to help me see ways that mothering and wife-ing and churching and picking up the same toys 16 times and wiping the counters again can be an act of worship when my brain is so very full of the noise of my days. I asked God to help me see how I can possibly abide with Him when I am constantly overstimulated. When my ideal abiding is actually A FULL DAY OF SILENCE WITH JUST ME IN MY HOME.

And then I wrote, 'Help me find Christmas worship in these days - that I would honor you and find joy and rest in my life's work.'

Today did not feel all worship-y. But my eyes were looking. My ears were listening. My heart was searching for what is real work and worship.

I said to myself that sweeping was not futile, it was an act of love (so my baby doesn't eat a three day old bean or something). I said to myself that steadily and patiently asking my 5yr old how she was really feeling is an act of love (instead of just shutting her down when she sassed me). I discovered that my interest in her feelings in the moment made it possible for me to speak truth AND rebuke her, in such a way that we could pray together and start afresh.

When I was busy listening, I stopped looking for ways to distract myself from my life. I wasn't wrestling the noise and feeling like I. just. can't. I was on the watch for what God might say or show me during the day.

I'm finding that though these days don't come as frequently as I like, they really do buoy me at just the right time. So much of life is about the time and the intentionality. At just the right time, I made myself stay awake. At just the right time, my perfect ideal of abiding was interrupted. At just the right time, I got to start over with my mini-me. At just the right time, I asked God to show me His thoughts on how I can abide during this season -- and then I listened.

Perhaps this will be my advent worship, my advent word - listen.

Because in the endless noise and relentless neediness of home life and then the cacophonous chatter of the world...I spend so much time tossing up my prayers to the sky and whispering my laundry list to the heavens. And then I just keep going.

So here I am. Sitting here musing and feeling quite thoughtful in the evening and deciding that I can probably declare this season of advent worship is going to be much different than I thought - but it is going to be just what I need.

*****

Man’s maker was made man, That He, Ruler of the stars, Might nurse at His mother’s breast; That the Bread might hunger, The Fountain thirst, The Light sleep, The Way be tired on its journey; That the Truth might be accused of false witness, The Teacher be beaten with whips, The Foundation be suspended on wood; That Strength might grow weak; That the Healer might be wounded; That Life might die. – Augustine

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