Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Unwrapping the Gift of Space & Stillness

We sat around our tables Thanksgiving Day, each one offering this year's specific gratitudes. My dad said he was grateful to still be working hard at a job he loves. My husband also gave thanks for a job he enjoys and for some much-needed time off from that job to rest and spend time with family. 

And then it was my turn.  

I said, Well, I'm thankful that I don't have a job.

We all laughed, including me. But the thing is, I actually wasn't kidding.

Me not having a job, it's not entirely true. I'm a wife, a mom to three kids, and a writer. I have plenty to do and by each day's end, it's never all done.

But for thirteen years I lived life in a breathless sort of state. Often juggling. Often stressing. Often dealing with heavy things. Always striving. My soul rarely rested for more than a few moments at a time. 

And then two years ago it all changed. I couldn't keep going like that. After years as a working mom outside the home and then a homeschooling mom inside the home, we decided to change up everything.

We put the kids in school and removed everything possible from my plate. We resolved to simplify, say no, rest, and heal. 

And we have. By God's grace and mercy, we have. And in many ways, we still are.

Though I've gradually added things back in--one morning a week doing art with kindergarteners, saying yes to opportunities that tug on my heart, more writing--I have space in my life to breathe. 

Two years later and I'm just as grateful. It still seems too good to be true. And though I don't know how long this sort of respite will last, I receive it as a gift while I have it.

Yesterday morning I sat in fuzzy pajamas on the sofa, the fire and lit-up Christmas tree as my backdrop. My husband had left for work and the kids were at school. Even the dog was napping in another room. 

It was just me and Jesus. 

There I was, the first Monday of Advent, still and reflective and able to offer up my time and anxieties and words to God. 

I soaked in the presence of Christ himself and He equipped me for the demands that would come calling throughout the rest of the day.

I breathed in stillness and exhaled thanks.

This time, this space, this ability to just slow and breathe and receive, I drink it down as one who thirsted long in the desert and finally arrived at oasis.

So on this first Tuesday of Advent, I unwrap the gift of quiet and stillness and communion. 

Perhaps you can too? Whatever your frenzied state, I invite you to carve out space, no matter how small, to still your soul and receive the peace of Christ himself. Maybe it's in pick-up line or in the few moments you have to shower or while you fix the coffee or stir the soup.

Wherever you are in the midst of these breathless days, take time to rest your soul, to inhale grace, and to exhale gratitude. 


This post is linked up to "Tuesdays Unwrapped" with Emily over at Chatting at the Sky. Join us as we "take the time to unwrap the small, secret gift of the everyday."

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  1. I am so thankful for the difficult decisions you made (and continue to make) that have created margins. Margins allow for moments.


  2. I'm in the frenzied, breathless, frantic state of life. Working, two small boys, too many committments even though I feel like I say no to everything? And I've been up since 5am trying to carve a little time out for myself even though I'll be exhausted by the end of the day from such an early wake up.

    My heart craves some stillness and quiet. I need to unwrap some of that too.

    YOur words always offer encouragement to my heart. Thank you.

  3. I so totally get your delight in being free from that outside job... the gift it is to you. Beautiful piece of writing expressing things of my own heart too. I could just see you there by your tree light, holding heart and hand with the Lord. Blessings to you this season! Visiting from Emily's...~ Pam, http://wordglow.wordpress.com

  4. I love this. Part of me wants to homeschool desperately. The other part of me - the tired part - craves what you have. We still have a few years to make that decision. But...okay...rambling...

    I just love this post and how you are soaking up rest and saying no and healing. I just love it.


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