Words and noise can fill a day. The phone rings and a dear friend and I talk about her trial and the way the Lord is moving despite difficulties. We share encouraging words and pray together. My work calls and I hear of their needs and deadlines. I take notes and plan words for reports. A friend pops in and we share thoughts and hopes over Mexican food for lunch. We talk and we smile. All around me the noise of boyhood lived out loud fills the day. My youngest is singing. Both boys wildly bounce through the room on hippity-hops. They laugh, bang, talk, shout, play music. After school and into the evening we host neighbors. The back yard teems with friendly war cries, Nerf swords drawn.
It is not here, in this hum of life that I find my voice. At times, when there is a need, my voice will come, because God calls it out to answer a pain and to share His love in the midst of a dark time. A friend who has come bearing a weight too large — she needs an ear more than words, so I hold my tongue and I let my soul and presence be the words she needs. I speak at the end of our time together, but it is not the speaking that ministers as much as the heart He has cultivated within me. A friend calls for prayer. Words come from our hearts in agreement as we share our burdens and our blessings and call out with thanksgiving and supplication to our God who loves us and gave us one another. The pouring of the voice comes from a heart filled and grounded.
A voice comes from the heart. My voice has come. It has grown up in this heart.
Wounds had stifled the risk of speaking and even greater, the risk of being silent. Wounds can still make me retreat and want to pack up this voice and leave the places where I am heard and stop being courageous and go to the safety of solitude. Then I remember. I remember that God has given me the voice and He has loved this heart enough to give me the words and the places to speak. The places of holding my tongue come from Him as well.
Silence is golden.
Speaking means risking.
We can speak out of turn and then it is not our voice, but the voice of anxiety, pride or brokenness which fills a void. My true voice has come from the silent places. When I have been willing to still and sit I have been unraveled and I have sat in discomfort. Silence has not been the easy road. Solitude has not always been the comfortable place. As I have said, “no” and cut back from the busyness, I have made places of quiet where I am seen and vulnerable. The broken places are open to Him and He comes. Silence can ultimately bring a balm of peace. In silence I hear Him and I can receive the echo which I share in the lives of others.
My sheep hear my voice. His voice. He speaks — the still, small voice. How are we to hear the voice if we do not come away from the din of life? We must slow. We must make the space. We must take the risk of quiet to find our true voice.
On the best of days I pull away from the hum and bustle, even for a moment, and I am with Him alone. I don’t fill that void with my agenda, stack of devotional books, planned study of His Word or all my list of requests. All of those elements have their place in my walk, but in this quiet, I merely pour out and I sit open to receive. I call out to Him and I sit in waiting.
When my boys were infants and I was relegated to functioning with one arm for most tasks and I rarely sat unless I was nursing, and night and day bled together, I didn’t find the still places as easily. Seasons come when even the thought of stillness and solitude evades us. It simply is impossible to still as we would like in these times. In those days I would prop His Word on the recipe book stand in the kitchen and I would cruise by it in the midst of the day. I would pause and glean a verse — a word, a drop of water for a weary and parched soul — and I would return to my mothering with a bit of refreshment.
As the boys have aged, they have learned to do things on their own for a time. I am able to go to a chair in my room, settle in and still my thoughts. I can refresh myself and redirect my thoughts by reading His Word or my devotion, but then I must be still. I am able to sit in His presence and pour out and wait. I fast from words and I open for His presence.
I have sat in solitude and found Him present. He has given me words to speak and a heart to encourage and bless. I have found my voice. I am finding my voice.