"No TV today."
I said it in a voice that tried to convey how serious I was. The looks on their little faces were priceless. First world problems mixed with the stubbornness of toddlers and preschoolers... they weren't buying it. I handed my two oldest (a 4 year old and an almost 3 year old) each a paper towel and began squirting the windows with cleaner.
"Let's work on helping Mom clean today."
They looked down at the paper towel, looked at me, looked at each other, smirked, and started rubbing the windows.
So far.. so good.
As they quietly worked on the task at hand, I knew I needed to explain why it's important to get quiet during the day. Have you ever tried to explain quietness to a wiggly toddler? Especially a BOY toddler? I want them so badly to understand that we get quiet so that we can listen. Listen to Mom, listen to each other, and most importantly listen to God. In my book, someones character becomes evident in the simple fact of how well they listen.
I then began to explain how quietness helps us listen to God. Knowing (as an adult) that this fact of life is crucial, I want to instill it in my children. But honestly trying to explain it to a little toddler is hard. I resign myself to the fact that about 20% of what I am already fumbling to say is being absorbed. Hopeful that the truth they heard will one day stick, I send them off to go and play without any television.
As the minutes go by I begin to hear a conversation between my two oldest through the baby monitor.
Sterling: I wants to watch TV.
Selah: No bub, Mom said we have to listen to God.
Sterling: Puz (cause), Why?
Selah: Because He wants us to listen. Remember, she said that He wants to talk to us.
A little flicker of pride swells up in my heart. 20% absorption, folks. My kids may turn out alright after all!!
After some time I hear little feet run up behind me. I turn around and a concerned Selah hands me a walkie talkie.
Mom: What's wrong?
Selah: It needs batteries.
Mom: No, it seems to be working fine. See! The light is on. That means the batteries are working.
Selah: But why is God not answering me? (yelling into it) GOD?!? Do you hear me?
I could not help but burst out laughing as I hugged my sweet girl, affirming and encouraging her. I want and need her to know how much I love her heart. I can only imagine the deep belly laugh that took place in heaven when God himself saw what took place. He has the utmost compassion for me as I fumble my way through explaining things to my kids.
Life can be challenging these days. I know I am not alone because I see the millions of "mommy" articles out there that try and encourage women just like you and me. Tired and desperately clinging to the hope that we are making a difference. As I get quiet at night, my mind races. Quietness is often hard for adults. Not because we are wiggly but because our reality is glaringly obvious in those moments. When we aren't distracted by television, our jobs, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and the natural hustle and bustle of our culture, we are left with who we truly are and what our life looks like. That very thing can engulf a person if they aren't then seeking out God in the quietness. If my thirst for God doesn't drown out the world, then often times I fall asleep feeling defeated because I didn't do this or that or whatever the circumstance may be.
Prayer and reading God's word is a sweet and simple concoction that fuels my soul when the depths of me feel like a desert. We all need quiet. Are you being quiet with God? Or are you running to and fro with a walkie talkie in hand desperately yelling at God to respond? Take a moment and take your finger off of the button and listen. Put down the enlightening articles on Facebook and pick up the most important book ever written. He has something to tell us.