Living Pages

Let me leave margins of silence
Around the activities of the day,
Letting you write down there
Whatever it is You would say.
Then looking backward, I find,
No matter how much I revise,
It is in Your footnotes
That the heart of my life lies.
-        Elizabeth Searle Lamb

Yesterday morning there was one quiet hour before everybody else got up.There is something about sitting in complete silence with just coffee and God that I need in the morning. I woke up with fatigue, and anxiety about the day, and after an hour, I left my corner of the couch with enough caffeine and a new lens to look at everything through.

After a little reading and praying, I asked God a question and sat in silence for a little while to see if I felt any direction.  The idea that came to mind was to tell each of my three sons one thing I respect about him.  I had not been thinking about the kids at all, and that idea felt new, so I wrote it down and planned to do it.

At bedtime, as I was saying goodnight to each boy, I told him one thing that I respected about him. The two younger ones smiled, and that was about it. The oldest, my tween, took that opportunity to get chatty. He didn’t say thanks, or anything. He just started telling me all about his day. It doesn’t happen very often, so I savored that chance to have a long conversation.

Would I have done that if I hadn’t written it down that morning? No. There is one thing I have learned over so many years of reading, praying and listening in the morning; if I hear an unexpected direction or idea, I write it down.

I can look back through my journal pages at the things I write down; usually one or two things each day. Sometimes I do the things I write down, and sometimes I don’t. If I don’t do the thing, nothing bad happens, but nothing good happens either – it’s neutral.

But when I follow through on these intentional things that I hear from God in the morning…these things end up being the highlights of my days or weeks. “It is in Your footnotes that the heart of my life lies.”  

If my 11-year-old looks back on his kid years and thinks about how his Mom respected him, it will be because of these “margins of silence.” If anyone else in my life feels loved and cheered on, it is because I have tried to tune in to hear God’s ideas for how I should be today. (The reverse is also true – if someone in my life feels judged or belittled by me, then I haven’t been tuning in to the voice of God).  

What do you get to hear in your “margins of silence”?

Check out the podcast Fight Hustle, End Hurry by Jeff Bethke and John Mark Comer, episode 4. Silence.

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