It’s just me. Just me behind the wheel of the Stagecoach, sitting in the parking lot, listening. I should turn off the car, but I’m staring out the dirty window at the gravel outside and this song hasn’t finished yet.
There are also – I guess I should mention this – six kids in the car with me. But they’re being quiet for the moment, and in just a second they’ll ask if we’re going in or not. So in this moment, in the quiet before the chaos, we just soak.
All day long, questions, questions. Needs. Messes. Arguments. Why do children – or adults, for that matter – ask you a question just so they can disagree with the answer? I dunno. But it drains me. You too?
I am empty and need refilled and so I sit. Just me, empty and waiting. Because I know what comes when I pause to listen.
When I show up, He does, too.
It’s nothing dramatic. No lit candles, no soft music, no clean, spacious, uncluttered floors. I’m learning to listen in the middle of the mess, because waiting until after the kids are asleep is way too far away to refill when my tank is empty by dinner. When you have only 20 miles of gas left in the tank and 100 miles to go, sometimes there’s only a brief few seconds to regroup.
Sometimes I coast on fumes to the laundry room and stick my head in the pantry, pretending to look for ingredients for dinner, and just wait a few minutes right there.
Sometimes Sophie comes with me. One of these days the kids will ask why it takes me so long to find the pasta, and I will tell them that we’re just having a staff meeting. That’ll throw them a little.
So today we waited in the parking lot. The song ended and we walked into church, mismatched socks and everything. At least we all had shoes.
(Some of us had sandals that showed off the mismatched socks. Awesome.)
We walk in and find Vince, who is already there and waiting for us. We sing, listen to announcements and a message. The tank is filling, filling…
And then we worship more. He’s been there the whole time, but the volume is louder now.
We are singing, singing…
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
And I know these words of His are not for me this time. They’re for the little girl standing next to me with a broken past and questionable future, and I put my right hand on top of her head.
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You
I fight fear all the time because I know I can’t heal the abuse, the memories, the past, the regression, the behavior. The only way to fight fear is with faith, which comes by hearing. Even when it doesn’t match what we’re seeing…yet.
My left arm is reaching, reaching upward for more of Him because we are empty, empty otherwise.
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things out of us
You make me new
– Gungor, Beautiful Things
My left hand is reaching for Him and my right hand is on her.
You are making me new…
And He tells me, You are a conduit so I can fill her, too.
She needs it every day, too. She needs us to fight fear for her. She needs our words to speak life out of the chaos for her…so the broken past can be healed and her questions can have happy, healing answers.
He can’t flow through if I’m on empty. If I don’t show up, I can’t hear Him.
If He doesn’t show up, I have no words…and we can’t have that.
P.S. Next month – coming soon! – I’ll be participating in 31 Days, a challenge to blog every day through the month of October. The posts will be short(er) and our series here will be Wait and Listen: 31 Days from Chaos to Quiet. Hope you can make it…you can either check back here or go to our facebook page for links as the posts go live.
I think He’ll be showing up in some big ways to meet with us.