I first met Dennise when I taught her oldest son, Abram, in first grade. She was a diligent parent volunteer who surprised me with delicious treats like homemade sushi, chicken kelaguen, and red velvet muffins. We became fast friends and clearly kindred spirits. She is a stay-at-home mama and a faithful woman of prayer.
Dear Stay-At-Home-Mom, Work Mom, Tired Mom,
I signed myself up (and 16 of my church mammas) to a 3-day Silent Retreat. They all looked at me crazy, since most of our days consist of noise, a lot of it, never ending, loud, obstructive, annoying, pinging noise. We wake up to an alarm clock, our voices yelling the entire neighborhood to get up and get ready, screaming in our cars the expectations of the day to our children (maybe husband), going through in our minds all that has to be done today. Banging dishes, washing them, in and out of cars for pick up and drop off, the constant ringing of the solicitors, the reminder calls for doctor and dental appointments, wait, did I pray this morning? I better get to that too. Noise, it consumes us—the outside noise, the inner noise, the noise that frazzles and tires us.
Three days of silence had me riddled with anxiety because I have not- not heard noise in a very long time. Perhaps, I feared what silence would reveal to me, or the fear I would fail and be kicked out of the retreat for not following the rules, but mostly afraid that in a perfect opportunity to talk heart-to-heart with Jesus, I would not hear Him.
Silence magnifies the things that we wish remained hidden, the things in our lives that we push under the rug. Noise is an excuse for not listening and trying not to hear what Jesus is telling us in moments where we think we know better. I will admit that I am a perfectionist. I love organization and schedules that go along with pressed clothes and perfectly combed hair, but I also have a deep desire to know, love, and serve our Lord. Silence amplified the realization that I leave little room to invite Him in. Little room to work in my life because I exhaust myself to get it all done on my own… and sometimes forgetting He needs consent to work in me too.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
If I ask, he will deliver, if I seek, there He will be, if I knock my goodness what he can do with such a mess like me!
Silence didn’t bring clarity, it asked me a question, “Do I trust Him?” As tears rolled down my face at the answer I knew in my heart, I was embarrassed because I thought I really did trust Him. Silence allowed me to go on a date with Jesus; allow Him to see all my flaws I covered up so well, and allow his grace and mercy to heal me. The retreat refocused my anxious heart, my human worrisome nature, my perfectionist attitude—to slow down and TRUST HIM. Trust Him to love me because his love is perfect, guide me because he would never lead me astray, and sanctify me in my loneliest moments and in moments when I am not the best version of myself (because as moms we are far from perfect). It doesn’t matter to Him how imperfect I am because even in my ugliest, screaming, annoyed, and hard to love days, his love is unconditional. But I often ask myself, how am I allowing Him to love me? There is no sacrifice too great, no person not important enough because Jesus’ heart burns with love for me and for you… despite how tired and unholy you feel or how you just aren’t getting it right at all some days.
Where your treasure is there your heart will be also – Matthew 6:19
As the retreat ended, I asked myself one more question, is Jesus my treasure? Do I teach my children enough about learning and growing in communion with Jesus, so they store their treasures in heaven with Him? Silence woke a very tired mom up, to learn how to submit and trust my life, my family’s life to Him. Where my heart is, there is my treasure, and I want it to be with Jesus, deeply.
Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10
We might not have the opportunity to go away on a silent retreat for 3-days, but I’ve been challenging myself to be still—5 minutes or 10 minutes—to allow Jesus to ready myself for the day. I challenge you. Allow Jesus to heal our imperfections, so we do them as He provides the graces to do it. Allow Jesus to show you forgiveness, so that in times of frustration we love like He would love. Be still sisters, allow God to transform you into the person He already knows you have potential to be… allow Him to speak to you in the gentle breeze of silence.
This post was written by Dennise Santos especially for the One Story Series at Made For Today. She is a Stay-At-Home-Mom to 3. She is a military spouse and Religious Education Coordinator for her church where she is also the Women Lay Lead.