The Best Way to Refresh a Weary Soul
The following post was written by Alicia Bruxvoort. Please see her bio below and follow her - you won't be disappointed!
We were wrapping up our evening meal on the deck when his green eyes shifted from the sliver of pink watermelon in his hand to the streaks of salmon sunlight hovering above the tree line.
The colors of summer harvest that had been splattered across our dinner plates seemed to have been swallowed by the sinking sun.
“It’s gonna be a great sunset tonight,” my youngest boy declared as I gathered dirty plates and crumb-dusted platters, wrinkled napkins and empty milk glasses.
“Mmmhmmm....” I murmured, barely glancing at the heavens.
My mind was fixed on those dirty dishes that needed scrubbing and the dirty feet that needed baths, on bedtime books and clean pajamas and the slice of serenity I’d savor once my sun-kissed kids were tucked beneath their covers.
“Can we chase it, Mom? Can we?”
He was grabbing his dusty flip-flops from beneath the picnic table as he asked, sliding those bright blue shoes over his filthy feet and doing a happy hop of anticipation.
I juggled the bowl with a few baby potatoes stuck cold to the bottom, grabbed a handful of silverware and the near-empty tub of butter and eyed my smallest son.
He cocked his head and flashed me a persuasive grin.
I returned his smile and headed toward the kitchen.
“C’mom, Mom,” Joshua said. “It’s what we do.”
I’d already spent the day chasing fast feet across the yard and chasing the dog around the neighborhood. I’d chased down missing keys, missing shoes, and missing soccer socks. I’d chased my sanity in circles as I carted kids between ball practices and babysitting jobs, piano lessons and social outings. And the only thing I really felt like chasing at the end of that long summer’s day was a cup of tea and a little peace and quiet.
But years ago, when my days were drenched in diapers and my nights were a blur of babies, God began to show me that my quest for quiet is often just an ache for awe.
And when I’m feeling tired and glazed, what I may need most is to look beyond myself and be amazed.
Let’s face it, motherhood is a complex mix of glory and grit. It’s beautiful and boring, delightful and discouraging. Challenging and mindless. And sometimes what is more exhausting than the sleepless nights is the prosaic days. Sometimes more wearisome than the cranky toddlers or the sulky teens is the monotonous maintenance of the daily grind. And if we’re gut-real honest about the “hard” of motherhood, we might all admit that more than a quiet reprieve from the raucous, we’re desperate for a heart-rending run-in with the marvelous.
And so it was there- in that bone-tired season of motherhood when little ones hung on my limbs and needy ones tugged at my patience--that the Lord invited me to take hold of a different kind of quiet...A solace for my soul rather than a shelter from the noise.
Wonder is Heaven’s Hush. It slows our feet. Quiets our souls. Breathes life into our battered and broken places. Wonder doesn’t change our circumstances; it changes our perspective.
Wonder reminds us that God is big and we are small, and we don’t need to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders because He’s already got the whole world in His hands.
When we become chasers of wonder, we don’t have to flee to refuel. We don’t have to wait to be refreshed until the kids fall asleep or the babysitter shows up or our husband whisks us away. We can find marvels in the mayhem rather than banking our hopes on a break from the bedlam.
When we become chasers of wonder, we choose to believe that there is something hallowed in the humdrum, something divine in the daily grind.
When we become chasers of wonder, we lean into the moments rather than merely pressing through them.
We take time to lay beneath the bright blue sky and find pictures in the clouds. We study caterpillar on the sidewalk and stars in the velvet night. We wish on snow white dandelions seeds as they waltz with the wind. We run barefoot across the sand and stand still under a canopy of trees. We dance in the living room and dance in the rain and expect that the One who sings over us is dancing with us, too (Zephaniah 3:17).
But here’s the thing about wonder--
We can’t plan it or produce it; we can’t script it or schedule it.
We can simply seize it and receive it; heed it and hold it.
The dishes are soaking in the sink now and the dishes seem to glow orange as the last rays of sunlight stream silent through the kitchen window.
I glance at the sky, alight with the sun’s fiery farewell, and I holler at my boy through the dusty screen.
“We’d better hurry if we’re gonna catch it!”
The deck turns into a flurry of hurry and the kids race for the mini van.
We pull out of the driveway and head two miles down the road to the beach. We climb breathless up the giant sand dune and find our spot at the top.
We sit on the cold sand and watch as the sky turns cotton candy pink and the sun sinks orange into the lake with a blaze of beauty and wordless grace.
‘Cause that’s what we do.
And as the last beam of sunlight slips beneath the horizon, I take a deep breath and let wonder still my soul with a holy hush.
Alicia Bruxvoort is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team who is passionate about helping women discover abundant life in Christ. A mom of five fabulous kids and wife to that cute boy she met in fifth grade, Alicia’s laundry baskets are never empty, her soul sometimes is. That’s why she’s an avid chaser of wonder and a celebrator of the every day. Alicia is a storyteller at heart and is a frequent speaker at moms’ groups and women’s retreats. But her favorite tale is the one she lives daily with her family along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan in Holland, MI. Get to know Alicia more at The Overflow www.aliciabruxvoort.net or on Twitter @AliciaBruxvoort or on Facebook at Alicia-Bruxvoort-The-Overflow