My life has followed a trajectory of gradual slowness over the past couple of years. I slowed down quite a bit when I was pregnant with the twins, then further once they were born, and—along with the rest of the world—slowed to a complete halt last March. Our family began to pick up the pace over the summer, but then we started homeschooling in August, followed by my mental health crisis in the fall, and an intensified crisis this past month. [And then we got really, really slow when we lost power for a few days three weeks ago and a snow storm kept us trapped in our frigid home. . . but that’s another story!] Outings have been limited, routines have been simplified, and access to the broader world (both virtual and personal) has been intentionally (and sometimes unintentionally) reined in.
At first glance, this slowing and simplifying seems contrary to my theme of Wonder for 2021. We serve a BIG GOD who in the past has revealed Himself to me through community, through natural wonders, and through service. With a limiting of my exposure to grandeur and activity, am I curtailing opportunities to experience the Lord?
I had been mulling over this concern for a while when I came across this passage in My Utmost For His Highest:
“We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God’s power . . . and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.”– Oswald Chambers
My fear that I wouldn’t be able to see God had everything to do with me and NOTHING to do with Him. It’s true that God is the creator of this vast universe and all the wonders it contains, but He also took care in creating each small blade of grass in my yard, each songbird that sits on the tree outside my window, each icicle hanging from my backyard fence, each tiny eyelash adorning my children’s lids, and even the synapses of my own brain. As the creator of these tiny wonders, His fingerprints and His very presence can be revealed to me through them.
God is always present, it’s only my own distracted blindness that has kept me from seeing and sensing Him. Through reducing activities, limiting my media consumption, and making space for stillness, silence, mindfulness, and prayer, I have begun to experience the Lord like never before. I am witnessing minute miracles in my heart and my family. I am discovering profound new truths in Scriptures that seem refreshingly new despite my having read them countless times before. God has spoken to me through my journaling and through conversations with friends and family and even through my daily routines. Commonplace habits have grown sacred as I have awakened to Christ’s small, beckoning voice.
I should not be surprised by these revelations. After all, when God made His way to this earth, He chose the humblest means possible. As a child born in a barn who spent years working with his hand before ever performing a miracle or preaching to a crowd, Jesus’ life was one of simplicity, surrounded by ordinary people and marked by quotidian practices and rest. Jesus connected to His Father through stillness and plainly spoken prayer. Why should I feel the need for more in my own connection to the Father?
I can’t maintain this slowed pace forever, but my hope is that as life begins to pick up again, I will carry this new gift of awareness with me. Heavenly Father, please continue to make Your presence known to me through all things, big and small. Awaken my eyes and my heart to the wonder that is all around. Give me ears to hear your still, small voice that invites me into worship and communion with you.