I want to thank Gi for recommending my blog for so many awards. She has touched my heart. But I've also been wrestling with a bit of internal conflict over this. I love the idea behind blog awards, how they encourage bloggers and help you to know that your voice is heard (and this really comes in handy on the day when you find yourself talking to your dog, telling him about your life, because no one else is listening!). But there is some protocol with receiving awards and taking responsibility for that award's intention and passing that award onward. I'm terrible with protocol. I'm behind on my social graces and visits to other blogs.
If you want a lovely Biblical phrase to explain how I feel right now, I would say I am hid in the cleft of the Rock. But a more accurate description is that God has cornered me, I have holed up in my house, things got very quiet in my life these last couple months, and I am now getting a bit used to this monastic existence. Ask my best friend, Mu, if this is true: I think I have seen her only once since my son left for college in late August.
And just when I finally got used to the quiet time God had put me in (it might even be called a Time Out), I got a couple interesting inquiries this month, out of the blue, concerning my writing and my blogging. This happened just when I had been journaling for a week about laying down my need to write, laying down my desire to write a book (or two or three). I had even contemplated ending my blog, Faith Fuel. There wasn't anger or frustration or resentment over this concluding thought. There was, instead, a sense that God had called me down a quiet, untraveled path for no other reason than to take me away from the need to have my voice heard.
I am one of five children, second to the youngest, and I'm the middle daughter. I had a great need to have my voice be heard when I was growing up, but I didn't say much. It was hard to get a word in. And besides, "Holly",my imaginary friend and diary, was such a good listener, and my father wasn't, and I didn't have any idea of who I was yet. So I didn't say much.
Then I married a beautiful quiet man (well, quiet in comparison to the loud, volatile family I had grown up in), and he had the time and was interested in wanting to know what I thought, how I felt. Along the way, these past 24 years, I started to grasp that God's love for me was a lot like my husband's love for me. God was opening my heart up and I started to pour out my thoughts and my hopes and...I didn't want to stop talking to Him, telling Him my dreams, trusting Him with my deepest thoughts.
I've grown and I'm not that quiet girl anymore. I've had no fear, these last number of years, about writing out my thoughts, talking out my ideas, expressing my wishes. I've been verbal and I've been emphatic and I've been expressive and I gesticulate a lot when I talk. But in the last couple months, I've gotten quieter. I'm not speaking monthly at Women's LIFE, like I was. I'm not sending out articles or trying to let my voice be heard. And I got weaned of the need to be heard.
Other than writing on my blog, I've been contemplative and quiet, a bit somber in my solitude but not sad, really. I might have been a tad depressed dealing with my son's absence at first, but then it turned into this extended Time Out period from God- and I didn't get put there specifically because I was bad and had acted up terribly. I know that. I think God put me in Time Out so that I would know the sound of His Voice and quit caring about the sound of my own.
I don't know whether I'm about to be taken out of this Time Out or whether I'll be in this cozy quietness for a while longer. But I don't feel hurt or betrayed by God- even if I might have at first. I had always read that Jesus spent a lot of time continually withdrawing from crowds in order to be alone with His Father, in prayer, in soul searing reflection. They were literal times of him kneeling on dry ground, in prayer, perhaps so that his heart would not become dull and dry.
I might not ever have a book published and my voice may just go as far as this blog. Then again, it could wind up shouting from mountain tops or across radio air waves. Who knows where and how God will let your voice be heard? I just know I have to give my all to hear His voice. And if I hear Him better holed up in my house, homeschooling my daughter, spending lots of time alone and in reflection- then so be it.
"It's ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God- but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people- and this is not learned in five minutes," writes Oswald Chambers. I am an ordinary woman living an unnoticed life- for the most part- and yet my existence is noticed by the Creator of the Universe and His eyes are on me, so I'm all ears. It's His Voice that I want heard round the world, after all. His Voice.