Just the other day I snapped this picture of my eldest son in our family room, and remembered how I had planned to decorate that wall this summer. But the time got away somehow, and I'm still left with all that white space.
When I pick up a home decorating magazine in the checkout line, or scroll through Instagram, I suddenly feel this overwhelming urge to frame pictures and buy mirrors, hanging them all together in some eclectic pattern that compliments our LOUD orange couch and ragamuffin boys.
Only... all that white space feels calming in a home full of rough and tumble sons rolling pell-mell out of bed and straight into conflict and loud happy sounds each day. So much noise. Noise and boys and noisy boys assail my sensibilities from Son up til Son down. And smack dab in the middle of the cacophony I can't bring myself to decorate those white walls - because I need space to breath.
Do you know what all that empty space says about me? I need a lot of white space. A LOT of white space! Quiet lovely white spaces that feel like white noise... when there isn't any of that. Walls without tons of color and countertops without tons of clutter.
Which is why all the noise that comes with boys feels like stress on each and every nerve. Because I experience beauty and comfort in the empty spaces. Always have - I can see that looking back now. How I couldn't have a roommate in college because I needed long stretches of quiet. But that's not possible today, because these little roommates are my children! Though I function best in the quiet, and love clutter free places... I have boys.
I'm sure there are hundreds of lists compiled by hundreds of boymoms about where to go to refresh in sweet quiet, as to cope with all that boy-noise. But today I'm curious what God's Word would have me do. Though we admonish one another to get-away and find some peace, today I want to know where His Word would send me to find it. What Scriptures would best guide me through the labyrinth of LOUD? What passages can lead me amidst the constant rowdy soundtrack of my days in search of peace?
And so, if your trigger to feeling overwhelmed in this mothering life is the ceaseless noise there in your home and in your car, at Target, on the way to church, and everywhere you go when they come too... When what you lack is quiet, causing you to explode, then let's consider together where God tells us our peace can best be found... "For He Himself is our peace..." (Ephesians 2:14a)
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." And the fruit that we desperately desire when we feel chaos pressing in through our ears, in through our feminine pores, from all the rambunctious boy sounds is peace. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Abiding in Him is the only white space that can ever truly bring our blood pressure down and still the quaking in our overwhelmed souls. Though a mani/pedi sounds divine, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." (John 14:27) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."(John 16:33)
I'm stringing these verses together believing they just might be the answer for some of us. For those of us who can't seem to cope with all the noise that just won't stop.
And so instead of a list of where to go, let's consider together when to go... to Him... for He is the peace in our days... the space when space is tight... the quiet Spirit to our loud life. Consider with me when and how to run to Him, abide in Him, find our stabilizing peace in Him, during the crazy making days raising boys who make noise, raising noisy boys.
In the morning - come to Him.
Open up His Word - sanctified in Him.
Over your coffee - turn to Him.
Cuddling close during naps - speak of Him.
Over snacks - thanking Him.
Making dinner - praising Him.
Correcting loud conflicts - even then, with Him.
Oh I pray this feels practical and not elusive, because He is real and ready to hold you when you start to shake within and without. And the more often you turn to Him in your explosive moments, the more His peace will become you so that those moments don't happen near so much. What I'm saying is... turn to Him so often, that you end up looking at Him all the time!
Remain all day "In Him" - and He will remain all day "In you" and you will bear this fruit of peace, though the mountains seem to rattle and shake beneath your feet and your heart grows wearier than you think you can bear. Remain. In. Him. Press into Him. Refuse to leave Him. And then, having done everything, to stand firm. Keep standing... In Him.
This post was inspired by a group of over 8,000 women who meet together for encouragement on a private facebook page each day. Women who struggle with mom-rage. Some of them learned it from generations of angry women before them, while others are surprised by this sin-tendency and have no one to blame but themselves - though many blame their children.
Currently, my dear friend Amber Lia and I are leading them from a series addressing 43 common triggers that threaten to send moms off the deep end. Our encouragement has very little to do with addressing the child's behavior, focusing instead on a mother's right biblical response. We'd love to have you join us. The Facebook page is hosted by The MOB Society (MOB = Mothers of boys) and is called "No More Angry MOB", and you are welcome there.