Written by Christie Massey
Since I was a kid, I have always delighted in discovering the beauty and mystery within nature. Running barefoot in the yard, exploring hidden places in the woods, naming wildflowers with my mom – I have countless memories like these, each filled with a sense of childlike wonder and excitement. All of the moments, holding an ounce of magic that Creation somehow works together in the miraculous way that it does.
Creation has a funny way of also teaching lessons that we typically do not wish to learn.
As I entered into this Lenten season, my forest of color and light had been cold and dark and silent as the winter. This year, and many before that, has been filled with countless times of confusion, frustration, hurt, anger, and crying out to God. I had been finding myself in a continual cycle of nagging, painful, unanswered questions – faced with a God who I knew loved me, but who felt silent and distant.
When I decided to give up social media for Lent, it seemed like the standard millennial thing to do. I knew it would be personally helpful – probably allow me to be more present and productive, and to not rely on silly likes and comments as a shallow form of validation. But I don’t think I anticipated enjoying it quite as much as I have these past five weeks.
Suddenly the silence itself became something to explore. Clearing my mind of all the clutter allowed me space to breathe, space to wander, and get real. The silence of God no longer felt like a cruel way of leaving me to my own devices – but it was a place where I was romanced, and could just be. Even if being meant being angry and mentally shouting at God. Or if being meant that I could hear from Him in a still and quiet way that I never have before. What has been most precious in this time is moments of Jesus quietly whispering answers in the midst of confusion, and gently taking down the bricks of my wall that keep me from Him, and from others.
This Lenten season has helped me navigate the silence and stillness with a new sense of authenticity in the waiting. The tree, whose roots of faith have grown deep throughout the years, does not fear that the spring will never come. But rather, rests in the promise that the Creator makes all things new in His perfect time.
A Prayer, from June 2018:
“May my lips remain silent before you,
lest I be put to shame by the folly that is within me.
May I stand quiet before you, O God,
so that you may speak life into the void,
or conviction, or healing, or discipline.
Silence my tongue and still my mind,
that this wayward heart might be attentive long enough
to find her coordinates back to you.”