Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Amazing grace sounds like the squeals and laughter of three little boys running around our home. It rarely sounds like silence anymore. There was a time when I could spend hours in silence. I used to go on silent retreats and not speak for three days! Those days are long gone. But its okay. I like the noise. It reminds me that life and joy fills our home.
I am amazed by the grace of the noise I hear. I love the sound of little toddler feet tromping through the living room, shod with blue suede boots. I love the sound of my big boys using their imaginations to play heroes fighting monster aliens together, working out the details of their next plan to save the world. I love the sound of the conversation Tim and I share around the kitchen table, with the chatter and clatter of our sons rumbling in the background, discovering the common ground of our days.
It's all just very normal and ordinary. Sometimes it is hard to believe I went to seminary and got a 90 hour degree just so I could discovery Jesus in the day to day chaos of raising three sons. We expect the big God moments to be wrapped in the extraordinary, to emerge from the amazing and dazzling. Instead we find His presence hiding in the simplicity of making dinner, helping with homework, giving baths, and reading a bedtime story.
The last several months Tim and I have been spending the last moments of our sons' day, telling them stories, reading the Bible, singing songs, having prayer. Each night I choose a memory to share with them, often from my own childhood, ordinary moments often touched in some way by God's hand. At the time, I didn't realize God's fingerprints were there. It's in the telling that they begin shining through, piercing the darkness of my boys' bedroom with Light. I want them to know that God is with them, loving them, filling them with His goodness. I want them to cherish each moment, to inhale it deeply, and live it loudly. Blessedly they've got that last part. I just want them to know how sweet this life is that we've been given together. I want them to know how grateful my own heart is to know them as my sons.
My prayer is that one day they will find themselves in another dimly lit bedroom with their own children, recalling the splendor of childhood. I pray that they will remember how good it was to be a brother, sharing adventures that only brothers can share. I pray that they will see the hand of God emerge from the recesses of each memory plucked from the past and served to their own children with love and tenderness. I pray that they will share the wisdom that is being wrought in these noisy days of grace, that it's power and goodness will not be lost on them, that they will see beyond the details of an ordinary life to the splendid beauty of God's Life being breathed into theirs. I pray they will shine with love and gratitude, the way my heart shines now.
It is all so amazing to me. Mostly because I never thought this life would be available to me, for all kinds of reasons. So the noise is really quite wonderful, and a constant reminder of how God's grace quietly permeates our daily lives, until one day we look around us amazed at how sweet and beautiful this life really is.