On a beautiful winter day last January, we decided to go for a family walk along the Menesetung Bridge in Goderich, Ont. I bundled our one-month old son in a sling under my coat, and my husband pulled our three-year old daughter in a wooden sled.

The sun beamed brightly and the ground was covered in snow. The Menesetung Bridge is located high above the Maitland River, overlooking the Salt Mine, Lake Huron, fishermen, beautiful trees and birds of various kinds. We walked along the Tiger Dunlop trail before starting our return trip to the parking lot.

As we approached the bridge, my daughter said, “Close your eyes, Mommy, I want to listen to the wind!” I dutifully closed my eyes, while thinking, Why do I need to close my eyes to listen to the wind? How are sight and hearing related? But I quickly realized that my daughter had said something profound.

Is it possible that there is noise in our lives that is visible, not audible? Is it possible that in looking at all there was to see on this beautiful day, I was missing out on the incredible sounds that might be heard? Is it possible that I have missed hearing something beautiful, maybe even the sound of God, because my life has become too noisy?

I have found that, as a working mother, words of Scripture that used to be comforting have started to feel condemning. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” These verses used to bring great encouragement, but in this new season of life they feel foreign.

I have a deep-rooted relationship with God, and an unquenchable desire to spend more time in his presence. But as a mother of young children, the invitation to rest and be still seems impossible to accept. If it's not a child calling for attention and help, it's a load of laundry waiting to be folded, dust bunnies partying in the corner, dishes drying in the rack, an unending e-mail inbox, a list of activities to plan…. My life is filled with constant noise! Sometimes the only stillness that seems possible is a few hours of sleep at night—whatever that looks like with a newborn.

My daughter's words made me realize that instead of trying to carve out a chunk of time to spend alone with God, all I needed to do was stop and listen. To hear God say, “Close your eyes. Be still, if only for the moment it takes to catch your breath. I am right here, with you.”

I am learning that life comes with the joy of varied seasons, and some of those seasons may be full of noise. While we cannot silence all of the noise, perhaps it is possible to close our eyes in the midst of chaos and still hear something incredible.

Lieutenant Laura Hickman is the corps officer at Suncoast Citadel in Goderich, Ont.


On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Karen Feltham said:

Beautiful article, spoken from the heart. Thank you Laura...today, I closed my eyes and listened to the birds sing. I also prayed for you as you find balance in the unbalance of life.

On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Brandi ledrew said:

Very well written Laura. Seems like Lily may have taught you a lesson that day and now that you have shared that lesson, it's helpful to me as well. God bless you and the family.

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