Embracing Silent Night

milky-way-984050_960_720I checked my email again this morning, and there was nothing.

No word. No perceived movement. No answers. I wanted a response before Christmas, but instead I’ve found myself dwelling in this silent space for months… An in-between standing where one foot is in the desert, while the other rests in the Promised Land. I’m holding on to hope, waiting for the invitation to come and join the world of published authors. And it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus picked the wrong girl to be a writer. Did He accidentally call my name when He meant to call my neighbor’s? Because my struggle with rejection has always been real, a fact that doesn’t jive well when hearing no’s or nothings. I’ve always wanted to be received and welcomed and chosen. The people-pleaser in me often assigns my worth according to accolades of others. But this publishing process is a whole new world, one with navigations and rules I never knew existed. It’s a slow-moving machine that often leaves me sitting in silence, wondering if I have what it takes. Wondering if it will ever happen. And as the voices begin to creep in, I try to drown them out before my heart begins to sink…

Maybe you should just turn back.

Maybe you are dreaming too big.

Maybe you are not that good.

Maybe it is not meant for you.

Maybe your God won’t come through… 

 It’s such an easy slope to slide down, especially when I’m prone to making myself feel low. As women, I think we tend to be experts at tearing ourselves apart, even if others can see our beauty and brightness in full. We look at our perceived flaws and forget our glory. We choose to focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. We look for affirmation and confirmation from different people, places and things, hoping they will tell us what our hearts need to hear… Are we loved just as we are, even with our broken and tattered parts? We pray so. We pray we don’t give in. Because when the feedback is negative or we hear nothing at all, we begin to believe the lies whispered to our souls in the silence.

But our mighty God is known for birthing miracles in the dead of the night.

In Bethlehem. In Judea. In our own homes…. A few evenings ago, I was rushing around, trying to get my oldest son in bed. I noticed he had ripped down his window curtains again, and in a flurry of frustration, I snapped at him and asked why on earth he kept doing it. He shot me a sideways grin and said, “Can you see the stars? I see new ones today.” His answer stopped me dead in my tracks. I couldn’t remember the last time I simply paused and looked at the stars. So there, in the stillness of my boy’s room, I stopped what I was doing, walked to the window and decided to stargaze. It was breathtaking. Twinkling lights shimmered above the neighboring houses, reminding me that silent nights can highlight unnoticed beauty in our lives. Even when things seem dark and voids of unanswered prayers exist, God’s promises will continue to shine through. These quiet moments calm our hearts and help us listen as our kind Creator speaks. He longs to show us what is true. He longs to show us who He is. He longs to tell us who we are.

Even though I wish my email box had plentiful replies from publishers and agents, I am grateful for the unknown void. Because this is where He has shown me. This is where He tells me I am worthy of His goodness, regardless of anyone else’s approval or acceptance. This is where He calls me His pride and joy. This is where His mercies are never-failing and His faithfulness reigns. Here, He holds my identity in the palms of His love-scarred hands, and nothing else can take that away from me. Book contracts do not define me. Social media doesn’t have a say. I am His Daughter and delight. I am His friend.

Dear Reader, this stillness is not only needed, it is sacred.

Without the pause we wouldn’t have the chance to reflect and receive. We wouldn’t have the opportunity to trust Him for His best. As we enjoy His presence, He welcomes us into His peace, and He blesses our hearts with real rest. So why should we rush it? Why worry or fret? Let’s linger in this holy place a little longer.

Let’s embrace our silent nights.

And choose to be with Him.