In the hills of Tennessee, where the river winds along, there’s a county so small that you’d never know it existed, unless you belonged to it. There are old farm houses surrounded by hills of green grass, where cows graze. In springtime, daffodils grow wild in the yards and in summer, the gardens are full of beans, sweet corn, and strawberries. Inside several of the houses are women who have spent their entire lives in that small bend in the road. They married their sweethearts, tended their farms, raised their babies, served in their small churches, planted their summer gardens, pruned their trees, watered their flowers, prayed in the quiet of the morning, and grew old. They are a generation who never dreamed of crossing oceans or making a name for themselves. They sowed and reaped in the boundaries they were given, content to live and die in the same small community to which they were born.
My fascination with these women, one of whom is my own grandmother, has grown stronger in recent years. I grew up traipsing through their yards with my cousins when we would visit my grandparents’ farm. My visits through the years have become far less frequent, perhaps allowing me to notice more distinctly the change in their white hair and wrinkled hands.
When I show up at church, after years away, they tell me that they’ve been praying for me. And I know they actually mean it. They are a fading generation of women. A generation whose lives deeply impacted our nation. They seem almost the antithesis of what the world beckons me to become. They are not “world changers,” or “catalytic influencers.” I’ve never heard my grandmother use the word “impact,” at least not the way my generation uses it. Their lives are quiet.
The quiet rhythm of daily life is a gift from our Creator.
The quiet rhythm of daily life is a gift from our Creator. The sun rises and the sun sets. Seasons come and seasons go. The splendor of the universe isn’t just in the majesties that take our breath away, but also in the patterns that are fixed reminders of a very mundane created order. We are reminded daily of our own smallness by the needs with which our bodies were made. We need sleep. But God neither slumbers nor sleeps. We need food, daily bread to sustain our bodies. But God has neither hunger nor thirst. In His mercy, He sends the rain and the sun and causes the ground to grow all sorts of nourishment.
He has no need of anything.
It is our God who sustains us. We are lowly mortals. We were made. We were created. And the Scriptures are abundantly clear that we are both infinitely valuable and simultaneously, as quick to fade as a wild flower in a summer field.
We were made small.
Yet we crave our own glory. Even within the Christian community, I am convinced that much of the current trend to be more, do more, and influence more is often stemming from a desire to escape our own frail humanity rather than to glorify our God.
In motherhood, in particular, it is easy to feel lost in the constant demand from little hands and voices. The mundane begins to feel beneath us. Surely there’s something better that we could be doing with our time than passing through the endless days of hot summer keeping children fed and houses ordered? Speaking a word of truth to a friend seems terribly small when we could be developing a bigger platform from which to talk. Let us remember, though, that quiet, holy lives do glorify God.
This summer, embrace the moments of a quiet life with your family. Sing a hymn of praise with your toddler over a cup of lemonade. Read a psalm of adoration to the Creator as you look into a summer sunset. Show a particular kindness to the neighbors across the street. Wake up and choose thanksgiving and contentment within the boundaries of your current season. Worship and serve in your local church with humility and joy.
Embrace the rhythm of daily life with the people God has given you to love. The beauty and impact of a quiet life ought not be underestimated. We serve a King who numbers the hairs on our heads, who created the delicate beauty of a flower and the hidden splendor of sea creatures we may not ever even know exist.
Don’t be afraid to live quietly, seeking first His kingdom. It is His glory we were made for, not our own.
Laura is a Memphis native who currently resides in the land of rickshaws and spicy curry. Her husband teaches the Bible in South Asia, where less than two percent of the population follow Christ. She is the mother of three rowdy little men who keep her laughing. She loves children’s literature, new recipes, and the great outdoors. Occasionally, you’ll find her sitting under a tree, telling a Bible story in a tribal language. But on most days, her life is full of chasing toddlers, washing dishes, and slicing apples. She is learning to embrace all of it as sacred work.