Learning to Listen

learning to listen www.terilynneunderwood.com/blog

In March I was saying, “If we can just get through April, then we will have some space to breathe.”  But May brought with it the chaos of end-of-school and final exams and one more show choir production and cheerleading fittings and graduation and parties … and then it was June.  Really?  June, already?  Wasn’t it just yesterday I was finding a new longing to listen, to learn the practice of stillness?  And now, it’s June.  2013 is nearing the halfway point.

This past weekend Scott and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary.  We spent all day Friday meandering through thrift stores in Decatur and exploring the artistic community at Lowe Mill in Huntsville.  We ate our anniversary dinner at Nick’s Ristorante {amazing!} and then wandered through Sam’s Club and Target before heading home.

our 17th anniversary www.terilynneunderwood.com/blog

Saturday, the day of our actual anniversary, we were home.  Scott took the old brass light fixture he’d found at the ReStore and turned it into a cool outdoor light for our back porch.  I ironed {and ironed some more}.  Somehow both Friday’s excursion and Saturday’s homebodiness {is that a real word? probably not since the spell check is showing its little red lines. oh well.} seem normal and right.

After 17 years of marriage, we’ve found that easy ebb and flow.  We can sit in a room with Kindles in one hand and coffee in the other, listening to the Rend Collective Experience station on Pandora or we can head out to the local junk stores scouring for a new something to fix up.  We’re content in each other’s presence.  We enjoy one another and find satisfaction in simply being together.

So here I sit, in my favorite chair looking out the window in my dining room at the herbs and flowers thriving on my front steps.  It’s Monday morning, the anniversary celebration is passed.  We’re looking at a crazy calendar in June … writing conference next weekend, cheerleading practices and camp, youth camp, vacation, and a big night of worship at our church.  And as much as I want to say, “If we can just make it through June …” I know that July will bring its own crazy calendar with mission trips and Vacation Bible School and cheerleading practices and writing deadlines.

Somehow life is just busy during this season.  And somehow, I’m finding peace in this place.  Having a teenager, being a writer, serving an active church — there is a lot to do.  But these are gifts and joys and the richest sort of blessings.  And so, this Monday morning as I sip my coffee and watch the cardinals and blue jays and even that pesky woodpecker fly across the yard, I sense I’m learning something about stillness and listening.

Stillness isn’t so much about what’s going on around me as it is about what’s going on inside me.  I’m finding the chaos is just one more opportunity to learn to listen for the small voice of the Lord, whispering truth and peace into this busy season of mothering and marriage and living well.

And for me, right now, I’m good with that!

What lessons are you learning right now?

image sources:  wooster; collage from our instagram feeds

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Oh Teri Lynne, this speaks to my heart! I’m am determined to find the stillness in the midst of the chaos this summer. I have to get my next book written! We have so much planned in the next few months and I know finding the stillness will be in the place of the heart, through worship and prayer, showing me how to use my time wisely and hopefully avoid too many distractions! It seems the best way to learn how to really rest is in the busyness. If we can do it then, we can do it forever! Bless you friend:)

  2. “Stillness isn’t so much about what’s going on around me as it is about what’s going on inside me. ” This is such a powerful lesson to learn and remember. I have know it for a while but I seem to forget how to be still so often. Thank you for a reminder that I need to let God settle my heart daily. Bless you dear friend !!

    PS. I was in Huntsville last Thursday. We are just to close not to make a coffee (coke) date some day.

  3. I’m glad you have VBS on your calendar, but I’m even happier I have finally had the time to read your words again….during the “stillness” of my vacation with two extra kids and my laptop so I can do my two online classes. This is about as “still” as it gets for me right now, but I’m thankful to be where I am as I listen to my husband snore and the washing machine roar.

  4. “Stillness isn’t so much about what’s going on around me as it is about what’s going on inside me.”

    Umm, yes please. Cause the crazy is not going stop in our lives, like ever.

    Happy anniversary!
    Happy 1st day of Cheerleading!! Woot! Go Cassidy!
    Happy writers conference!

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