A Time to HUSH!

Remembering that day I ran away from home.

I ran away from the endless noise of ringing phones and television; the constant responsibility of laundry, meals, and bills; the high piles of deskwork; and even the lovely interruptions from my sweet husband. In other words, I ran away from my life.

My gift to myself was three silent days on the shore at a spiri­tual retreat center aptly named Mercy by the Sea.

It was a time to HUSH!

Silence to calm and quiet my soul. Silence to think and remember. Silence to hear the voice of God.

I almost wept when I checked into my room containing a simple bed and chair facing a view of lawn and the ocean. A perfect setting for my own triduum of mercy with no spoken words, no music, no sounds whatsoever. Except for pouring rain, singing birds, and the lapping waves. My simple meals were consumed alone—each bite a thank-you prayer for not having to plan, cook, or clean.

I confess I came with an agenda—I was hoping God would show me how to fix my life. But as one pastor says, “There is nothing you need to do here. . . . Silence can form your life even if it doesn’t solve your life.”

Soon I realized it was far better to simply experience each moment with an open mind and open heart to what might be revealed.

Are you in need of silence today? Have all the holiday happenings caused stress and overload? Advent – the season of waiting is a perfect time to pull away and be quiet, even if just for an afternoon. 

The rest of the world (and my family) functioned just fine without me which was both a sobering thought and a huge relief. I mostly unplugged —realizing technology may be the last hardest barrier to our retreat from noise, because it represents connection.

“Silence offers a way of paying attention to the Spirit of God and what he brings to the surface of our souls. . . . Like a can opener, the silence opens up the contents of our heart, allowing us deeper access to God than we experience at other times. As we remain in the silence, the inner noise and chaos will begin to settle. Our capacity to open up wider and wider to God grows.” (Adele Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook)

Where can you find pockets of silence periodically?

Most of us can’t run away from our lives, but we can intentionally seek out opportunities to be quiet and reconnect with God. Whether we do a childcare exchange for an afternoon or visit a local mon­astery or convent for the day, our choice to come apart for a while will reap great benefits. Both to our own souls (more calm and settled) and through the spillover to all those around us.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, 
and with fear and trembling stand; 
ponder nothing earthly-minded, 
for with blessing in his hand ,
Christ our God to earth descendeth, 
our full homage to demand. 
(Liturgy of St. James AD 275)

Will you take some time to be Silent during this Advent season of waiting?

I assure you, God will show up…

under the mercy, Lucinda

copyright 2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Check out my brand new bookLife-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell Order Today! More about “Life-Giving Choices” HERE!


  1. Lillian Morley on December 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you! I love Advent but often get caught up in the hectic preparation for the day instead of focusing on the Savior!
    Our Advent devotions focus us for a short spell, but then we’re up and running again. My times of quiet often come in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep–I call it: My Jesus Calling Time. I quietly go to another bedroom, snuggle in with pillows propping me up , and then pray and read. Such a special time. I truly love those times.
    Bless you for sharing your times of retreat and refresh.
    Lillian Morley

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 4, 2019 at 7:33 pm

      Great to hear from you Lillian. Those middle of the night quiet times can sometimes be the best. Praying your holiday season holds many Silent Nights…

  2. Kirsten Panachyda on December 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Did you read during your silent retreat? Or write or journal?

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 4, 2019 at 7:31 pm

      Yes, Kirsten, I do read, journal and pray. I also rest, walk, sing, listen, and explore nature.

  3. Debbie Lowe on December 4, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Just the reminder (and permission!) I needed. Thank you!!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 4, 2019 at 7:32 pm

      That’s right, go ahead and blame me when you ditch all your responsibilities…. Enjoy! Rest! Revive!

  4. Kendra Smiley on December 4, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    This is an important reminder. Thank you for speaking to my heart. 💕

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 4, 2019 at 8:16 pm

      Kendra, people like you and I need to be reminded, don’t we? May you “rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing….” Hugs soon.

  5. Jeannie Waters on December 4, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you for this important reminder. I took a deep breath while reading this post.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 5, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Keep taking those deep breaths, Jeanne, and God will show up for sure. Christmas Blessings!

  6. Ava on December 5, 2019 at 6:55 am

    ReNew was 1/4 (in practice) of the Provider’s Pathway (for me) to “quiet” from my noisy-on-steroids lifestyle. Thanks for reminding me to keep moving towards incremental, daily changes that inform a “semi-retirement mentality” – Goals of calm; tranquil; intentionally introspective; GrateFULL; GraceFULLY-Aging (reading & aspiring Writer) LIFE! #TheLiteratihamlet

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 5, 2019 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you, Ava, and I shall pray that you can find some stillness and serenity in this beautiful Christmas season.

  7. Tracy Arntzen on December 5, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I was having a hard time finding the silence and alone time and it seemed my bible study writing got pushed to the back burner. Then I started waking @ 3:26 with the immediate urge to write. I am an early bird but this was crazy since I never have trouble sleeping. God can be so creative when we need to be following where he is leading! Thank you for the affirmation that God was calling me into the silence to hear from Him. Maybe I need to learn to find the silence during normal hours, but what is normal?

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 5, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks for reading, Tracy, and I do pray you can get some sleep during the night and some silence scattered throughout the day. Christmas Blessings, friend!

  8. Cynthia on December 5, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for the reminder…beautiful thoughts.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on December 5, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      You are so welcome Cynthia. Christmas Blessings!

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