"No," she murmurs, resting her head in defiance against the barn. The word comes out as an almost whisper, an emotion that cannot help but be expressed but that she knows shouldn't be spoken aloud to her mommy.
Her face may appear to be facing straight forward, but I know she's watching me out of the corner of her eye, waiting to see if I'll respond, how I'll respond.
Like all my children, Amelia has an independent streak. "I do it MY self" is a phrase I hear often in this season of my life.
Yet, unlike the boys, she has always had a difficult time with sitting still, always bouncing from one activity to another.
Recently, she has started sitting for longer periods of time, giving me hope that one day, something will captivate her attention enough to keep her glued to her seat for more than five minutes at a time.
Like Amelia, I have had to learn to balance "doing" with being still.
By junior high, all I wanted to do was be still and read books. My mother blew that out of the water by limiting me to one book per week, but still, I preferred the solitude of the ink-filled page to a flurry of activities.
Now, as the mother of a busy household, I have the opposite problem, Amelia's problem.
Even in my Christian life, somewhere along the way, I equated loving Christ with activity, doing, results...not being still.
Don't get me wrong--activity, the "doing" for Christ is good. But the doing without the stillness is like building a house on the sand--one small hurricane, and it reveals what's not holding it up.
Over the past five years, I've sought the stillness.
Last week, my ladies' Bible study group began its twenty-first Bible study since Spring 2006.
In six weeks, we will finish Book 10 in Kay Arthur's Kings and Prophets series. Years ago, my mother stated she wasn't sure she'd live to complete the series.
After mixing these ten studies with various ones by other writers, here we are, years later, and much richer than we ever dreamed possible.
When I look at the list of Scripture that we've studied, I find it hard to believe we have seen that much of God in five years' worth of Wednesday mornings.
It's a miracle that God has given us the perseverance to keep going, to consistently stay in the word, to hold each other accountable.
In a group where almost every member has the wisdom of 60+ years,
I have learned with them how to be still with the Word,
how to be still with my God...
and how to listen for His voice,
seek His understanding,
breathe in His heart
that beats through the words
and makes alive my mind, heart and soul.
You can see it in our eyes, bright with excitement at God's revelations. You can hear that catch in our voices as we speak of our time in the Word from the previous week.
It's hard to explain the passion for this kind of stillness that rises up in me each time I start a study. It's like gulping down water on a cloudless summer day...
Never, never enough.