(Don't you just love the red, contrasted with the green and blue?Reminds me of my lovelies when they were small.)
"Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away."
Ann Voskamp 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Evil is lurking and tempting in a fury around every corner. Yet, the celebration of innocence, light, goodness dispels the darkness. Taking time to celebrate life builds deep patterns of goodness, the sacredness of life, the beauty of love into the brains and souls of our children. We must take time to worship by giving time to notice and celebrate what matters.
Today, my plan was to not get up early, to not work a lot, to avoid feeling like I had to meet deadlines or other's expectations.
When I surveyed my soul upon awakening, I saw a few alarming issues bubbling there and knew that there were steps to take to make myself better. The first thing I did was to call a friend who I always look to for lifting me up. I know that because she walks with the Lord every day, she holds ideals in her heart, she lives by integrity--as well as she can manage. From experience, I know that I will be blessed just by being with her. It never fails. The excellent self she has become by practicing holiness for so many years causes her to be a source of wisdom, strength, comfort, life, love, encouragement to all who are with her.
Everyone should try to find a friend who has this kind of influence and everyone of us should seek to be this kind of friend.
I started out with candles, hot tea and music. Reading out of two different devotionals lifted my thoughts. "They Found the Secret" and "Christ Plays in 10,000 Places" were at the top of my list today. And reading some of Daniel. I pondered how the 3 companions to Daniel must have felt being bound and thrown into a fire that was so hot, it killed the soldiers who put them there. This seemed very similar to what happened to the person being burned to death last week. Some things have not changed much.
My friend served me a salad and wisdom--"You need a brain cleanse and I know just what book would encourage you."
Putting my stressful and draining issues into a proper place helped to settle some questions in my soul. A coffee on the way home at a favorite local cafe as I met Joel. A long sunset walk and a warm talk in the chill of the winter, sitting in rocking chairs wool coats around our shivering bodies, in the setting sun, satisfied more holes in my heart. Salmon, salad for dinner, probably a short show on Netflix with exactly 5 dark chocolate salted almonds, (my current diet quota) while lying on the couch will be fun. My day will include a hot bath with salts tonight before I go to bed.
Restoring can look different for everyone. I look for art, music, books, stories, people who feed my soul, and whose life serves to feed my mind and heart long after I have left them. And so, I love how God has crafted sweet Ann Voskamp, (one of my soul-feeders), into such an artist. Her words feed and deeply touch my dry places. I am so grateful she leans her ear toward His voice and then faithfully paints word pictures that express my heart. If you haven't bought her book, you must be sure to do so. Here is where you may order it.
This season, I am teaching myself to linger.
It is not natural for me, one who is and has been in a hurry for so long. But in the hurry, I have missed the miracles of moments.
Now, however, since so many are away from home, pursuing their own adventures, my every day, every phone call, every skype with my children is a gift. They are vibrant, strong, idealistic, godly, loving, fun and wonderful. They still make messes and even sin once in a while, but oh, what life and beauty permeates my home and hours with their ever-presence. But when they give me a whole day, I am blessed. Only one is full-time home right now, Joel, and he is just on loan, and so I am trying to groom myself to listen, to look, to love and to really see the miracle of my son before me. They all seem to come and go but always come back home and to me, for a "linger."
I learned this lesson of celebrating the ordinary moments many years ago on the occasion of a birthday.
On Joy's fifth birthday, I planned a party that I thought I would please her. Too much effort to clean the house so that the moms of the kids I invited would see an orderly house, kept me from focussing on my precious birthday child. I was Martha-ing about putting out cake, balloons, favors, making finger sandwiches, planning what I thought she would like--all the while looking at the day from the grid my adult eyes.
The children came and in just two hours, they fought over the toys, spilled the red punch on another little girl's favorite dress, one little boy threw a toy across the room and hit another little girl in the head and made her cry. It was a memory of messes, crying, friction, stress and Joy was unhappy the whole time, feeling that she was trying to please me by staying at the party.
When the all the guests finally left, I heard a "pound, pound, pound of feet running across our deck. I walked out of our kitchen door and glanced into the afternoon shadows playing tag with the fading sun over our mountain, and there was sweet Joy.
Dressed in her old, slightly stained and torn favorite ballet suit, she was running, giggling across the deck with a bubble wand at her head level with bubbles flying out behind her. I stopped and sat on our picnic bench and just gazed at her as the sun went down. For an hour she played and ran and delighted in the beauty of her bubble parade. I took it in, I cherished the picture in my mind, and chastised myself for missing the glory of her beauty and youth in the busyness of my tirades to fulfill my expectations of the party I thought would make her happy.
"Oh, Mommy!" she exclaimed, "This is my favorite time of my whole day! I am having sooooooooo much fun. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful present."
She climbed into my lap with milk mustache sprinkled with cupcake crumbles, sticky bubble juice on her hair, and snuggled up with a happy sigh.
And so, I melted into her little body, breathing in the atmosphere of her pure-hearted, innocent love. I did then cherish the moment and took the time to take a soul photograph whose imprint will be there forever.
Tomorrow, again, I will live in every moment, celebrate all the sweet fellowship that is right in front of me, no matter how many dishes used or messes are made, or whatever noise is created through the moments of my day. All of it will be precious and priceless as I redeem the moments for memories to visit in my next season when they will all be gone.
This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice--and act of our will--we will rejoice and be glad in it.
For a little more refreshment, I have written about the art of life in Own Your Life.