You only have this day, this moment to choose to live for what matters.
"Teach us to number our days that we might present to thee a heart of wisdom." Psalm 91:12
I can never remember a time when there were not piles of responsibilities stacking up, vying for my attention. As long as I can remember, there is always more to do, not less. Today was no different. Out of town company all weekend for a concert we sponsored in our church meant more cooking, more cleaning, late nights and more talking and serving. Today, a big Sunday breakfast for all in my house, rushing to church, and then picking up more out of town friends, dear to our hearts, to visit the whole afternoon long. A tea time, pie, both pecan and berry, and lots of talking and talking, more dishes, and then delivering them at a conference nearby.
This blog was looming over my mind, as I wanted to write about what mattered most in life, to encourage you, my sweet friends. Two final deadlines for an impending writing project and important deadlines for my book launch, as well as 3 letters that must be written.
All of these were piling and increasing my stress level.
When I searched the landscape of my mind, I pondered--God has painted the leaves in such an amazing way today, and I have hardly had time to notice. I have Joel at home all by himself apart from the other kids, for a rare occasion, and he particularly loves our long walks together. Our other guest, Matthew, is someone our family greatly values and I know he would love to see our special walking trails and sunset views. If I go, I will not get my work finished and will have more on my plate tomorrow.
But, I have made a goal this year to own my life more completely by choosing to invest personally with real live people right in front of me. And so, now, this moment, is when the test comes to challenge my commitment. Will I choose work, again, to keep faithfully at my piles, or will I take this moment that I may not have again, to invest, to make a memory. It is not an issue of a rule or formula, but a commitment I have made in my heart to not make my duties more important than my people. This moment challenges the personal commitment I have made.
And so, instead of writing this blog, instead of staying home to get ahead for my Monday piles, I chose Sabbath--to focus on the personal, right in front of me reality.
Pinks, golds, ambers, yellows colored our happy path as we spoke of music, stories, ideas, dreams, hopes. The former boy, now man moving into his glory as he surmounts life and shares the moments one more time, with me, his now much smaller than him, mama. My heart warmed at his eagerness to be my friend. My heart swelled at this little boy became man, and such a strong good one. My happiness fills as now, my son and true closest of friends, chooses me to spend his last afternoon minutes, instead of the busyness that is piling high on his plate. Now, he is choosing to invest personally in me, instead of choosing work.
Too quickly, the sun went down, our walk came to the edge of the path, our cherished moments came to an end, but my heart had this precious soul memory stored in the treasure chest of my own heart to hold dear for the years to come.
Too quickly your path will also come to an end and the window of time in which you can love and influence will close for a new phase of life for your children ahead. The work will somehow all get done,
but this glorious day, that I chose to celebrate with God in his art gallery, in the intimate moments that I will have to cherish for years to come.
And so in pondering what I wanted to share from my heart to yours, I remembered a blog I shared a while back, when I was feeling this battle between the Martha me who really wants to know if the world knows and understands how much I always have resting on my shoulders, and long for someone to notice and to help---or if God has noticed--
or choosing, choosing one more time to invest in the personal, the present moment, knowing that work will always be there, but my sweet ones, quickly go their own ways.
And with this theme, I share my older blog, with hopes it will encourage and give you some days this week to make the choices that store moments spent investing in the friendship your children have to offer you--be they babies or grown. Your children will always have a special place in your heart.
"Six years passed between my third child, Nathan, and my fourth child, Joy. I had had three miscarriages and didn't think I would ever have another baby. By the time Joy came, I had lived through the early youth of my other three children and had seen that they really did grow up quickly. Finally, by experience, I understood that the dependent stage of early childhood was only for a season. I could see how important it was to enjoy each day and treasure these moments of early life with my children, because the years did pass quickly. How I wished I could take back all the impatient words I had said, all the guilt I had imposed on my older children just because they were acting their age and taking up my time. Fortunately, they remember mostly the good times and not my immature responses to their normal behavior.
I was much more patient with the interruptions that Joy brought to my life because I realized that I might never have this opportunity again. I cherished our time alone while she nursed. I enjoyed the sweet moments when she would crawl into bed with me and snuggle close. Having made my peace (mostly) with the reality that giving my children time is a part of serving them, I was able to relax and open myself to the joys of being with them.
These days I have no baby in the house. Instead, I have an exuberant seven-year-old and three teenagers. (This written 12 years ago--and the time passed all too quickly!) And these beloved children still take up all of my time, but in different ways. Yet since I know that this is a necessary sacrifice, a part of my service to them and to God, it is easier to bear--partly because I have made the choice to embrace the task of mothering, partly because I have come to terms with the natural demands children make on my time, but mostly because my attitude has changed." ~ The Mission of Motherhood
At this very moment, as I am writing this, I would give almost anything to be sitting on Joy's bed, looking into her eyes and hearing all that is in her heart. But at this moment, I must cherish the times we had together, the times I said yes to choosing to invest in our friendship amidst all the busy days of my life when she was home.
Of course if you know our family, you're aware that the seven-year-old I mentioned is now in Oxford and will graduate from university this spring, while my other precious teenagers have grown into lovely adults who are truly my best friends. And now, even more, I realize how swiftly time flies and how quickly our opportunity to serve and nurture and shape the hearts of our children in such an intensive way, 24 hours a day, passes by and truly is gone.
Looking at Jesus interacting with His disciples; with crowds, pushing and pulling, demanding, shouting, jostling most days for three years straight; reading of how He took children on His lap when others would have pushed them away; amazed at how He washes 120 toes the night before He is sentenced to death--all of these things give me a picture of what my life as a mom is all about. True joy comes ... sometimes slowly ... in fits and starts ... two steps forward, one step back ... when I develop a long-range vision and believe His promise that my work and love with these, my own personal disciples, will not go unrewarded, but that my labor is one of love, that chooses to focus on this beautiful moment, while I have it to invest for eternity.