A glorious summer day was upon us as the gusty mountain breezes made swaying giants of the tall pines outside my window. With a deep sense of leisure, I enjoyed this small dance of creation as I sipped the last of my morning tea. I had enjoyed a rare, uninterrupted morning quiet time in which I actually had a chance to read, look out the window, and linger over a new book I'd received from a friend.
For two months, while older siblings were out of town, we were once again a two-child household. I had almost forgotten how much easier life is with just two at home, and I appreciated this peaceful season with fewer needs to meet. I was also really enjoying the personality and antics of my younger two who were, for the first time, free to claim my undivided attention.
And so after an unusually relaxing quiet time I should have felt ready to tackle the day. I had much to do this summer by way of plans: clear the bulging closets of excess clothes (some of which had never been worn), slog through the stacks of papers that had taken over my desk during a busy spring filled with ministry and travel, and finish Joy's math for the year. Last, but far from least, I needed to finish a long book I'd proposed to write, which was due by September.
As I thought about my To Do list, I could feel its weight grow heavy on my shoulders. My head was still whirling a bit from the plethora of graduation parties and a recent wedding in our home for a friend. Clay was also helping me to start two new blogs, which required me to do even more writing. I had barely begun work on the book, but Joy would be out playing with a friend today, and so I had to make my time count when the kids were out of the house. I needed this day to write.
And then came the knock on my door.
In response to my hesitant "Come in," Nathan poked his head inside my door.
Nathan, then 18, had been busy all summer with his many friends who had just finished the high school portion of their lives. They had designated every single day of the summer as their last chance to celebrate and make memories before they went their separate ways to various schools, jobs, and internships. They banged in and out of the door almost daily, reminding me of hysterically bouncy and playful puppies frolicking, nipping, and growling at each other. Theirs was an endless circle of laughter, eating, talking, and "going somewhere"— not one moment was lost! Nathan worked as a pizza delivery boy in between and took the occasional weekend job for a local marketing company. I had given up any expectations of seeing him much during this busy season of life.
"Hey, Mom, my friends are all busy today, and I don't have to work until tomorrow. How about you and I go out to lunch together today or go out for coffee or something since I don't have any definite plans yet?"
My mind immediately began to calculate what it would "cost" me to change my plans and give them all up for the whims of my persuasive son. I was so late getting this book written; there were just two more weeks of free time before I had to travel again; and Sarah and Joel would be back soon. I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to not even contemplate the crammed agenda of the coming fall. Instead, I just looked up and smiled.
"Let me take care of a few details and make a couple of phone calls, and then my day belongs to you," I answered with as much enthusiasm as I could muster.
Now, I'll be the first to admit I didn't always respond this way when my plans were interrupted! I'm so grateful this time, though, that I was able to take a deep breath and think before I answered. I had made a decision that he and Joy would be the highest priority to me this summer, whatever it took. I knew that the window of opportunity for building my values, messages, and love for God into the lives of my two youngest children would soon close. So when my boy invited me in for time to make one more memory, I jumped at the opportunity!
There were those times when they were little that were the first of the times I was being trained to respond and change my plans:
Crying from an infant's room, one more time when sleep was impossible.
A need to be rocked to sleep, held, sung to amidst one more ear infection.
"Mama, please play legos with me."
"Mama, read me a book."
"Mama, we spilled the paint all over the floor."
Yet, all of the times I was able to say "yes" are, I believe, stored up in their brains so that they could believe that God was willing to be patient, that He would listen to their requests when they prayed. What we do becomes a picture to them of how God responds.
Jesus is the best example of having a gracious response to interruptions--we see His grace toward the woman with the issue of blood who touched Him while He was on His way to heal a deathly ill little girl; meeting with compassion the crowd that followed Him when He tried to have some time alone after His cousin John the Baptist was beheaded; and surely hundreds of times we aren't told about in the Bible. And so I determine to copy His example, and see interruptions as part of His plan for my day--especially when they involve the children He's given as gifts to my life.
Today, when you have to change your plans or find interruptions to the expectations of your life, look at them from God's point of view and understand that they just might be a divine appointment.
Summer Podcast Series!
Be sure to order 10 Gifts of Heart so that you can follow along with us to make notes in the journal section, to be able to underline the best parts of the book and to be able to make new notes for what you want to be sure your children have before they leave your home. Kristen, Misty and I have lots of plans for your summer inspiration and our Storyformed experts will be here to inspire.