Don’t Miss It- Once in a Lifetime

Awww summertime! Or at least we’re getting really close to the summer solstice. Family vacation usually sets off the official summertime routine in our household. This year we’re down to two out of our four kids still left at home. So a trip to Steamboat Springs in the Rockies seemed like the appropriate trip for our crew. From our neck in the woods it is about a two day drive, if you like to take your time and have plenty of breaks. So off we went. The evening we arrived and got ourselves settled in to our condo a peak out our window at the Western sunset over the mountains caused me to pause. “I’ve got to go out and look at this sunset. It’s a once in a lifetime event.” That may sound kind of crazy to the people who live in Steamboat day in and day out. They’ve probably seen thousands of the sunsets over that mountain. It may even be so familiar they don’t even pause to gaze. But the truth of the matter is for the minutes the sunbeams shine upon the clouds as the angle changes of the light with the setting sun, each second is totally different from the first. The hues of the colors transitions from bright orange, to red, to purple to dark. It really is a “Once in a lifetime event” for anyone, not just this Missouri girl. It was awesome! But I’m sure had I let myself be preoccupied, I would have missed it…

Then yesterday, my husband and I went over to our friends home. They own a deer farm. They’ve been at this for a few years. So seeing the little fawns and petting them is nothing new, but I saw something yesterday that quite possible could be another “once in a lifetime” event, a fawn be born. When we went out to the pens to look at their growing herd of deer, we noticed a momma deer that had had her first buck fawn of twins she was bearing. Carefully we walked into the pen that allowed a better look and stood in awe as we watched her labor for around 20 minutes and finally push the second fawn out. We stood there and watched the momma clean her fawn and nurse the other one until the light of day was so far gone that we could not see very well. Once again something I could have easily missed if I was too busy to stop, or too preoccupied in my mind to realize I was going to miss something so unique that I will never see it go down like it did last night again.

It’s funny how life is just that way. If we are too locked into what happened in the past or too preoccupied with what might happen in the future, we miss the now, something that only happens “once in a lifetime”.

Saturday is wedding day for my oldest daughter. The plans are made, the ball is in motion, things seem to be ready to roll. But once again I find myself fighting anxieties of what was, what is, and what may come… preoccupied. If I am not careful I will miss it. I’ll miss the moment that will only happen “once in a lifetime”. The moment her groom first sees his bride. The moment her daddy walks her down the aisle and gives her away. The moment they exchange their vows and unite their lives. I’ll miss it all and it will never happen the way it will on that day again.

Guilt, anxiety, and worries are robbers and thieves. They come to steal one of the things that means the most, the gift God has given to us as we sojourn here on earth, our present life. In John 10:10 Jesus said something that would do us all some good to have tattooed into the back of our brains ever present in our memories. “The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” Some translations say “abundant life”. All the good God has for us is not stored up for us to only be released in heaven. God has goodness and mercy for us “all the days of our lives”. Psalm 23:6. It is satan who wants to blind us with his toxic whirlwind of afflictions to the mind and block us from seeing just that- God has goodness and mercy for us every second, every minute, every hour of every day. And blinding us with toxic thoughts is the only way he can steal from a child of God. Whispering lies and getting us to believe them so we get our focus off the truth is his only game plan. Because the truth is he is already defeated at the cross. Jesus gave us His goodness when our past was forgiven, our future with Him was secured, and our present is spent dwelling in Him.

May I never forget THAT when the enemy tries to get my focus off. God intended for me to live in the Present. Fully engaged in the life to the full that He gives to me, His abundant life given to His children He dearly loves and has chosen.

Seasons of Change

It’s a very distinct memory of mine. Around 15 years ago, standing on the right-hand side of the church we were going to talking to someone. At the time I had a 1 year old, 4-year-old, 6-year-old, and a 9-year-old. Then someone approached me and said, “I’ve been praying for you and I just feel like the Lord wants me to tell you, you are just in a season.” I’m sure they said more, but that is all I got out of that conversation. As I went home, I remember thinking to myself, “This is going to be the longest season I’ve ever been through. I just started and I have another 17 years before it’s over.” I didn’t think there would ever be the end of meal planning, dirty diapers, nursing, house cleaning, disciplining, etc. Everyday felt like another day in the movie “Groundhog’s Day”. Same thing over and over and over. What’s weird is how gradually it all changed. One significant milestone reached by one kid, then another, and another,… you get the point (some people just don’t know when to stop having kids, ha ha) It’s like this long spiral ladder of progress that feels like you’re going nowhere and then all of a sudden you look down and see how far you’ve really gone. Although internally I wanted to smack the sweet sister who told me “It’s just a season”, the truth is, it was. What seemed like forever was really a flash, and here I sit on the other side, pondering just how much things change, how quickly it does, and how I don’t even notice until I wake up on a whole new life time plane to figure out and maneuver within.

Today my husband and I went to church.  That’s been our mode of operation for the past 27 years. The difference was I didn’t have four little ones to try to wrangle through the worship service, and hope that they would stay in children’s church for an hour so I could get a break.  It was just me and him.  The oldest 3 are off doing their own thing in their own lives, and the youngest would prefer to sit by friends than us, not that I mind or anything.  I’ve hit another season… this one doesn’t seem like it holds as many challenges as the previous. But I’m fairly certain it does.  That’s kind of what seasons do.  In summer, the challenge is to keep cool, in winter, the challenge is to keep warm. In Spring, the challenge is to get everything planted in the garden.  In fall, the challenge is to get everything processed that you planted in the garden.  Life is kind of like that as well. I’ve awakened to a world where my husband and I are sitting in the same room alone quite a bit, the house is quiet, and the only ones I need to feed on the regular are me and him.  It’s quite a bit different than the world I just left where the only place I could get alone was in the master bathroom after I locked myself into my room and hid back in that corner of the house, or all I heard on the hourly if not more is “mom I’m hungry”, “mom what do you have to eat?” “Mom tell him to stop…” (you get the picture)

So, what’s a girl to do with this whole new gig? Especially since the past 8 months I’ve found myself with less and less outside commitments.   It’s pretty uncomfortable to not be “doing” when all you’ve known for quite awhile is “do”. 

I think every once and awhile God likes to get us here: At a place where “doing” isn’t what defines us, but “being” is. I know that I have a tendency to use a title to define myself, and like most, a title with a little umph behind it feels even better. But “who I am” is what means the most not so much what all I do, and maybe for a “season”, God wants me to rest in that.

It’s kind of like this sleepy Sunday afternoon with me and the husband in a quiet, practically empty two-story house. We finally have some time to just enjoy each other, sit next to each other and talk. Spiritually, God’s brought me here as well. I can enjoy God more, not the ministry, the busyness, one activity/ meeting to the next. Instead, spending time being His girl, listening to His heart, and letting Him prepare me for the next season whatever it may be like. Because where He leads is good especially since where He leads, He is.

Generations Blessed

I’ve often said the happiest times of my life were each of the days my kids were born and the day I married their Dad years before. Each of those days hold those “magic” moments: watching my groom sing the love songs to me at our wedding as he stared directly into my eyes and smiled, the moment I saw my first born son as he was lifted over the small curtain where the c section occurred, Rich searching all over the hospital for a bow for our first daughter’s hair, the doctor hardly catching our second daughter because she came so fast, and our youngest son not breathing as the doctor called the resuscitation team only to hear a faint whimper from him as the doctor worked and worked on him and knowing it was going to be ok. “Magic moments” that are probably better described as “miraculous”. It’s the kind of thing you wished would just freeze in time forever, but it can’t because time just goes on.

I find myself anticipating another such day very soon.  It’s kind of hard to believe, with my genuine youthful looks and all, that in a matter of a day or so I will be a Grandma, although I believe I’ve been a Grandma for the past 9 months.  Off and on today I’ve caught myself getting a little misty eyed at the thought.  From what I’m told, it sounds like I’m headed for another “magic” moment, another time I will probably wish will stand still and freeze so I can enjoy it forever.  But I know it will only last for a short while so I need to soak it in and absorb every second of its beauty.  

It’s been around 25 year since I caught baby fever the first time and wanted to try to have my grandson’s Daddy.   I can remember wanting a baby so bad that a Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo commercial would send me into tears.  It was just my heart’s desire.  I wanted to be a mom.  

When he was born, I would rock my son, I remember thinking, “You know I’m not really a fan of the old nursery rhyme songs. I think I’ll sing him worship songs about Jesus instead.  With exception of one song, Phil Collins “Groovy Kinda Love”.  I figured it was a good song for a mom to sing to her son. 

I spent a lot of time praying for each of my kids.  I kind of felt bad because we never formally “dedicated” any of them at a church service.  But I prayed to God often and told Him how even if we never celebrated a dedication in a service I wanted with all my heart to teach my kids to love Him, to know Him, and to walk close with Him because He was and is everything.  

Now I look at my kids.  I know they aren’t perfect, but I am grateful for the journey so far.  They walk with Jesus and many of the things I have prayed for through the years are growing in them.  

Galatians 6:9 is the verse of Motherhood. I would figure it is the verse of fatherhood also, but I’m writing as a mom. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I feel like in some small way my new Grandson is another fruit of that harvest. Looking back, my mom and dad sowed seeds of faith in me, their moms and dads sowed seed of faith into them and so on and the same on my husband’s side. My grandmas invested their time sharing Jesus with me as well as pie, cakes, and cookies. I know I’ll need to get that Grandma vibe going, and from what I understand, I have joined a long line of Notable “Grandma N’s” some of which will be pretty tough shoes to fill. But I’m pretty excited about getting my chance.

Psalm 112:1-2 says, “Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” 

Every workday morning, right after breakfast, my husband and I join hands and pray for our kids and each other. Something he started a few years ago when God placed it on his heart to be the Godly leader of our family He was called to be. When we pray here lately, we’ve added our anticipated little one and the others that will surely come. “Our generations will be blessed.” That’s our prayer. I’m not asking God to give them wealth, straight teeth, and knock out good looks. I’m asking for Him to bless them with a soft, responsive heart that hears the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit calling them when they are young. I’m asking God to carry on the fire that was there years ago in the generations before us and will carry on long after we are gone. I’m also asking that in the every day life that I find myself in the baby slobbers, the baby laughs, the first steps, and the Grandma stuff I do that I soak in the blessing God has given me in the generations God gives to us, and that my children and their children and so on and so on will be mighty in the land. I know God has blessed me and with His good gifts like the “magic/ miraculous” moments ahead are meant for me to soak in and enjoy. It will only be for a moment and then time will go on. I guess that’s what makes those moments so sweet.

Don’t Miss It!!!

I’m often stunned by how quickly beautiful moments come and beautiful moments go. This morning, after getting the turkey in the smoker, I was sitting in my easy chair next to my husband sharing time in the Bible and a cup of coffee. I looked out my window and saw the most stunning sunrise. The colors of orange, purple, yellow, and blue lit up the eastern sky. I mentioned it to my husband and he said “Yes, it’s beautiful.” We continued our conversation and then moments later I looked out the window and it was gone. The sky returned to a cloudy, overcast blue.

Today is a day of Thanksgiving. It is a day of reflection on the goodness of God in our lives over the past year/ years. It is a moment, just like that sunrise, where I can see unimaginable beauty, and then in another moment it will be gone. Changed by the March of time.

I’ve don’t this Thanksgiving thing for 48 years now. Each one is different. People have come and people have gone. Each one was a moment that I need not ever miss. Today as I reflect on the good things that have come to my life this past year I look forward to the good things that will come in the New Year, and most certainly I don’t want to miss the moment I have. I’ve went from a battle with 4 kids tearing through my house trying to keep the chaos clean for family to come for the holidays, to only two older teens being left. So many moments just like this morning while my husband and I sit side by side enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about life, observing a sunrise together. It’s so good but then it’s gone. So many moments have come and gone. So many I didn’t want to miss.

I am thankful for the blessings of God on my life. I’ve walked through good times and excruciatingly painful times. He has always been there. He’s given me many moment just like today that I need to just soak in and enjoy. Because 10 years from now everything once again will be changed, and this moment I didn’t miss will be a treasure I can reminisce about and be thankful that I didn’t miss in the years to come.

Don’t miss it today! All the business that perfection of the presentation of our feast, the cleanliness of our homes, the stress these things can bring, can be robbers of the moment that only will come once and then be gone. Soak it in! Embrace it for the moment you have! And Thank God for the life He has given that provides all these beautiful moments we have been blessed with. Happy Thanksgiving and Don’t miss it!