I'm sipping steaming Vanilla Rooibos tea and flipping through images of the day. Ordinary, everyday moments from an Ordinary, everyday life. The kitchen is a mess, there's a cupboard open, bowls are stacked askew, dishes piled by the sink, books everywhere. (Where do all the books comes from?)
I'm munching a piece of dry cereal when tears sting my eyes. These faces. Our children. I love them so deeply it physically hurts sometimes. The little five-year-old boy staring at me from behind a copy of “Philosophy of Education” - as if he's fully engaged in a good read. He whispers: it's actually a comic and Sonic is fighting the bad guy and its a 'really good one Mama'. Simon, Audrey, and I laugh out loud and I refrain from mentioning, Mrs. Charlotte Mason wouldn't likely approve of Sonic as quality literature.
My heart burns inside of me - he's so sweet and so innocent and suddenly, somehow, in this photo, he looks older. Those eyes – I pray I will see them age creased with deep, deep laugh lines. But please, Alex – stay five forever.
People ask why I take so many photos. Because each photo captures a moment of my life. Every time I click the camera, I'm reminding myself how blessed I am. That I live a life worth capturing. It's a soul act – the physical click is like an alarm to myself to wake up and take it in. Because it's here today but it could be gone tomorrow. And it will be gone on one coming tomorrow – although, hopefully a distant one. Scripture says our lives are momentary. Just a wave in the ocean, a vapor in the wind.
I snap Audrey doing her Math in the early morning sunshine.
And our big bowl of apples as we bake Apple Pie together.
Alex – coloring on the floor and telling me all his Christmas wishes from the Playmobil catalog (yes, already).
Our glorious daily walk in the woods.
Making leaf collages.
Alex stealing a taste of crust.
Every snapshot is a heart reminder to
wake up and open my heart to right now.
Not every moment is an easy moment. Our life is crazy and busy and I can't even pee in peace most days. (A side-note: Just yesterday, I tried to sneak to the bathroom at Walmart. I begged the kids to come with me, but they wanted to 'wait outside'. So, they sat a millimeter from the bathroom door - I could hear them talking - I was so close. Mid-pee, I hear screaming. Alex has pinched his finger in between the buggy and the bench and the sales lady is tapping her foot with a concerned look on her face as I blaze out of the loo to hug my poor child. Yep. Negligent homeschooler with her kids at Walmart at 2pm...and everyone stares.)
I get it, Mamas – life isn't always strolling through Autumn leaves. I know, it can be hard. I've cried myself to sleep from exhaustion. I know that pain, friend.
But this life?Yes, the one that surrounds you right now. Right at this moment – look around you and see.
Wide-eyed look – the mess, the toys, the books, the people, the home, everything... they are gifts. Here today but not forever. And yes, your life may feel very, very Ordinary, but you are called to be in it fully and completely.
Right now is your calling.
Oswald Chambers whispered to me in book-form last night:
“The true test of a person's spiritual life and character is not what her does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening... Spiritual truth is learned through the atmosphere that surrounds us, not through intellectual reasoning...It is God's Spirit that changes the atmosphere of our way of looking at things, and then things begin to be possible which before were impossible...”
Yes. The impossible becoming possible in Christ. Because some days – homeschooling, and cooking and cleaning and trying to do age 9+ K'nex with no luck, and running after children through grocery stores, and going to a meeting at night, and trying my hardest to help where I feel so helpless, and coming home to prepare the next day's food, lessons, and readings until 1am – yes, that life? Even though it's ordinary, it definitely feels impossible sometimes.
But with Him - ah, everything changes. Because Christ comes in and His grace reigns supreme in a home and suddenly every day gushes with love and a peace that surpasses all understanding and the hard things become doable and the simple things become incredibly sacred. And it is in this process of the simple becoming sacred that we wake up. Suddenly, an ordinary moment brings us to our knees in joy and thanksgiving and we're so happy. So overcome with joy and love - yes, that fullness of joy we are promised, it IS within reach. And those moments of awe? They'll get you through the tough ones. Oh, yes they will.
And sometimes, us we all need to hear it just one more time:
There is no call more meaningful or life altering than embracing where you are right now.
Chambers is right – it is during those Ordinary times when mighty transformation is taking place. As we draw closer to Jesus, we open our eyes wider and embrace what is right here around us. We sit in reverence and thanksgiving in the plain days. And the plain days become crazy gifts.
Yes, the Ordinary.
The Seemingly Invisible.
The Sometimes Mundane.
It's all Holy work and we are at the center.
So, the Ordinary is never really Ordinary because through God lenses, the everyday is sacred and eternally valuable.In a crazy, fast-paced world, we don't take near enough time to truly, honestly notice the gifts around us every single day. To notice the depth of what we have. A simple smile. Feeling soft hands on mine as we roll out dough for a pie. Sharp pencil crayons in a row. Sweet girls mothering a stuffed animal lamb. Brothers shooting Nerf guns while pots bubble on the stove. All these seconds, snapshots of grace and love.
A prayer for this weekend:
"Father God, thank you for the every moment you have given me. Each and every breath and every day I walk this beautiful earth. Open my eyes to the ones around me. Show me your path, Lord. Help me see the radiance and beauty in the ordinary. Open my heart to your truth and the wonder of your ways. Make me more like You - full of grace, bursting with love. Help me not be distracted - too distracted to really see. Shake me, wake me up to eternity and the souls surrounding me. Help me to fully engage with all my being and see the ones you've entrusted me with. See my calling. See my purpose. See You, Father. Hold me close, God - some days are so hard. Show me how to walk in truth and light though all seasons and every single one of my moments. Thank you for Your grace, so rich and so free. In Jesus mighty name..."