It's early morning.
I'm sipping coffee and writing in my notebook. The boys are playing a serious game of chess at the kitchen table. Mr. Rules against Mr. Free-spirit. I chuckle inside, listening to their banter.
Where did time go? I'm sure it was yesterday these boys of mine were toddlers, grabbing at chunky toy cars and board books. In the days when every day seemed to drag on for a thousand hours and I seemed to forget how blessed I was.
I forgot for far too long. And I've been through the moulding and shaping and I'm starting to (finally) realize that every single second is a gift. And I can choose to savour the seconds. The minutes. The days, weeks, months... years.
I can choose to dial in and gaze upon the glory happening all around me.
I can choose to savour the simple.
The older son wins again and the younger wells up, ready to cry real tears. Always younger. Always losing. Always feeling a little bit less able than his bigger, all-knowing brother.
And my heart sings when the older brother soothes the younger in his own, 9-year-old way:
"Don't worry, Alex. Don't worry. If you were playing a 6-year-old, you'd totally annihilate him."
We all giggle.
Alex smiles and shrugs.
Two brothers, forging a friendship over morning chess.
This is the sacred ordinary.
Later, I hear squeals from the kitchen and see kids gathered at the back window.
"Mom! Mom! Come!"
"And a Cardinal!"
The oldest is bursting with joy, "He's HUGE Mom... look at the Woodpecker! Look at him! We've never seen one like that before!"
We gaze out at breath-taking bird clinging to our Suet perch. His head is bright red, wings - speckled black and white. Simon quickly finds the bird guide and searches. I spot several Dark-Eyed Junkos, two Black-Capped Chickadees, a few sparrows in the mix.
He grabs my attention and points to the picture of a Hairy Woodpecker. "It's got to be this one, Mom. Wow..." he breathes deep, satisfied. "He's amazing."
"Yes, he sure is." I'm awed by this winter morning, the feast of the birds.
"And Mama," a sweet voice chimes in. "Mama, look at the Cardinal too."
Mr. Cardinal is scarlet over a sea of white snow. How could we miss him? His song, his flash of crimson wings - he is an old friend around here. But, nevertheless, cherished.
The children are all aglow, alighted, at the beauty of the Backyard Birds.
This is the sacred ordinary.
I follow Audrey in the late afternoon to our little leaning chicken coop.
We greet our feathered pets with a high "Hello Girls!" and hear them 'buuuuh-rup-rup-rup-rup" in response. Five little hens, the sweet birds I never (in a million years) thought I'd call friends. Charlotte, Fudgie, Chancie, Gloria, and Champ peck at pieces of dried bread and veggie peels as we check for eggs and switch out the frozen water dish.
We pile straw and fluff bedding and try hard to make the hens' home as cozy as possible. It's surprisingly warm inside the wooden walls. Audrey plunks down and the hens climb all over their favourite human. We snuggle in for a little bonding time with our feathered friends, chuckling at their antics.
So much personality and wonder in five little birds. Five little birds most people call food. But, as Audrey would say, "These girls are friends not food." And I'm sure our hens are convinced their kittens, the way they allow us to pet and hug them.
We smile together and talk about when these girls hatched out and sit in bliss as the snow softly falls around us in the stillness of the afternoon.
Mr. Cardinal calls in the distance, perched on some far off branch.
This is the scared ordinary.
See, I used to think a life lived in communion with the Lord had to look extraordinary.
I mean, surely, it's only the missionaries to Africa or South America who truly see God. I lived waiting for some special 'call' on my life. Once I knew that 'call', I would really draw close to God, live in full, blissful covenant... my eyes "stayed" on Jesus. My husband and I prayed relentlessly for the Lord to 'revel His plan' for us, over and over we prayed. And we expected some big answer, and for a while, thought we were being led to serve in Uganda. All the while, we were neglecting the here and now - everything that was right in front of our very eyes.
While we were begging for a calling, we were missing the whole point.
We'd already been called.
Those of us who know the Lord and long to live for Him, already have a calling and it starts right now. Right where we are. We serve the Lord and dwell with Him in the everyday ordinary.
Yep. The seemingly mundane.
Oh, but it doesn't have to be mundane! Or ordinary at all.
When perspectives shift, time stands still and everything comes into focus. Every moment can be completely spectacular.
Every ordinary moment can become sacred.
I've realized that if I want to truly know Christ and have His Spirit dwell in and with me, it has to be now. I have to seek Him here and listen when He speaks. Now. Not later or when I have some huge calling that can be written down and labelled fancifully.
No, I find Him here.
Because if I can't embrace a life in communion with my Saviour in a country kitchen, who's to say I would find Him in Uganda?
And I'm not against missions or saying certain people aren't called to do something very out of the 'ordinary'! It happens and God uses those people in mighty ways. But, the truth is, most of us are called to live life right where we are and to live it on task and in surrender to the One who 'called us out of darkness and into His glorious Light'.
See, if I can't see His hand upon my life as I flip pancakes, teach spelling, and pet chickens - how can I fully understand the truth of who He is?
If I can't hunger and thirst for His presence as a Mama living a humble, almost invisible, little life - then when would that change?
He is Immanuel, God with us.
Not Immanuel, if and when and maybe someday when I'm 'called'.
No. Immanuel, God with us now.
Today. In your everyday moments, find Him. Seek Him with all your heart. He's there.
He wants to be part of our simple. Our normal. Because that's just how He calls us, isn't it? 'Come, just as you are...?"
And I sense His spirit with me -
sitting cross legged on my bed with a tea and an open bible
embracing our children in the morning sunshine
hearing the sing-song of the winter birds
gazing a the moving clouds as a storm rolls in
holding the hand of the one I love
giggling over poems and munching Fishie crackers
He is there. He is faithful.
We don't need to go anywhere at all, we just need to open our eyes and our hearts.
We need to simply call out to Him and listen.
And know that when we call, He will come.
And the ordinary will be ordinary no longer.