The Extraordinary in the Ordinary
I have finally started allowing Thomas to play outside without me watching him. I’m a helicopter parent like that. I pull my car to the end of the driveway and tell them, “Do not go past my car. Ever.” With those commands on an unseasonably warm afternoon; I turned the blinds upward in my sunroom to fight glare, sat down in my tufted chair, and opened my computer to begin writing.
The first time he came in crying, he had been sitting on something he wasn’t supposed to be sitting on, and fell backwards landing on his head. On concrete. The knot on his head went out, it didn’t cave in, and someone told me once that means everything is okay. I went with it, and sent him back outside. The second time he stumbled in crying, he had stepped on his scooter wrong, and it flipped up and hit his eye. Ella described it as, “Kind of like on those cartoons when the person steps on a rake.” Nice. He recovered quickly from that injury, so I sent him back out to continue all the fun he was clearly having. The third time, I heard the screaming, but he never appeared through our side door…not a good sign, because that means he’s not walking. Caroline frantically came through the door and said, “We have an emergency.” Oh for the love. I found Thomas prostrate on the driveway, screaming as though his body had been severed in two. In defense of his drama, there was a lot of blood. He fell and scraped his hip, but blood was oozing pretty steady, and white shirts make things look so much worse. I carried him in, and through tears and snot he cried, “I have no idea what is happening to me.” You and me both kid.
As the days pass, and now as we flirt with Spring, I sometimes wonder the same thing. I’m a girl who loves to see accomplishment, progress, a checklist checked off. I like met goals. I like big purpose and big accomplishments. Go big or go home. And then these last two years happened. Progress seems small when you are at home with little ones, and the days are long. When our goals seemed too small, I tried to make them bigger. Push harder. Reach higher. I spent way too much of my two years at home with the girls fighting to accomplish it all. Yes, fighting. With no one but myself. I spent entirely too much time going back outside for one more go at it, and over and over again finding myself tired, scraped up, and wondering, “What keeps happening to me?” I can (we can) be so quick to pick up loads we were never intended to carry; and it makes traveling on this walk so much more difficult than ever intended.
I received an email awhile back from a friend asking me, “Do you ever struggle to simply enjoy each moment with The Lord because of all your responsibilities?” It was a genuine question, one I am certain came straight from the heart of a like-minded sister who struggles with that very same thing. But for me on that day, I read the question and became immediately defensive (ummmm….side note: that’s a red flag). I mentally began defending my case to her and to myself, against myself, and for myself. I defended all my “responsibilities”, all my “busyness”, all my “ministries”. Tied in a million knots, with no clue how to unravel, I just sat staring at the computer screen. With one surrendered exhale, I finally responded upward to the question which had been presented and said, “Yes.”
And the knots began to loosen.
What about you? Do you look everywhere but right in front of you for purpose? Do you clamor and claw for contentment and joy, when both seem to be everywhere but where you are? Do you intentionally seek to enjoy the moment of today? The everyday, ordinary moment of exactly where you are, even when that means wiping noses and applying bandaids? Do you see Jesus in those moments? Are you looking for Him there? Because I am learning, I will never catch Him if I am always in the chase. We don’t find Him that way. He doesn’t play those kinds of games with us, and He doesn’t make seeking Him that hard. We find Jesus when we sit, when we are still. When we say “Thank you Lord for today. Thank you for what you have placed in front of me at this moment. Empower me to bring you glory in the ordinary of my day, in the ordinary of this very moment. Not tomorrow’s moment. But today, with these children, today. With my husband, today. Under this ordinary roof, in the ordinary of my life, will you make Your Presence known and make my ordinary, extraordinary, just because You are here?”
And suddenly through surrender, ordinary becomes extraordinary, and there is joy in the moment.