Tuesday Benediction

I haven’t read my Bible yet today. And I’m still trying to let what I studied yesterday resonate with me today, that is, if I can remember it. Sometimes I struggle to recollect sentences that I read only moments ago. My brain moves on, my thoughts move elsewhere, my spirit distresses over other things.

I ate lunch with my husband and two of my boys this afternoon at a fast food restaurant and watched a mother and her daughter at another table. Her daughter was playing rather than eating, even after the beckoning of, “C’mon honey, hurry up,” while the mom spent the entire time scrolling and typing on her phone. I know what it is to be there, and I certainly cannot judge her for having a phone out during lunch. Guilty party here. Lonely, mundane, repetitive. Some days feel like a time bomb until bedtime. But it did spur something in me. A gear moved.

Four years ago today, I gave birth to the happiest baby. I anxiously and naively waited for his arrival for nine months, and nearly every moment of his life I have spent waiting for the next milestone, the next moment, the next anything. This mindset trickled into every area of life: the next home project, the next date night, the next vacation, the next paycheck, the next house, the next car, the next day. I fixated my eyes on what is to come, a promising practice when done in the right context. In this situation, in most situations, it crumbled my foundation, it ruined me for my kids. I do not dwell on it, but I do acknowledge it. Truth here is this: I am guilty of pressing on too hard toward other things rather than pressing into Jesus.

What does that mean? How is it possible to press into Jesus? What does that look like?

Let’s go back to that mom and her daughter this afternoon. She was not guilty of anything. If anything, I wanted to pray with her or tell her how beautiful her little girl was. A reminder that this day is not lost because kids are kids and drive us up walls and into crazy places in our minds. I wanted to remind her that looking ahead, looking away, fixating on the “to come’s” and “tomorrows” will disintegrate our connection to the moment. The power of the now.

As a new mom, and for a few years after, I didn’t think much on what was before me. I went through the motions of taking care of my people, but mostly spent my time just getting by. Making it through the day. Wishing I could take a nap. Hoping that someone would give me a break. Trying to pray. Hoping I could read my Bible. Hoping that just being here was enough.

And some days, as a mom, that’s as good as I can get. Just being here, present. Going through the motions. It is not easy, it is not promised to be without frustrations, and I embrace the truth that I cannot thrive continuously.

Rather than wishing, hoping, or thinking of the “next”, I want to turn my face to Christ. It’s funny how when we focus on eternal glory–something our human minds cannot fully comprehend, a time that seems beyond time–it becomes easier to focus on the present. It becomes easier to let go of perfection.

In the past year, I have seemed to hit a few more valleys than mountaintops. I remember one night praying in bed, trying to give the monstrous weight of my anxiety over to God, and I got a picture in my mind of what it feels like to be with Him. To rest in Him. I was thinking of Psalm 91:4 that says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” To be covered in His power, curled against Him like a child longing for comfort. There is no fear, there is no pain. There is nothing that can harm me, threaten me, or hinder me.

He covers you. He is your refuge. He is a faithful God, whose promises do not fail. Your shield. Your rampart. He is your strength in your weakness.

Let Him do what He has promised to do for you. There is no “if” in His promises. If you love me, I will love you? No, no. He does love you. He loves you regardless, He loves you when you don’t love Him, He loves you when you love Him more than life. Continuously, steadily. He is not waiting for a moment to love you, a “next” to come along. He loves you now.

Don’t wait for the next moment. Don’t anticipate a time when things will be better. He isn’t waiting for a better time, there is no greater moment than this one. Let go of what you can’t control, embrace the imperfectness of all of it. Press into Him. Eyes to the heavens, sister.  And watch the world light up.

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