One of the most commonly repeated words of wisdom to young mothers is to "enjoy it...it'll all be over in a blink..." Any new mother in the trenches will generally smile wearily and sigh. On the one had we know, but on the other hand...have they forgotten about stomach bugs, sleep deprivation, being unable to complete a thought much less a sentence and that awful time of day between 5-7pm?
But seasoned Moms have a different perspective. They know that years down the road it all melds together in your memory. The highs and lows aren't quite as severe in the rearview mirror--they blend into a story that is more sweet that bitter. It is yours, for better or for worse, and it was worth it.
The last couple of days I have been wondering why we only repeat that advice about young parenthood. Doesn't life follow these same basic principles? Why aren't we as earnest in our pursuit of 'savoring' other parts of our journey--even the steep climbs in the journey of life?
I often treat life like a television program or movie on my dvr. I like to fast forward through the slow parts, the violence and the commercials. I just want the meat and the happy ending--when everything gets wrapped up in neat little packages. Real life doesn't work this way.
God has been
challenging me lately to evaluate my daily thought life against what I profess
to believe. There are phases in marriage, parenthood, friendships that try me. I just want to get the lesson and MOVE ON. My Christian world view teaches that there is purpose in all of it--every single bit.
Like Ralph Macchio's character in the Karate Kid, I grow bored with painting the fence and "wax on wax off." I am so short sighted about what God is really up to most of the time. So the challenge in my heart has been this: What would happen if we were committed to not rushing any stage of life away? What would it look/feel like to try to (gulp) savor the rainy seasons the way we do the sunny ones? Why can't I learn to appreciate the time in the training phases that are equipping me for what is to come? Why don't I live like I believe that God reveals Himself through it all?
I say I trust the One writing the Story...yet I am frustrated by plot twists and slow moving chapters. Trusting Him means trusting Him with all of it. It is no stretch to follow when you enjoy the sights, sounds and experiences of that place...it is real, true faith to keep following when it is dark, scary, lonely and/or not quite what you had in mind.
moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside
helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't
matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our
wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know
ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before
God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love
for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 The Message
6-7Don't fret or worry.
Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries
into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a
sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come
and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces
worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 The Message
Learning to look for what God has for us in each place is the difference in a life of seemingly random circumstances and one of meaning and purpose. So we hold our breath. We turn the page. We learn to not rush any of it. (I gulp hard every time I type that.) We trust that however many pages it takes for the plot (or more likely, the character) to develop will be worth it. We trust that our God does not waste pain, or waiting. We trust His timing. All the time.
It's interesting that God has laid all this on my heart when I am in a sunny, peaceful season. I pray when the next season comes, I will be found faithful to the lesson. Trusting. Following. Peaceful despite my circumstances. May it may be true of me.