There are a lot of parts of my life that are present every day and yet not what I want to promote, preserve or perseverate on. The chores, the squabbles, the messes, the outbursts...spilled coffee, dirty floorboards, hurting hearts. Of course those moments are there--and God is working in them to sanctify my heart---but who wants that in their chatbooks to flip through later?
So, I post the moments my heart treasures--the ones that make the rest worthwhile. Lately I have felt a real twinge every time I post a photo--a desire to tell the rest of the story. So, without further adieu, a few of my recent Instas and 'the rest of the story.'
About 30 minutes after this picture was snapped we returned to my inlaws' house to a very sick little girl who I spent 3 hours laying with in a toddler bed as she cried and coughed--and an outraged brother who was exhausted from sharing a room with her and took personal offense at the noise from her coughing fits.
BUT...for a few beautiful hours, I was just a girl on a date with a guy I adore and that is the picture I want most to remember.
A couple of weeks ago I captured this shot of little girls, staring out the door waiting on Trick or Treaters to walk up onto our porch. It was Halloween. They were simultaneously revved up and exhausted, squabbling even as I snapped this photo. There were tears. I had to make a rotation system for who got to hold the big basket of candy when the people arrived. But they were giddy and nervous as this was the first time they had ever been Trick or Treating or passed out candy.
(And the next several weeks are going to be magical as I recently received a breathless, incredulous question..."Wait! What? Christmas is Jesus' birthday????")
Looking through my camera roll I realized I could do this for most of our pictures. For every sweet reason I want to remember a moment there is at least a tinge of bitter. It's what makes life so complex and full.
Most are familiar with the 80/20 rule (also known as Pareto's Principle), a business term stating that 20% of what we do is vital and 80% is trivial. The older I get the more I can see that this seemingly off-kilter ratio is applicable to many parts of my life--and can often feel more like 90/10.
The majority of what I do during a day seems insignificant, dull, frustrating even--but when I experience those rare flashes of clarity, focus and purpose I KNOW they have redeemed the less memorable parts. Fruit comes from faith and work. I can almost hear my soul remark, "OK, now I get it. This is what all the drama was about."
Every day it seems God is sending me a little wink--a reminder that He is still VERY MUCH in charge.
Last week a challenging morning resulted in a tearful apology from me to one of our girls. In a stressful situation I jumped to the wrong conclusion and in doing so had hurt her little heart. I later heard from a friend that she had observed the whole thing (unbeknownst to me). Embarrassed, I fumbled to explain the circumstances that led us to that moment in the hall at church. She tearfully told me how God had used the picture of me, humbled and on my knees apologizing to this child, to speak to her heart. God redeems even our messiest moments.
As a tired and overwhelmed 40+ year old housewife/mama of five, my definition of "living for the moment" has evolved. It is far less about being footloose and fancy free and instead about keeping my eyes wide open for the moments that redeem so much of the challenging parts of my life.
These glimpses of beauty right smack in the middle of messiness are IT. Like the gold miner who sees the tiny glint and realizes the hunt has been fruitful...redemption is found in the small moments that dot our path. May we fix our eyes on the PRIZE not the circumstances and the challenges on the way.
Yes, we must give those obstacles our attention as we pass through...but I want my eyes to be fixed on redemption, grace, love, lessons being learned and the truth that God is active through it all.