Friday, September 30, 2011

Treasures from a nature walk -- some you see and some you can't

I believe everyone goes through it every once in a while.  The past few days, it's been me.

I've been in a bit of a funk.

It's weird. Nothing is 'wrong'. Most things are, well--right, actually. I feel close to the Lord, to my kids and my husband, we have everything we could possibly need, we are healthy...the list could go on.

{his "hugest" leaf--an oak}

I couldn't put my finger on what was up, but Wednesday night in my ladies Bible study, Beth Moore smacked me upside the head with it. (High five if you LOVE that woman too.)

Even if you are not a Christian, stick with me here for a moment.

{seeds from a sweet gum tree--referred to by E as "spiky bombs"}

I am doing the study of Esther, and we were discussing how Esther's circumstances of being an orphan had radically affected her life. Beth had done an internet survey, inviting women of all walks of life to talk about some of their situations, and she was reading one of the ladies' survey questions aloud.

One of them went something like this: I feel like the jobs I am doing every day at home as a wife/mother don't matter--and at the same time, I feel guilty for wishing for significance, recognition, and importance.

{the maple tree seeds--he intends to plant his own tree}

Beth talked about the things that that mother probably did daily: wiped snot, cleaned up toys or throw up or toys or dirty dishes or toys, broke up arguments, fed others numerous meals (oh, and cleaned up after each one, too) and got up sometimes countless times a night to deal with who-knows-what. Things that don't seem at all like they make a difference--let alone are glamorous.

{the entire haul from his bucket}

Until, one day, tragedy strikes; and, out of the blue--that mother is gone.

Boy, are those 'insignificant' things that she did awfully noticeable now, once she is not there to do them on a daily basis.

{beautiful huge acorns}

That hit me so hard, but not in the way you might think. I realized not that I am searching for something more glamorous, or important, or significant, but that I am not seeing the joy and significance already present in my everyday life. I am not seeing what I do as purposeful in anyone's eyes--and I'm missing opportunities because of it.  She was able to phrase things in such a way to bring me around to seeing what the problem was.

I get up. I feed them. I clean up. I eat (maybe). I do chores. I play with them. I clean up again. I feed them again. I read to them. I work while they sleep. I help with homework. I feed them again. I clean up again. I clean them up. I read to them. I tuck them in. I go to sleep.

{ooooh-ing and aaaaahhh-ing over the spiky bombs}

Then, I do it all over again the next day. And the next. And the next.

Can you relate?

But here's the deeper reality:  I've cared for every single need they have ever had since the day they were born.

And, to find true joy, I need to choose to stop looking at these things as chores--and start viewing the mundane as the biggest things anyone will ever do for them in this life. Ever.

Being everything to them for now, while pointing them to the True Everything who will take their lives and do with it only what a loving, all-knowing, all-gracious God can.

{"I love these ones, Mommy....}

Seeing the little things as opportunities.

Like when your child says "I want to give some of my acorns back to the squirrels, they won't be hungry."

An opportunity to discuss loving others; giving; unselfishness; putting others before yourself; kindness.

Or when he asks you before putting each leaf into his bucket "Do you think this is a good one Mommy?" You say "Yes" over and over and watch him put the leaves in the bucket; then decide to test him on one by saying, "No...." and you watch as he puts it back on the ground.

An opportunity to realize just how much your opinion of things really means to him.

We had a wonderful walk together and made wonderful memories. 
I will treasure our day yesterday forever.

And now, I'm off to go find something amazing in my day. It'll be there. Guaranteed.


Mary Ann said...

I know just what you mean. It's the same thing even without kids. It's the daily stuff that can really drag you down. It never fails to tempt me to discouragement when the dishes are done, but oops! Here's another glass. There are some things that just don't ever get done. But it's a ministry of service - whether to your kids or your husband, or your church family, etc. It's easy to get weary in well doing, but the Lord always lifts us up & lets us see the beauty all along the path of duty - if we let Him. Thanks for the great reminder!

Kara said...

You hit the nail girl! I have been walking that lately myself! Love you friend!

Amy said...

Thanks for the reminder. I needed this.

Brittany said...

Great post, Dev. I would really like to do the Esther study. *high five!* You're taking some pretty sweet pictures with that new camera of yours too. :)