This fall, I hit an uncomfortable, inevitable milestone: for the first time in our marriage (barring the gap of our own making), our baby is two and a half years old, and there’s no little brother or sister already in my arms or waiting to make an appearance.
Sometimes we have to stay focused. Sometimes we need to think bigger, and to forget the small things for a season.
About six years ago, I realized I had fallen into a trap. I had become an avid consumer of devotional materials… and a very poor patron of my Bible.
I spent a decent amount of time pondering theology and thinking on the meaning of God’s Word. But there wasn’t a whole lot of real reflection taking place because, to be honest, I wasn’t reading more than a verse or two at a time— and those verses had already been chewed for me.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. —Francis of Assisi
The two lines weren’t supposed to be there. You took the test on a whim. If anything, you thought, Murphy’s Law would come into play and you’d start your period as you were waiting for the seconds to tick by on the timer.
One of the projects I was most excited about this summer is one of those purely delight-driven, purely fanciful little endeavors that make the best kind of memories: a sunflower house. We attempted one once, years ago, in Washington. I probably should have just hand-fed sprouts to the slugs for all the good it did me. I think we grew three sunflowers that year, which was lovely, but it wasn’t a house. It didn’t create the sweet little hideaway I had hoped for. Call me a pessimist, but I never tried again.
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow, we mothers decided that we should be busy. I blame the NIV Bible, which translates Titus 2:5 like this:
to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
This isn’t a milk and honey season for us. Everything– time, money, the ability to stop and simply be present for a few hours each day– seems to be in short supply.
The temptation, then, is to mourn the loss. To look backwards at those years when the bank account was fatter and we could routinely bless others, to regret that days are no longer spent curled on the couch reading book after book to the children splayed all over the floor. To recall all of the moments that are not now and wish them here, to be lived again and again, forever.
There are plenty of things I don’t understand in the Bible. Some are routine, “how did He do that?!” impossibilities that my brain can’t wrap around. Others are bits that I cringe away from, like God saying, “That people group? Wipe them out. All of them. Women and children, too.”