It’s an interesting tension to be awake to great joy and immense sadness at the same time. I rejoice over a sweet day with my daughter, knowing many others are experiencing loss and pain and grief. I spoke with a paramedic friend recently and remarked how often I forget the kind of life first responders live — the burdens they carry — the depth of goodness and evil they might encounter multiple times a day. At any moment, there is death and there is life. I want to be a person keenly aware of life’s fleeting nature but brimming with gratitude for what’s here and what’s now.
Tonight I was reminded how kind God is, for me to be in a crowd of people and feel known, smiled at, delighted in and pursued by Him. To rest. To not need to be noticed by others but to be free and energized to notice others. To give the kind of attention He’s giving me to someone else, even for a moment. What a game-changing way to experience life.
The only certain, unchanging thing in the world is the nature of God. Tim Keller wrote, “In the original language, “Fear the Lord” doesn’t mean be afraid. It means sustaining a joyful, astonished awe, and wonder before Him.”
A reality that is new to me but becoming more and more important is how organic humans are and should be allowed to be. Yes, stand firm on your convictions. Yes, for the Christ-followers in the house, stay close to truth in word and Truth the person. But, give space and grace for others to change their minds. Give space and grace for you to change your mind. Resist the temptation to think you failed or made wrong choices when circumstances are simply different and require something different from you. See the person before you as valuable and worthy of being seen, as they are, where they are. It’s not our responsibility to change people. Or for ourselves to be the same people we are today 5 months or years from now. I’m learning this in real time in parenting. Anna is growing and changing as swiftly as the days change it seems. I need fresh wisdom and grace every hour some days. I rehearse words God gave me early in my parenting journey: “parent the child in front of you.” Not the one she was last month, not the one you think she *should* be, the one she is today.
I like these words of Richard Foster’s: “The discovery of God lies in the daily and the ordinary, not in the spectacular and the heroic. If we cannot find God in the routines of home and shop, then we will not find him at all. Ours is to be a symphonic piety in which all the activities of work and play and family and worship and sex and sleep are the holy habitats of the eternal.”
Prioritizing my own physical and emotional and mental health is important, but God is a God who has produced water in the desert and multiplied bread and fish. He can create sustenance, energy, calm and insight in me when I can’t make it happen myself. How. Great. Is. He.