the moments pop up here & there –
the ones that are so brilliant they seize your heart right up in thankfulness & marvel & joy.
one day, it was sitting around the living room, folding socks, and they started asking me about my recent trip in the airplane. they listened, wide-eyed, as i told them about boarding and how the plane was laid out and how we raced down a long runway before the plane lifted up just slightly and wheels retracted. eyes grew wider as i told them we went up through and then above the clouds, my son asked, “what shapes were the clouds?” and i knew he remembered summer days spotting puffy images of dogs and faces and ice cream in the billows. my daughter wanted to know if i could see the sun and moon and stars. i told them about how the whole world of streets and lakes and cars and building looked like tinker toys from up so high. they want to fly with me somewhere, someday, and i hope we will.
i don’t know what it was, but there was something about that little conversation that was so thrilling. their minds gathering information, forming ideas, learning to think in both concrete and abstract forms, with words put together in creative ways that only little ones can, all of us dreaming together a little bit. i felt almost tangibly what a privilege it is to be the one to teach my children about the world around them.
and then there was another day. poignant for a different reason. i blew up over an innocent potty accident that just happened to be about the 300th thing not going my way that afternoon. my sweet son said, clearly confused, “i don’t know why people get so mad.” and i was cut to the quick and reminded that fits of anger are acts of the flesh, right up there with sorcery, idolatry, sexual immorality. my anger was totally out of place and inappropriate. and as i’ve reflected on that time with my son and apologized to him, i’ve been reminded again of what a privilege it is to be the mother of my children. it is so stressful at times, but even that is God’s gift to me, to lead me to repentance and sanctification.
during our time of moving and transition, i’ve been considering what it looks like to be a good mama when things aren’t normal. this year i am not the baking queen or crafting time facilitator or Christmas-tree-search planner. i love those things, and for me, thats part of being loving mama and making special family traditions. but today our things are (mostly!) in boxes and we’re not doing much by way of gifts and my kids are watching a lot of cartoons while i pack and we don’t have so much as a wreath hung up (maybe we need one for our car?! 🙂 yes!), and its all really weird and hard to understand. but in some ways thats a gift because things are so simmered down to bare essentials only, and our traveling/packing stage of life has some applicable parallels to the Christmas story. it’s not as fancy or super fun as i’d like, but we’re still here with our children, loving them, reading some and following along this Advent book. most of all, i want to be modeling faith in the LORD. i want them to see and know the works of God in our lives, in our friends’ lives, in Scripture – so that eventually even when we’re not holding their hands, they will be like Elisha who was trained by the prophet Elijah – who, when finding he was without his master, knew who to call upon and found him to be faithful:
As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw itand cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over. [from 2 kings 2]
i pray that ours will be a legacy of faith & celebration in Christ, whether that includes tinsel & gingerbread in a cozy home, or something more unsettled but still rich & joyful.
it is all pure gift.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
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