With All My Heart in 2016

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Little drops of water,

Little grains of sand, 

Make the mighty ocean

And the pleasant land.

So the little moments, 

Humble though they be,

Make the mighty ages

of Eternity.

Little deeds of kindness,

Little words of love,

Help to make earth happy

Like the Heaven above.

Carl Sandburg’s next door neighbor, Julia Fletcher Carney, wrote it for the children.  The year was 1845.  Maybe it was the gray hair.  Or that she adored children and wanted to write for them.  Whatever the case, her little poem about the power of little things made its way down a century and a half, into thousands of McGuffey readers, and into this mother’s heart.

It starts for me in December.  That pondering of what I’ll do in the next year that will surpass this one.  The “add-ons” to my homeschool planner, because I can always do more, and do it differently and do it better.  The big goals that will set this coming year apart from all those preceding.  You’ve heard the saying, “Go Big, or Go Home!”  I like it.  And it has its place.  But, if God is in it…little is so so much.

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New Years Eve.  4 o’clock.  There I was in the kitchen over a boiling pot of barbecue sauce.  The charcoal was on, the rain was falling, and I knew he’d be needing that pot pretty soon to baste all that chicken.  Wooden spoon in the left hand, phone in the right scrolling through the pinterest app of exciting New Years Eve activities for kids.  There was the dozens of balloons held up to a ceiling fan with trash bags ready for the big drop in the middle of the living room.  And there was the wishing wand made with contact paper and glitter and gold ribbon nestled inside of a  perfectly cut star.  My kids would love that.  And then there was New Years glitter cloud dough!!!  Ooooohhhhh.

Stir that sauce.  The timer dings.   And the asparagus is ready!

It’s 8 o’clock.  Dinner is over.  And we’re all around the dining room table playing a game of Enchanted Forest.  Milk and chocolate chip cookies decorate the table and the sides of lips.  No balloons.

I wanted more for us.  Really.  And I listened to them giggle about their long-awaited sleepover plans.  The oldest, she had set up the boys’ room while we were off at the barber shop that morning.  There were trays of activities.  Headlamps.  Snacks.  Blankets.  And pillows set for the fight that would ensue later.  Dice are rolled and everyone is in a state of still.  They have missed nothing.  They feel loved.  Because the only way to love is to be unhurried.  “Love is patient…”  1 Corinthians 13:4.  To be unhurried, Kristen, maybe THAT is the beginning of love!

IMG_8539-2 IMG_8543-2 IMG_8544-2 IMG_8547-2 IMG_8548-2The Proverbs, there in chapter 19 verse 2, says “whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”  Oh Lord, let me recognize when I am hurried and hasty, lest I become blind to the beauty of milk mustaches and simple celebrations.  I can become so easily distracted by my own list of “must-do’s.”  My own chasing after the wind.  2016 has the potential to be a most unpredictable year.  With our house for sale and the possibility of building, there are many unknowns.  And there is potential for haste and hurry, rush and distractions.  Yet, this year, this 2016, I dream of deliberate, unrushed opportunities to cherish the children.  To cherish their father.  To cherish friends.  Family.  Haste is just a vehicle to my disheartenment.  And everyone else is along for the ride.  Lord, may I not “miss my way.”  May I not miss your leading for me to slow.

To be unhurried.  

To cherish the little moments, humble though they be.  The washing of dishes.  The kissing goodnight.  The one more story before nap.  The visits and chats with precious family. The lesson of tying his shoes.  The look on her face when the present she picked out is opened.  The hours spent each week in a laundry room.  The active listening when he tells me about his day.  The minutes in the van to have their undivided attention.  Slow down… The extra hands to hold on to the grocery cart.  The few minutes in the dark before little ones wake.  Cherish.  The 15th time he asks you to push him on that swing, “but wait until I’m not expecting it.”   The lit candle while I read the Psalms.  The morning minutes when they’re all around the table waiting for school assignments.  Let me not miss my way.  The way they fold laundry the best they know how.  The songs I hear of little voices while they try to stay awake.  Evening talks with the one my heart adores.  To be unhurried.

We finished the night off with sparkling cider and strawberries.  And they headed off after the game to begin a party of their own.  Each one, up till a little after midnight.  This morning, over breakfast, when Daddy asked them all to give thanks for something from 2015, one prayed, “Thank you Lord we got to do a sleepover.”

Cherish.  

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Celebrating the small leaves more room for sacred.  “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7

“Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”
― Elisabeth Elliot

Recently, in the Food Lion checkout, I swiped a debit card while watching 2 boys climb the shopping cart railing.  I’m mouthing and motioning to them and stroking my daughters hair who is standing right next to me.  She’s holding her own baby in her arms, talking to her.  Waiting on that receipt and those coupons to print, I felt her nuzzle in close to my waist.  And she said, “I love you.  It’s fun to be a mommy, but it’s better to have one.”  Humbled and oh so thankful, I will never forget those words.  Why would I ever want to hurry them through the passing minutes of the day and miss out on the dear meditations of their heart?

This prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo.  This too, my humble prayer for 2016.

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

Yes, slowing…

Comments

  1. I love your heart for your family! It’s so encouraging. I miss seeing your family’s sweet faces, but I look forward to seeing your posts and seeing them all through your lens. Have a wonderful new year!

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