Seven months ago (minus one day :), I wrote the post below on the subject of progress. Tonight when I sat down to blog, amidst my fill of emotions on a challenging evening, I knew there were words I’d written before that would fit the bill to a T. This particular post was a good reminder for me about being intentional and making the most of what we’ve been given. I’ll share more soon about why this is so significant in the moment, but for now, I hope the refresher is as good for you as it was for me tonight. The part striking a chord most fittingly was this–
Love your heart out. Love until it hurts, until you’re exhausted and you can’t see straight. Love like tomorrow may not come, and then love even more when it does. Love so that everything [anyone] knows of you is filling up and bubbling over with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control…Love. Oooooooh, it’s the very easiest and the very hardest thing to do at times. But it’s worth it.
Without further ado, progress:
“It’s in the little things. I used to think that moving forward meant huge strides or big, ginormous leaps into new territory, but sometimes (or most times) it’s the small, hard-to-notice steps that really make the biggest difference. This applies to so many things in life…the littlest prayer turns into a daily conversation with God, which turns into life change and spiritual wellness and world change if we let it. One first jog around the block becomes two, becomes miles, becomes a marathon. One day’s change in a piggy bank evolves into a dream vacation, a college fund, a downpayment on a house, savings. And all of the little steps we take to get to such monumental places in our lives are each significant in their own right. Without one step, how can we take two?
I’m thinking about this tonight as I ponder our new way of life with a little one, and as our conversations these days revolve around schedules, structure, finances, our future…Henry’s. When you have a baby, suddenly you think about his or her future more than your own. And life choices feel more significant because you’re making them for more than just you; for more than just you and your spouse and your future together for the next however many years. Now, I think about Henry and the generations after him. I think about things like diapers in landfills (insignificant in the grand, Kingdom scheme) and generational sin (HUGELY significant where the Kingdom’s concerned)–and everything in between. How will we afford what Henry needs on every level? Spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally, financially? And what about his someday brothers or sisters? Whoa. There is serious significance to a good number of the decisions we make, and at just shy of three months old, Henry is making this more obvious to us than ever before. (Just one of the many reasons we’re meant to procreate and look after children, no?)
So these smallish steps we’re taking daily are baby steps for a reason. We have to relearn to navigate a lot of territory, for Henry’s sake, yes, but for our own as well. There are still plenty of priorities that stayed the same when Henry came along, but there’s a whole new set of priorities that are edging their way into the daily mix. Of utmost importance and at the top of the priority list? Love.
Love your heart out. Love until it hurts, until you’re exhausted and you can’t see straight. Love like tomorrow may not come, and then love even more when it does. Love so that everything this little person knows of you is filling up and bubbling over with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Love in your home so that there’s no question about where it comes from. Love God so that your little one(s) can see Him radiating through you into their lives. Love your spouse, inwardly and outwardly, in such a way that your tiny babe can SEE it between you and KNOW how secure a life he or she is living as part of a family. Love. Oooooooh, it’s the very easiest and the very hardest thing to do at times. But it’s worth it.
Every time we choose love over the alternative (whatever that may be in any case…exhaustion, laziness, disdain, frustration, sadness, emptiness, loneliness, forgetfulness, distraction, pain, naivety, hate, mistrust…), we take one step in the right direction. Not only the right direction for our little ones, but for our own hearts, our marriages, our friendships, and most especially, for our relationship with Christ. And that–no matter how many dishes are left dirty in the sink, no matter how many loads of laundry are left to do at the end of the day, is progress.
I want Henry to remember a mom who took care of things…one who cooked and cleaned and washed and kept things up so he felt provided for in as many ways as possible. But more than that, I want him to remember how I prayed. And I want him to remember–so well that he can grasp at any moment, for his whole lifetime, how I loved.”