By the beginning of August, many are excited to see pumpkin décor and school supplies hit the shelves. It’s the promise of something new after the dog days of summer—the changing of leaves, weather, and routines. I’m over here still clinging to summer—and not just because I love popsicles and pool days, but this season in particular has been the greatest reminder of the small things.
Being a mother of two little ones is truly my greatest privilege. I’ve not taught them any skill nearly as valuable as the ways they have shown me. Their unjaded, unfiltered, and innocent perspectives see adventure in the shortest of steps and hear irresistible stories in the songs of sparrows. More than anything, they’ve never needed to be taught that the good stuff is most often the small stuff. I don’t know about you, but I need lessons to be reinforced and repeated before they truly click. You would think that after four years of Mom-practice, I’d automatically see the splendor of everyday.
To streamline these days, I recently purchased a new agenda that promises to “change your life.” Bold claim, right? And as I’ve been sitting and penciling in dentist appointments and birthday parties, I’m going to have to admit that I’m still the same gal. I still drink more coffee than my doctor recommends, I don’t wear sunscreen like I should, and I try to plan (and accomplish) EVERYTHING. In each little blank, I pencil in tentative alarm times, to-do lists, book-lists, grocery lists, and all the goals of the week from finances, fitness, and family time.
Then there’s the gratifying (or too often, condemning) check box.
I hit snooze, I didn’t get around to dusting cobwebs, the stack of books on my nightstand actually grew, and despite the fact that the budget was blown at Kroger, we always need milk around here. And these are just the “small” things…
Oh, but God works on us slowly.
I never slowed down seven days a week, and then I was convicted about my treatment of the Sabbath. Yes, we attended church. But then I would rush home and do all the laundry, every unnecessary chore, run back out to the store, and try and power through to get ahead for the week. Then I’d lay down at night and fall asleep as I’m asking God to help me feel more rested.
Without fail, on Monday mornings I would be staring at the empty check-boxes or yet another empty cup of coffee. Now, I know it’s my scrupulous tendencies that need to get in check.
But thank God for His gentle reminders… because then my precious ones are ready for playtime, and it’s back to pretending to be pirates or stalking tigers in the un-mowed grass. And I relax… because these are the small moments that I can’t precisely schedule and happen regardless of my to-do list status. I just have to be present and soak in these “little” memories-in-the-making which are the greatest treasures of parenting.
I think it’s significant that the “Feeding of the 5000” is included in all four Gospels. From one little boy’s basket, Jesus is able to feed the masses more than enough and even have leftovers. He demonstrates how with just a little, He can do immeasurably more.
Give Him the little messes of the day. The worries. The shortcomings (ahem, my scrupulous tendencies). Even the schedule… And then watch how He turns our “Little” into more grace than we will ever need.
I’ve been slightly anxious about the change of seasons. It’s as if I’m afraid that as the temperatures get colder and we are forced indoors, that it will put walls and limits around imaginations… or more terrifying, my boys will grow up. But if I trust Him with one truth (which I do), then I must trust Him with all. There’s a season for everything—and even more comforting, He walks through every season with us.
This is what He can do with just a little. But friends, He doesn’t ask for just a small piece of our lives. He wants the whole thing. Imagine what He can do with that!