"Don’t blink. It goes too quickly,” she tucked her bulging purse under her elbow and gave one last, long look at my boys. I don’t think she was seeing them, their unruly cowlicks or pants that had become too short overnight. Though standing in that cereal aisle amongst colorful boxes of corn syrup flavored flakes, the kind, elderly lady was somewhere else entirely.
Only minutes before, I’d been frustrated with those same boys. We’d been trying to get out the door in a timely fashion, but timely and two boys don’t mix. They’re full of joy and excitement for every moment, while every bit of me wanted to hurry and hush and rush them toward an invisible, meaningless finish line of groceries and a gauntlet of errands. “Hurry! C’mon!”
As I was driving that curvy road, considering the heaping piles of laundry and endless list of tasks left undone, it hit me like the unannounced spring shower: time doesn’t belong to me.
I never decided when I would be born. It’s well established that I have no control over when my days will end. The in-between? Somewhere along the line, I’ve mistakenly claimed it as mine, and now it’s time to give it back.
Since this is the day the Lord has made, it is His. Just as at the end of each Sunday school class, teachers are left asking, “Who made this? Whose is this?” Tiny, glitter-glue covered hands wave high into the air to claim their sticky creations. With the same childlike pleasure yet infinitely more masterful way, God made this moment. Right now.
Therefore, if we take our days, if we gather the moments of good or grief and we ask Him to be there with us, God will surely use it. First, we must quit putting bright orange flags over every area of our lives that we claim for ourselves—our schedules, work, finances, home, entertainment, marriage, everything we’ve deemed to be under our dominion—and give it back to Him. God will use it, and we must trust the outcome.
The elderly lady shuffled toward the next aisle, and I turned and laughed with my boys. One was genuinely surprised to discover that he’d put on his jeans (buttoned and zipped) backwards. I hoped that’s why his pants seemed so short. Outside, we rolled by wet carts and jumped big puddles, and my romantic heart thought it’d be rather serendipitous if God would show me a rainbow to tie up this epiphany.
But there was no rainbow. Darker clouds burst above me as I loaded the goods into the trunk of my car. The boys splashed in the dirty water and looked like the wild things that they are for our last stop. Oh, but the sound of their laughter.
Perhaps every mother can gaze upon a child, and no matter how distant the memory, can see or hear their joyful little one. The ones that make it so obvious that we are not in control. The ones that make us believe in everyday miracles. The ones that save us from the drudgery of adulting and bring us back to the wonder and glory of creation—even while browsing the humming freezer aisle.
Just like my days and everything else, it’s hardest for me to accept that these boys are not mine. As much as Wade and I love them, the heavenly Father loves them exponentially more.
When I look to the ultimate example of motherhood, I see what Mary offered to God. She gave up so much: enduring an unplanned pregnancy, riding a donkey while nine months pregnant, fleeing to Egypt, being told her heart would be pierced like a sword, and losing the Son of God for three days in the Temple. How difficult it would’ve been to watch as Jesus, her son, allowed himself to be scourged, beaten, and pierced. But she trusted him. Mary trusted God with her marriage, her schedule, and her finances. She trusted him with the flesh of her flesh. She trusted in her son.
Don’t blink. Rather, close your eyes and offer every moment to God. Savor the opportunity of life and love, people, and all that God has created. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it… and trust him with our everything.
Neena Gaynor is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Find out more at her website, www.wordslikehoney.com.