He asked me to watch the sunset with him. I was in the middle of something. There are times I fear it feels like I am ALWAYS in the middle of something else. Three children, house, home, family, trying to give, connect, minister to others, build a marriage, make memories, make a
life, feed them! It was the busiest time of the day. That point at which the gap between
everyone’s needs and my resources can feel the biggest!! But he’s 4! And he wanted me to
watch the sunset with him.
I love that CS Lewis quote, “Children are not a distraction from more important work, they
are the most important work”. It reminds me to be present, to be responsive instead of
reactive, to be patient, kind, gentle, joyful, firm, consistent and most of all to be intentional in my parenting. But it is most definitely a labour of love and dedication, at times all consuming and overwhelming.
When my youngest was born I was schooled in the art of awe and wonder. I would gaze at
her watching the wind in the trees or lay her on her favourite rug near the blank wall so she
could watch the shadows dance on it. I was the most attentive mother to the simplest of tasks.I can tell you what food she ate first, second and third, and loved watching her play, smoosh and eventually taste each morsel. I was THAT mother on facebook, that annoyed all the
young singles by posting far too much about the day’s small dramas and domesticities while
the parents a few years further on from me probably smiled and scrolled on by.
But I was also the mother filled with anxiety and fear. Was I enough for my baby? Was I enough for my husband? Was I doing enough, if anything at all, for Jesus, furthering His
cause in some way shape or form? How do I do that on the days, weeks, months when the
washing, cooking, cleaning and tending to children seemed overwhelming?
Anxiety and fear are cruel taskmasters, and they can rule from both the outside and in. On
the outside, they masquerade as judgement. The community nurse, the perfect mummy
blogger, sometimes even family, all have advice galore and communicate how things ‘should’ be done to ensure a happy, healthy, baby, marriage, life. On the inside they play out as
comparison and competition, the internal questions of “Am I doing as well as she is? I
thought I’d be better at this. I am not enough – not good enough, patient enough, disciplined
enough.” These thoughts can consume you.
Holy Spirit is so kind. He reminded me of what I did know how to do. I was good at
gathering gold moments. I had collected those moments of beauty and truth before. I began
to put into practice the principle found in Philippians 4:8:
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (The Message)
I learned how to mine the joy, receive the gift of being present, take the beautiful photos and, as verse 9 goes on to say, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
And He was.
He asked me to watch the sunset with him. He asked for a moment to share the beauty of
God’s creation. The truth that, as this day ended, the “heavenly He” was preparing a new day full of mercy and grace and truth. The honour of being in my little boy’s presence, treasure of Heaven as children are, the loveliness of his warm, sticky hand in mine and the purity of his
wonder at the streaks of colour.
I put the spoon down, closed the dishwasher, turned off the stove, and went with him. It was a beautiful sunset. :)