My bed is nothing special.
It doesn’t even have a headboard. Just a metal frame and a comfy mattress. Soft brown jersey sheets and lots of pillows. Two warm quilts that we are both always too hot to really be under. But at the end of a long, long day…it’s the most welcoming and wonderful place in the world.
In my room, in my bed, with two fans turning and piles of laundry that need folding, John and I talk about our life and the world.
We are energized right now about our ministry to our home and our family, about our ministry to love well. At some point in our conversation he said, “We can’t just wait for things to change, we have to live the life we have right now, not just wait for the life we want in the future.”
We’ve been feeling this call together.
This morning broke over sleepy eyes and weary bodies. I awoke early…not as early as John but earlier than I want. It’s going to be a busy one, even more busy than most. Our village is coming together to help me make appointments and a house needs to be cleaned and this is a weekend filled with activities and friends. Last night I said, “The marathon starts tomorrow, so wake me up before you leave for work.”
He brought me coffee and was on his way, that hour drive he makes every morning usually before my eyes open.
I sip coffee and appreciate the comfort of my bed. I open up the laptop and go to Facebook and see what my friends are doing. Two friends up in the night with newborns. One friend trying to figure out how to raise money for a daughter to study abroad. This friend went to bed thankful, counting blessings instead of sheep. That friend is anxious to get back home from Texas. Another friend posts this, “Not reaching back for what was lost in my yesterdays. And not reaching for what I hope will be in my tomorrow. But living fully with what is right in front of me. And truly seeing the gift of this moment.*”
It makes me smile at Him who knows all, sees all and is holding all. This is just what John and I were talking about last night and this is just what I’ve been thinking about all week and this is just what I want to write about.
I am a believer in figuring out the roots of things. I am often anxious. Why? Is there a root from my past? Not just my childhood or adolescence but even the recent past. I am often worried about acceptance. Why? What seed was planted in a fragile seedbed, watered with misfortune and left to grown unimpeded? Show me, Lord.
But, once that root is discovered, it’s best to yank it out, ask God to plant new things and move forward. This has been more than a decade long journey for me. And on this journey, I have learned you can not walk forward when looking back.
If my eyes are focused on the sorrow of my divorce, I can’t be present in the marriage I have now. If my heart is still back in September, entwined in the agony of my miscarriage, I am not present with the five I have to love today. We grieve. We must grieve. Grief can not be pushed down or ignored…but it’s not grief I mean. I mean, let go of the “if onlys” and the “what ifs”.
Yesterday, I went to see a brand new baby. He was born on Tuesday. I looked into a face I’d been praying for since I’d learned of his conception. I listened to the story of his arrival. I was present with him. It was a Good Life Moment. Suddenly Claire barrels over, and says, “Mama.” very indignantly. She was jealous. I had a sudden remembrance that I’m supposed to be six weeks from having my own tiny, wrinkled, swaddled bundle. I looked at her and I looked at the new baby and I did have a pang of regret and even sorrow. I felt that and even said to the new baby’s mother, “Can you imagine having Claire and this new baby at once? I’m only six weeks away from my due date with the baby I lost.” It was intermingled in the moment, because it’s part of my life…but it wasn’t my focus. I lived the moment of meeting Colin, right in the here and now.
“Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing, Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
At the same time, you can not see the right now if you’re only looking ahead to what might or might not be. Life can not be lived, here, in this moment that you can’t get back unless you are in this moment. I don’t mean don’t make plans for the future. I mean, don’t put life on hold while you wait for this to happen or for that to happen.
This is a bigger struggle for John and I, I think. Because we are always looking ahead to when it’s going to be better that we are not good stewards of what we have in our hands today. This is the area God is working on with us. So, no, we will not wait until we have a better car or until we move again or until the summer…we will do what we’re supposed to do right now.
The fruit from hearing God on this has been beautiful. We are really living fully right now. Even though we are so busy and we have such a long way to go to be refined…we are living life. Our Sunday night Bible studies with our family are the highlight of my week. Our servanthood in our new church is fulfilling and wonderful. Even purging the house and brining organization to our environment has been freeing. God is blessing us. He wants us to be present in every moment.
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 28-34
I remember manna. Every day, God would dump manna from heaven to His hungry people. They were to take enough for that day. They were not to store it up for the week or the month or the year. Just enough for that day. Because He would send more the next day. When the people did not heed this instruction, the manna rotted. What was sustaining and a good gift one day, turned to rubbish overnight.
The thing about the right now is that it’s full of good gifts. Big gifts and small gifts. There is blessing in obedience, there is satisfaction that comes from honoring today and right now. If I am looking backward or way up ahead, my eyes can not land on the beauty of right now. Every day passes by and it passes by very quickly and you can’t get it back.
The way I write is a funny thing. I will sit down with my laptop and type out the one sentence God gives me. He always gives me just one…and the rest of it just kind of falls out as I go. These words are gifts to me from Him and I am grateful, so grateful for each and every one. Writing these words…it’s indescribable the work it’s doing in my heart.
Today’s sentence was, “My bed is nothing special.” And I am thinking as I type it, “Where are You going with this?” And it’s so funny how it all ties together.
My bed is nothing special. But this morning, I appreciate it. This morning, in the early light, I am living the moments of good bye kisses and typing out words and listening for the house to wake up. This morning, when I’m up earlier than I want to be, I’m not looking forward or looking back. I’m here. Right here, in my comfy, not very special but beloved bed. I’m here. Seeing the gift of this moment.
*It is Lysa TerKeurst’s quote, borrowed from Jen Cameron’s page. Jen, you inspire me every day with your faith. Thank you for being you.