Thursday, November 22, 2012

THIS TIME NEXT YEAR by Christie Smith

Well, we've made it through another year. It's been good and bad, easy and hard, messy at times...well, messy most of the time. I've washed countless dishes and clothes and floors and sticky hands and dirty faces. But I'm still here. There has to be a reason I'm still here. This time of year we stop to give God thanks, but for what really? We say it's for our friends and family...for keeping us safe another year...for the blessing of grace and mercy. But is thanks really thanks if it's only words? Can't we tell when our kids or spouses utter "I'm sorry" out of have-to instead of from a heart of want-to? So how much more can God see through our pitiful "thank yous" on Thursday around the turkey?

They say our heart is where we put our time and our money. Where has my time gone this year? How many hours wasted on catching up on the status updates from people I haven't seen in years? Do I know more about strangers’ kids than I do about the ones living down the hall? Have I spent more hours reading my books, e-mails, messages and useless info about other people's lives than I've spent reading out loud to ears that eagerly wait for a loving word from their mother? I stop this holiday to tell the Lord "thank you" for all the many blessings He's given me...but what good are my words if my life proves otherwise?

I want my life to count. I want to answer God's calling. I just get lost in all the laundry and whining and activity that makes me too busy to notice the true blessings. I want to mold these little people He's given me into the men and women of God He's created them to be. I'm just not sure I'm doing my best when exhaustion and frustration are what spill out of my mouth instead of the encouraging things I wish I had said. How do I slow my life long enough to notice the blessings? How do I stay focused on the mission of mothering instead of the monotony of Mondays? How do I keep the weeks from slipping by one...until the years are gone with no memories of the "simpler times?" The lazy summer days replaced with running this kid to practice and that kid to her friends and picking another up from camp. The days of jumping in piles of leaves lost to another weekend jam-packed with birthday parties and more practices and games and rehearsals. And afternoons spent playing with the kids sacrificed for getting the laundry caught up and the everything finished before I have to run to my next appointment. 

This Thanksgiving I want my "thank you" to be a declaration to this rat-race life that I'm not going to take it anymore! No more of your unrealistic expectations of what success looks like! No more spending more time keeping up to date with my virtual friends than I do my spiritual ones! This year I want to slow my life by slowing my mind to see the things I miss in my rush to get it all done. I want to actually feel thankful more than once a year. I want be stopped in my tracks on a Tuesday in February when I see a red cardinal land on a snow covered branch. I want to lose my breath in April when I walk outside and smell the rain and see my babies running wild in it...instead of worrying that they're just creating more laundry. When summer comes and they want me to stop what I'm doing to watch them swim, I'm going to say yes (well, I'll say yes more this year than last ;). This time next year I'll be truly thankful in my heart because my life will be one lived fully aware of what it's grateful for...instead of a life made to stop once a year to notice it all. I may not be 100% successful in this pursuit to be more thankful, but I think it's worth a try. 

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