Yesterday, I was driving to the City to take Cece to her first biological family "visitation" and driving is often the place when I relax , think and pray. As long as there isn't chaos in the back seats...even then I'm pretty good at tuning it out. My mind wandered, as it very frequently does, but instead of going an imagination tour of what might be, would could be, what I would say if, how I would feel if...
My mind wanderings surprisingly came as flashes of mostly forgotten, not usually thought about, moments of my life. It did occur to me that my life flashing before my eyes while driving down a highway is a little strange. I allowed the moments and memories to come anyway. What struck me was how blessed I feel by beauty, love, relationships and family. There have been many horrible, stressful and dark moments in my life but none of them came readily to mind. Also, I thought it strange later that I didn't even think about the big events or things we make sure to remember. The moments that my mind focused on were everyday, normal, beautiful, moments of life.
Sights, sounds, smells, people, childhood memories poured into my mind. Little girls playing house, riding my horse Toby, playing with cousins, finding kittens in a musty barn, school recess, popcorn, crunching snow, getting my hair rolled up in curlers, my grandpa, dorm life, camping with friends, drinking tea with my mother in law, tiny china tea pots on a window ledge, family laughing...
These all came and went with a detail of memory that I didn't know I had filed away. It was kind of strange but wonderful to revisit some of the moments that my 33 years of life have been made of.
Maybe hearing about a recent tragic death in our community got me thinking how life is made of moments...and in only a moment it can be taken.
Maybe knowing that I will never have tea with my mother in law again, as she battles the final stages of terminal cancer had me remembering moments of beauty and goodness. The memories of beauty will be safely guarded and revisited and will out weigh the memories of ugliness.
The moments in our life seem so insignificant at the time. They make up days, seasons and years. Although brief, each one of our moments sets the course of our life. Tragedy happens in a moment, the course of life can change in a moment, mistakes are made in a moment, accidents break our bodies in a moment. Beauty is created in a moment. Smiles, hugs, and gestures of kindness, taking a moment to listen, to share, to trust, to believe, to forgive, to pray, to decide, to encourage, or to love...all changes the course of our moments and those around us.
How will we remember our lives as we look back? Will it be a rush of work , money, things, deadlines, stress, bitterness, guilt, exhaustion, ....or will it be blowing dandelions with a toddler, having tea with your grandmother, reading Goodnight God with your kids curled up on your lap, bathing a baby, enjoying a sunset. All those moments so easily missed so easily lost in the rush of life.
Our moments in an instant can change the lives of those around us. We don't live in a bubble. Everything we do, or neglect to do, has an impact on others. When each moment is bathed in the light of eternity they take on a new sacred significance...even those mundane moments.
You may have seen this video before but I recently just came across it. It seems a little strange at first but it is a good reminder that life is made up with moments and what we do with those moments not only can change our life but can change the course of eternity.
This life is brief. It flies by and seems to fly faster as the years go on. At some point our time runs out. Some lives last only for a brief moment in this word, some have an extensive collection of moments that span 90 years.
What is even more significant than living to the fullest,each one of those moments we are given, is what we choose to do with the One who gave them to us.
That one choice, how we respond to the One who is the Creator of beauty, will determine if we will enjoy His presence when our time ends and our eternity begins. In this life, by the mercy of God, we all enjoy sunsets, baby giggles, and the magnificence of nature. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Those things are just a tiny sampling of the untainted beauty that lies ahead.
We can see some of the attributes , the extravagant love, the intricate order, the creativity, and the grandness of God through his creation. God calls to us, reaches out to us and woos us through the moments he blesses us with everyday. He not only uses beauty but he also uses the pain in our lives to reach us. When our independent security is shattered we can see reality much more clearly. C.S Lewis said 'pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world'.
God gives us those things even when we hate him. Even though our world rejects Him.
He gives us the freedom of choice. We are free to choose an eternity separated from Him, the source of all things good. Thats a heavy reality. An eternity void of light, laughter, peace, joy, relationship, love.....all things that come from God whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Ignorance will run out of bliss.
It only takes a moment of humility and surrender to change the orientation of our hearts.
Our life's memories ,and the impact we have on others, will be a collection of both good and bad moments.
However, God does not look at our life as merely collection of good and bad moments that He balances and weighs while we cross our fingers and hope we come out on the side of "good".
None of us are inherently good. We do not have a cosmic checking account of debits and credits. One "bad", one debit, separates us eternally from a Holy God. We all have major debt that we cannot pay. God is love but he is also distinct, Holy, and continually Good. There is no sin or compromise with sin in God. That's what makes him trustworthy. He is consistent, Holy, just, righteous, and good.
It is impossible to come to God by our own religious effort, good deeds, or "goodness". He doesn't grade on the curve. That is why he provided our Savior, Jesus Christ.
God is perfect.
We never can be.
God is a God of both justice and mercy. Jesus was sent to perfectly bridge that gap. He satisfied the justice and made way for grace.
To be completely transparent with you....the peace, assurance and joy that comes from knowing I am prepared to die is indescribable. There is no need to fear.
No, I don't necessarily feel ready to leave my life and my children. I hope God has a lot more for me to do here in this life before he takes me home , but our days are numbered and only God knows when that day will come. It could come today...it could come 70 years from now. All I need to do is be prepared before that day comes. In all honesty , part of me rejoices when I imagine the day when I run across the finish line into His waiting arms.
"Now listen you who say "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money". Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
Instead you ought to say"If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that".
As it is , you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. "