Most days, I scrutinize every detail of house and homeschooling, working myself (at times) into a tizzy when things are not quite right. I let a dirty stove-top bug me. Or the crayons scattered on the floor. I huff and sigh over finding a broken ornament next to our Christmas tree. I raise my voice for a second or two when I’m trying (for the twelfth time) to explain direct objects. And the list goes on and on. The point? I fail. A lot. And for a perfectionist, that failure is magnified by one hundred times.
Sometimes, when I don’t feel like a failure, I feel unimportant. I feel like I’m wasting my life. I start whining, “I wanna take my family to Disney World! I wanna van that doesn’t make that high-pitched squealing every time we drive it! Oh, and I want some new clothes!” Wah, wah wah. Then, I think, “I should go get a job so we can take all these trips, get a new vehicle and ME some new clothes! Yes!” Then, the Holy Spirit says, “You know what you’re thinking is wrong! You’re here for them…for those little ones who love you so. You’re here to point them to Christ. Not Mickey Mouse.” I’m convicted. Oh, yes, Lord. I’ve been selfish and spoiled. Seeing my children each and every day, at every tiny phase of growth, is worth these sacrifices. My attitude changes. As I sit and rock them in my threadbare denim skirt, I feel like the richest woman alive! I cook them up some yummy soup and cornbread, hear their laughter at the dinner table, and I’m in heaven! I bake up something sweet and listen to their praise and, I tell ya, Paula Deen couldn’t feel as good of a cook as I do at that moment!
I’m busy this time of year. Presents to scrimp and save for, then buy, not because my children expect it, but because they don’t. I want to show them I love them in a special way this time of year. I’m busy decorating and baking and doing all of that Christmas stuff. And, in all of the hubbub, I almost forgot to enjoy these special memory-making days.
Then, I got online and saw the news. Twenty-six children shot and killed (as of this moment) in a Connecticut elementary school.Those kids, gone into eternity! Did someone tell them of Jesus? Did a mother make time when they were small? Did a Sunday school teacher have time to influence them for Christ? Were their parents, like me, busy thinking about the big toy they were going to give them in a few days, and not noticing the quiet moments? The moments that will never come back. Last night was their last night to snuggle them. Did they do it? Last night was the last goodnight kiss. Did they give it? This morning was the last time they’d see their smile. Did they see it? Better question, did they offer one to their child in return?
When I was small, my mom would often have to leave for work before I was up. When I got up, I’d look in the mirror, and, beneath the mass of messy hair, I’d see a big lipstick kiss on one cheek! If that had been the last time I’d seen my mom alive, I would have known she loved me. As I got older, she started leaving a lipstick kiss on a 3×5 card with my name on it at my spot at the breakfast table. I suppose it won’t surprise you to learn that I do that for my children, if I must leave before they are up. I want them to know they are loved, each and every day.
Oh friend, treasure each and every day, each and every moment! Even if you’re given a hundred years on this Earth with your loved ones, this moment is gone in a heartbeat.