The early phone call is a nice surprise. He needs a place to crash while working in a town nearby. “Do you have room for one more tonight?” I smile because there’s always been room since the day we brought him home from the hospital. And let me tell you he needs lots of room for his larger than life living and big personality.
We end the call and I make mental preparations. Dinner plan… check. Place to sleep… check. Let the youngest know… check. This changes the day. I work a little faster hoping to leave the shop on time. I rearrange a few to do items on my list to spend time with the family at home.
Folks, seventy-two minutes is all I got. Because dinner plans with friends are already in progress and there’s no need to set his place at the table. We hover around in the kitchen with friends and cousins, laughing, talking, and then… they’re gone.
Making my way to the couch takes the parting of a shoe sea.
“Looks like Jesus came back and all that’s left is their shoes,” I jokingly say to the hubby.
If you’re a mom of teens and infant adults you can imagine where my thoughts might have gone. Is seventy-two minutes all a mother gets? I am the one who birthed you, nursed you, and attempted to direct you. Is this all it’s worth?
A while back I would have pouted and sulked, maybe cried a few tears, but over the last few months I’ve been practicing something I read.
Everyday there are things we want, situations in our relationships, work, ministry or projects that we’d like to have turn out a certain way, which, of course, is natural. But pushing for a certain outcome is contrary to Jesus’ easy yoke. Instead of trying to make things happen the way you want in that circumstance you let go of your agenda and entrust the results to God.
–Bill Gaultiere, Ph.D., Your Best Life In Jesus’ Easy Yoke
I get up earlier than usual to make coffee and see him off to work. He gets ready as I sit at the table soaking in his presence. He stops with his suitcase in hand, opens the door and looks back, “I’m not sure what the day will bring. I could be back tonight or maybe in a month. Love you Mom.”
I watch his taillights fade away and grin. Turns out this letting go of outcomes practice makes way for praise. Because in this moment I’m thankful for every second of seventy-two minutes, for the unexpected hug of my son’s friend there in the kitchen, and the day’s work ahead.
The morning’s devotional leads me to the sacred place, but my mind is on the mountain of tasks I need to complete. There’s decorations to finish and stockings to fill. Food to prepare and neighbors to bless. What in the world will I get him? I have to order the last of the gifts today…
Oh how quickly the moment fades. I imagine and dream of all the perfect outcomes when I notice something he’s forgotten.
These are my blinking yellow light.
Proceed with caution… slow down… look both ways.
Advent is a time to yield control to the only One who can possibly bring about a good outcome. It probably won’t look like I imagine, at least it hasn’t in the past. Does it really even matter if it does? Most will not remember the gifts or the creative wrapping. Running out of time to make kolaches is not something they’ll hold over my head for years to come.
The forgotten empty shoes signal me to surrender, and give me direction. Details will be forgotten. Love, peace, joy. These are the things we’ll remember. My list fades into the background and I breath peace deep. Everlasting, unexplainable, Christ the Savior is born peace.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7, The Message