I am hurrying through the Trader Joe’s aisles when I stop at one of my special places – the TJ card racks. I have a little secret to admit. I buy an awful lot of these cards for myself – truly inspirational word and picture combinations that I hang on my bulletin board and draw daily strength from in the different seasons of life. I always expect Holy Spirit to meet me in that card rack!
And now it jumps out at me right away. A simple and slightly drab card with Big, Bold, words on it:
Life’s Perfect Moments are NOW
And it feels so FOR ME. This emphasis on the NOW. Because somehow I often seem to be dreaming ahead and remembering behind these days. I often seem to be imagining our future or recalling our past. Our first two children are at that bigger stage these days. A stage where they do not need constant attention, guarding or emotional comfort and when they are beginning to plan for their future without us, far off as it may still be. We are waiting for our adopted children and so there is a bit of that sentimental nostalgia as we ponder our family without them and what it will mean to be a bigger different group. On a professional and ministry level, we are dreaming of how we will change the world, impact emerging countries and our own, and yet we are in a season of renewal and rest and growth and training. We are not in Africa or Asia or any front lines except those of our heart. It can feel like a waiting place, a between place, if you look at the surface of things. I find it hard to explain to others what now is about, or what we are ’doing’. But except for those fuzzy emotional moments that come out of fatigue and hormones or senseless fear, I’m really clear on what NOW is about. I know what we are doing and I know with all my heart that we are right in the center of God’s dreams and ours. Even though there is not nearly as much movement as this adventure-lover could wish for. 🙂
And that card, it brings me back to the Now. Reminds me to be fully present despite all the future dreams. Fully present to the glorious sunset gleaming dim purple and gold on the mountains encircling us here. Fully present to the glorious temperatures and the starkly beautiful bare high dessert brush landscapes. Fully present to shooting hoops on our tarmac parking lot front “lawn” with the kids. My life is so full. Even the apartment-dwelling, in-between season, still establishing community, NOW. I will drink it all up. I will seize each moment. I will enjoy the wonder of cooking together from our box of organic local produce – where but California would we be quite so blessed? I will drink up the goodness of planning research papers and making birthday cards on the computer and watching Quinn’s robotic legos attack the cats on our tiny linoleum floor. I will thank God with each amazing worship service full of the glory of hungry hearts reaching towards a truly Good God. I will seize the perfect NOW during each morning spent in the Prayer House, in conversation with my Maker. I will linger long over dinner with South Korean neighbors and wonder over the miracle of their new daughter. I will revel in my Thursday afternoons with David at the coffee shop. I will delight in learning that even I can plan and set goals and make my way forward while still embracing spontaneity and creativity.
Life’s perfect moments really are NOW. Even if for a little while I was too busy looking elsewhere to notice. His glory is here, there and everywhere. Too manifest, too obvious, to ignore – if only we can look, we will see.