The Little Things
Life is tough, friend.
Lay-offs happen. Alarm clocks go off to early. Spouses hurt our feelings. Kids repeatedly disobey. Then you wake up again and do it all over…again.
I have found, throughout this roller coaster ride, that it’s the little things in life that truly count.
Like when your kids are leaving for school and your oldest boy turns around and runs back “for one more hug”.
Getting a heart-shaped emotion-con thingy in a text from your spouse in the middle of the day when you least expected it.
Getting an email that in four simple sentences validates all that you have been working toward as you aim to do what God has gifted you and willed you to do in this life.
A stranger saying they love your hair-do, which you just got done, as you attempt modesty and act like you haven’t fixed it for days.
Going over to my partner in crime’s house to have girl date. We plan to talk about writing – she challenges me, encourages me, and tells me what I need to hear to be a better writer for Jesus. Check her out – you’ll be glad you did! We are also going to watch a cheesey chick flick in her super cool media room! And, of course we plan to stare quietly at the walls without anyone bothering us for anything. It will be simply fabulous.
Putting on some jeans and realizing they are waaaay too big. (insert Hallelujah chorus!) This one didn’t actually happen, but I hope it does someday soon!
Those little things can often get us through the day just when we thought we’d rather climb back under the covers and hide from the world forever. And as if these moments aren’t glorious enough – sometimes you are double blessed, because you invited God to be a part of it too.
Today I had one of those moments.
I would love to say that I invite God into every moment of every day. But, my kids are sitting right by me and I’d hate for them to get singed by the lightning strike. Yes, I’m trying to re-claim the Mom-of-the-Year crown that was swiped right off my head.
Last year, on my birthday I decided to do 32 acts of kindness for people around town. It was literally the best day ever. I mean it, people. Try it. You will be more blessed as the giver than the receiver.
Well, this year, I decided to steal an even better plan from a sweet friend. She did her acts of kindness somewhat like an advent/countdown to her birthday. Out of respect and love, I will refrain from telling you how many days it took her. But, I will tell you that I began mine 33 days before my birthday. I was committed to doing one act of kindness each day and let God do the leading.
Then all three of my precious kids got strep and I got an upper respiratory infection. Darn those cuddly kids. Not cool. Therefore, I got a little behind. I had resolved that I could still do acts of kindness from my home and that they didn’t all have to involve being out in the community.
I wrote a note and mailed it to a friend. I spent all day doing a favor for a friend. I sent a homemade banner to my sick Grandpa. I sent a text to someone special. And so on and so forth.
But, today I was out and about. (I cannot tell you how uh-mazing it feels to be able to type that! I can’t type one more word without screeching “Thank you Lord!”) I decided that I would make a pit stop and buy someone a coffee. As I put on my blinker and sat ever-so-patiently at the light, I some deep breaths, said a little prayer and asked God to prepare the person He wanted me to bless.
I pulled into my beloved QT gas station and got sister friend out of her car seat. Correction. I waited f-o-r-e-v-e-r as she tucked her baby into her car seat and buckled her in. Then she took her monkey and buckled him into her brother’s car seat. Then she wanted to climb to the back of the van and grab her water to bring with her. Normally I’d be pulling my hair out or threatening her by this point sad, but true but today was a good day. I had started it off with God and was just soaking up this moment watching my almost three year old (gulp!) be so stinkin’ cute.
I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the five or six people who’d all pulled in at the same time I did, were now finishing their quick morning errand.
“C’mon Abigail, we gotta go!”
Let’s move – there’s not going to be anyone left to bless!
As I entered the gas station, I noticed that there was, in fact, only one person left.
Ok, God, I guess he’s my guy.
I quickly got my drink and made my way to the front. I did. Abigail did not.
In true toddler fashion, she dragged behind.
Instead of trying to convince her lovingly to “follow the leader” or “march like Mama”, I simply turned around, grabbed her still-chubby hand and pulled her towards the cashier. I approached at the same time as the other gentleman and he reluctantly nodded for me to go ahead.
I looked at his hand and saw his breakfast – a sausage roll. Yuck! I have a firm “no food from gas stations” rule! I reminded myself that this wasn’t about me, it was about Jesus. So, I politely asked him, “May I buy your sausage roll for you?”
He looked me dead in the eye and said “No you may not. I’m fine.”
Ouch. I can still feel that sting.
A bit shocked, I managed to blurt out “Ok, well then why don’t you go ahead.”
He quickly paid and then huffed out the door.
The nice lady who worked there could tell my feelings and pride were hurt, so she broke the awkward silence for me, “It’s ok. Some people are just impolite sometimes. I’ve tried it too. It’s amazing how some people just can’t handle you being nice to them.”
I nodded and smiled at her.
Then I asked my new favorite person if I could buy her a drink instead.
I remembered trying this exact same thing last year at this exact same QT and failing that time too. No customers would let me buy them a drink. So, I told the people who worked there what I was doing and asked them if I could buy them a drink. The manager replied “We get free drinks.” So I bought the guy some gum. I left feeling a bit defeated but happy that the man would have fresh breath now.
So here we are one year later and I have struck out again. Or so I thought.
This time, I expected to be rejected by the lady, since she gets free soft drinks. But, to my relief and joy, she replied with a smile, “Sure! I’d love some juice. I don’t drink soft drinks.”
She rushed over to the cooler and grabbed some juice. When she came back I said “I am trying to do 33 acts of kindness to show God’s love to people, one per day up until my 33rd birthday. So, thank you for letting me do this for you!”
And now comes the “little thing” that the God of the universe didn’t have to do for me today, but He did. Get this –
She looked me right in the eye, smiled, and said “I remember you! You came here last year and did this too, right?” I nodded. “Thank for doing that! I took your idea and did the same thing on my birthday!”
Friend, there are very few times in my life were I actually am speechless. Like, for real. This was one of those times. I honestly couldn’t believe it.
I mean I know God cares about big things. And I even know He cares about little things. But, I love it when He so blatantly shows me that He cares about all things.
I thanked her again, told her I hope she had a blessed day and left.
I got sister friend back in her car seat and then got into mine. I thanked God out loud for that moment He gave me.
Then I looked up and couldn’t believe what I saw. There were literally ten people walking into the gas station right then.
When I went, I thought I’d missed my opportunity because there was only one guy. And then that guy rejected me quicker than a kid rejects brussel sprouts.
But, God had something up His heavenly sleeve, far greater than I could have imagined.
I love little things.
Do you, friend?
Or do you, like me, often go hours and hours, even days be honest! without truly stopping to turn your eyes toward heaven and think deeply and thank deeply? It’s so easy to do.
It’s hard being a good Christian, sometimes, don’t you think?
It’s easy to be selfish, prideful, discontent, self-centered, ungrateful, and just. too. busy.
I want to encourage you, today my dear friend to S-T-O-P.
Take a few minutes and invite God into whatever you are about to do. Right now!
You just wait and see God show off.
I love it when He does that!
He takes something that would have just been simple and turns it into something sovereign. He takes something routine and turns it into something remarkable. With Him leading, a moment in time can become a moment that transcends time. A human glimpse at a heavenly moment.
Friend, don’t let one more hour go by without YOU making a conscious effort to take a deep breath and inhale a little bit more of Jesus than you had in your lungs just a moment ago.
Do it now.
And you just watch Him show up in every big and little thing you see.
The devotional I read daily and love dearly, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young has been such a blessing the last couple days. It is written from the perspective of Jesus, as if He is calling you! Please take time to read them both. May you receive this as a personal message from Jesus to you! And may they further encourage you to invite Jesus into every big and little thing.
It’s all right to be human. When your mind wanders while you are praying, don’t be surprised or upset. Simply return your attention to Me. Share a secret smile with Me, knowing that I understand. Rejoice in My Love for you, which has no limits or conditions. Whisper My Name in loving contentment, assured that I will never leave you or forsake you. Intersperse those peaceful interludes abundantly throughout your day. This practice will enable you to attain a quiet and gentle spirit, which is pleasing to Me.
As you live in close contact with Me, the Light of My Presence filters through you to bless others. Your weakness and woundedness are the openings through which the Light of the knowledge of My Glory shines forth. My strength and power show themselves most effective in your weakness.
Deuteronomy 31:6 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you
1 Peter 3:4 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (Amp) 9But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
Let My Love Enfold You in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the Light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones.
Through the intimacy of our relationship, you are being transformed from the inside out. As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.
Hebrews 13:15 15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
2 Corinthians 3:18 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Psalm 73:23-24 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.