These Small Hours

These Small Hours Blog Photo

For those of you wondering where I’ve been, I’m thrilled to share that my husband and I welcomed our second son, Chase Remington, on June 24. As you can imagine, our lives have been consumed with feedings, diaper changes, and nights filled with frequently interrupted sleep. Here’s to new life, and moving forward with our journey together!

Having a second child has been very different for me than having the first. It’s one thing to be told before you have children that being a mother means putting your child’s needs before your own. It’s another thing to experientially know it; to feel the tension of dying to yourself for the sake of your child is very different from hearing it from others. Going into having baby #2, I at least knew to expect discomfort and the pain of sacrificing my immediate wants for my children’s needs (my morning cup of coffee is often delayed until 10am, for instance).

But the five years between the births of my children has also taught me that infancy, the toddler years, and preschool pass by faster than I wish they did. They are exhausting years, but they are precious and so beautiful. For my oldest those infantile years are passed and he is now a “big boy” starting elementary school. I celebrate that with him, but it has also created such an acute awareness of just how short a time I have my boys at home with me.

Rob Thomas once sang, “Our lives are made in these small hours; these little moments…”. This second, and this one, and this one… make up the minutes that make up the hours that make up the days, and before we know it we’re at the end of our life. These days of no makeup, yoga pants, and spit up in my hair count. That job you’re in that you wish you were done with…it counts. Those times when we spend too much time looking at our phones or tablets (let’s admit it: most of us have to be aware of this…), that time counts too. And while God gives incredible, amazing grace, there are no do-overs. When all is said and done, what will we have to show for the time we have been given?

God desires for us to invest our time well. So in a world with so many choices, how do we choose well? I am becoming more and more aware of my great need to simply stop and ask God for the wisdom, and then for the courage and strength to obey.

At any given moment, there is a full list of to-dos to complete. You too, huh? What would life look like if we stopped and surrendered our days to the good hands of God, and simply told Him, “Yes, Lord. Whatever you have for me today, my answer is yes”? I’ve been trying to practice this more and more, and I’m finding out that sometimes my to-list has to go out the window because my little boy needs his mom to play catch in the back yard. Sometimes I have to buckle-down and get the writing done. Sometimes I have to scrub a toilet, or sweep the floors with a baby strapped to me.

And sometimes I need to just sit still and consider the goodness of God in the middle of it all.

Daily–even moment-by-moment–let’s stop and ask God what is best. At any given time we all have choices for how we invest our time. It might hurt–when the thing we want to do in the moment is not the best choice. Sometimes we must work when we want to rest. Other times we must choose to rest when the to-do list is overwhelming. Both have their place.

But God loves us like a Father, and He has given us His Holy Spirit as a great counselor. So take advantage of it! Let’s ask Him, “Lord, what would you have me choose to do with the time you’ve given me today? How about this moment right now?” And then let’s walk in obedience and let the Lord handle the rest.

At the end of our lives, we will not regret choosing obedience to the wise counsel of God. The sum of these small hours is a lifetime. Invest well.

Step Wisely

We have spent the last five weeks exploring what it means to be truly happy; to be deeply content and at peace. Most everything we have discussed has had nothing to do with circumstances, but instead has focused on our own hearts and the real issues that cut us to the core. We cannot separate authentic happiness from our hearts being set free by the Living God.

There are so many things that we could discuss this final week that fall under the “So You Want To Be Happy” umbrella. As I considered what would be most fitting to discuss today, I couldn’t help but consider how satisfying it is when I see my son starting to make wise choices based on what he is being taught at home.

If you have children, you most likely want your children to grow into wise adults. You take the job of “parent” seriously, and you want to teach your kids right from wrong, how to succeed, and many lessons that you have learned along the way. When you witness your kids choosing the right things you have taught them (speaking kindly, telling the truth, and choosing wisdom over foolishness for example), I am sure that you swell up with pride.

Our true, lasting, deep-seated happiness can only come when we are rooted in relationship with God. When we accept the love of God that has shown to us in Jesus, we are immediately accepted as His children, no matter what. Our good-standing with God is dependent only upon our faith in who He is and the work He has accomplished.

You love your kids no matter what. They could act out terribly on any given day, but they are still your kids. You desire for them to be healthy, and to become wise. God calls us His children, and He desires the same for us. He delights in us as His children. He actively teaches us right from wrong, and how to walk wisely. He desires for us to live healthy, wise lives.

In the book of 1 Kings we see God tell Solomon, David’s son,  and a man who loved the Lord, to ask what He should give to Solomon. I’d probably ask for some kind of super power like flying (I am not a huge fan of airplanes, and would rather just take myself places), or maybe even the ability to pause the world around me to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee when everything gets to crazy and out of control. But Solomon was different. Solomon asked for supernatural understanding and wisdom in order to govern God’s people well.

Whoa. Puts my petty requests to shame.

You and I have the amazing gift of being able to glean from Solomon’s God-given, supernatural wisdom. The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings primarily written by Solomon to his son(there are a few additional contributing authors as well). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Proverbs. I cannot tell you the amount of trouble that I have been safely steered away from as a direct result of studying the wisdom found in this treasure of a book.

Just today a situation came up that could have really blown up. I felt personally attacked, misunderstood, and I really (really) wanted to fight back. But after years of reading Proverbs regularly, I instantly thought, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city (Proverbs 16:32),” and then, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12). ” I talked myself down, and was able to step back to make the decision to forgive, give the benefit of the doubt, and stop conflict before it started (over something silly, might I add).

Our health as growing people depends upon our willingness to receive and embrace wisdom in all areas of our life. So today’s challenge to you is to take the next 31 days and read one chapter of Proverbs everyday. Proverbs is a very approachable book, whether you have studied a Bible for years, or whether you haven’t even purchased a Bible yet. As you read, underline portions that really speak to your areas of struggle, and when you encounter moments in your day-to-day living that irritate you or challenge you, recall what you’ve been reading and choose a different path.

Step wisely. Walk in the wisdom, and reap the fruit of peace that comes with knowing you are choosing healthy living according to the supernatural, God-given wisdom taught in His word.

I’m curious: have you ever acted foolishly? What did it cost you? Or have you ever chosen wisdom over your impulses? How did that turn out?

 

Run Hard. Love Strong.

~Haley~