Updated on May 24, 2017
Jumping into summer
I didn’t realize how fast it would go. This year, these days, this time. I guess it happens with the change of every season, but I feel the pull of time a little more this year. The books have been collected, the notebooks trashed, the concerts played, the programs performed and here we stand on the edge of another summer. The kids pull out their swim suits and no one has one that fits. Didn’t we just buy new ones? And there’s that feeling again, the one of being two steps behind. How did we get here? This place where boys are taller than me and summer comes in the blink of an eye. Did I miss all the days in between?
Just yesterday I thought we’d spend forever with an infant who wouldn’t sleep; that we’d never travel without a crying toddler. I thought no one would ever learn to eat without throwing food and that days would always be controlled by naptimes and diaper changes. I was certain we wouldn’t make it through bus rides and homework. And that they’d all go through life never knowing how to write their names or cut straight lines.
And now here we are on the edge of another summer with visions of sunshine, pool days and high school dancing before our eyes. And I can’t remember how it all went down. This year and its work have pushed the days into a blur I cannot seem to unfurl as I strain to look back over my shoulder.
What did we learn? Where have we stood? How are we different?
The little one pours his own milk into his cereal bowl and curls up into his chair to eat his final school morning breakfast. He munches loudly and into the dawning of the early morning light he tells this story of a baseball game he played with his friends last week. He rambles on and then begins to talk of this book he is reading. And I stare at him over my coffee. Baseball, books, friends and making his own breakfast? Who taught him all this?
I never think like this. Really. The toddlerhood of these boys nearly killed me . I did not lament the passing of it and am usually ready for the next phase. But this has been a year unlike any other. I have stood in places I never expected to stand, done work I never imagined I would do and seen God move in real and evident ways like never before. There are years that change the shape of your soul and this has been one of those years.
So maybe that’s why I find myself sentimental watching my little one get his own breakfast? Maybe that’s why I’ve gotten teary eyed watching my big ones make one last trip to the bus together or play one last orchestra concert? Life looks different when your eyes and heart have seen the Lord pull back the veil a bit.
I think of the disciple Peter and these words that he wrote in one of his letters, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus, but we were eyewitnesses to his majesty.”(2 Peter 1:16). It must have brought a lump to the old fisherman’s throat when he wrote that. The miracles he had seen, the life he had lived, side by side with his Savior. He had known the Lord. He had looked up from the crest of a stormy sea and from the foot of a cross and seen that love deep in the eyes of his Creator. He knew it to be real. These are not just make believe stories we are telling, he must’ve thought, this is the real thing. Our hearts are changed from the inside out because of what we have seen. Peter’s words stay in my head as I trace my fingers over the pages of our year’s story.
What have I been an eyewitnesses to this year? What does my heart know for certain that it wasn’t sure of before? Ever slow down enough to think about that? Ever think about the stories that your year can tell?
What have you been an eyewitness to and how has it changed you?
I watch my two big kids make their last trek up the hill to the bus together as pieces of all these days play back in slow motion behind my eyes. And you shall call him Immanuel, God with us. That’s the story my year tells. Immanuel, in days covered over with work, in difficult conversations, in hard decisions and important meetings and in broken hearts. I didn’t always get it. But God whispered it through all of the days. I AM right here, Leigh. Open your eyes and see me. Every day. All year. Immanuel. When I doubted, when I faltered and failed and fell down. Still he whispered it. Immanuel.
The words pull at the hem of my end of school “melt down” and remind me to breathe. You see, sometimes we have to slow down the spin of the day to see God at work. Sometimes we have to lean in and look close or it can seem like we are the ones making it all happen. And we can miss it. We can miss him with us.
So what’s your story? What have you been an eyewitness to this year? Pause and think about it for moment. Whether you find yourself jumping into a summer full of fun and sun, or at work plowing through deadlines that loom large, or chasing toddlers, taming teenagers, answering emails, or just folding the laundry; look back over your shoulder for just a minute. Run your hand across the pattern of these days. And don’t miss it. God sees you there. Hear him whisper it, “I will walk among you and be your God and you will be my people… I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” (Leviticus 26:12-13).
Let’s hold our heads up high and jump into this next season knowing that we have indeed been eyewitnesses to the majesty that is Immanuel, God with us; in all the days that have been and all the ones that are yet to come.
“Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength and seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done” (1 Chronicles 16:10-12).
Happy Summer, friends!