Tonight I cleaned up the kitchen after we decorated pumpkins. The older two kids were off in their room playing, and Emerald was just sort of hanging around under my feet as usual. She’s my constant shadow. My mind was racing, thinking through all the things I should have done today and should be doing tonight. Today I’ve been wondering if I should even be writing this blog. If someday I’ll look back on my life and lament the time I spent sitting here, staring at a blank white screen, trying to figure out if I have anything at all to say to you dear people who keep coming back here, despite the fact that sometimes I have little of importance to communicate.
All of this was running through my cluttered mind when suddenly Emerald’s little voice rang out down there at my feet. She was sitting on the kitchen floor, absent-mindedly singing.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come.
Now, I knew that she had no idea what those words really meant. I knew that she was simply repeating something that she has heard Chad and me sing. I knew that she was singing it because she likes Jesus a lot, and she likes to sing about Him. But, I can tell you that it was downright breath-taking, that moment when her tiny little voice sent those words out into the atmosphere. Kids have a way of accidentally putting all kinds of things in perspective for their weary parents.
Jesus said He came to this world in order to give us a more abundant life. Not more blog readers or more influence or better houses or more money. He came to show us that eternity starts now, today, this minute. He came to help us realize that mom guilt and deathbed regrets and what we wish we knew how to say and what we regret we ever brought up are all tiny blips on the radar of forever. Do I want to live this life with no regrets? Of course. But, it’s an impossible dream. Do I want to live every moment of my life entirely focused on Jesus Christ? Definitely. But, I won’t.
I will lose my grip on reality from time to time. I will get wrapped up in things that don’t matter. I will worry about what I can’t control, and I will question why God does what He does. I will forget that when I feel like I’m missing something, I’m not. His grace is sufficient. His love covers all. His mercy is never-ending. His patience is perfect.
And, on days when I am especially in tune with the Spirit, when my eyes see past this still-messy kitchen and all of things that I wasn’t able to accomplish, then I can sing these words, too. Even so, come. But, not because I want to escape the troubles of this life (although I will), not as a way to rescue my kids from the terrors of growing up in these times (although it would). But, on those days, I can cry out to my King and ask Him to come on back, simply because I have a soul-deep longing just to see His face.
Maybe that is the abundant life that Jesus was talking about. A life that looks beyond what seems pressing on this earth, remembering that one day He is coming back, and He is bringing all the glory of Heaven with Him. He’s coming back for me, as much as I fail Him. And, He must smile when He hears a tiny little voice, singing to Him in her own way words that she doesn’t even understand. He is coming for her, too.
Martha worked hard for Jesus. She loved serving Him, and she was good at it. But, Mary, she was focused on nothing more than His face. His words. His great love and care for her. He told Martha that Mary had chosen the better thing–just longing to be in His presence. (And all the Marthas say, that’s all well and good, but someone had to make dinner!) I think we are all a little bit Martha and a little bit Mary. The question is, in a truly abundant life, which side of us occupies more of our thoughts? Which side determines what we do? Which side are we truly motivated by?
I can tell you that when I get too focused on what I am doing and what I’m not, when I get too caught up in what I should be accomplishing, then I can tell that I have let my Martha take over. Martha is large and in charge. And, she can easily crowd out my Mary-ness. So, when I feel that dissatisfaction with who I am and what I’m doing start to rise up inside of me, then I know that I have gotten far too focused on my own good works or my own failures. Then it’s time to sit at the feet of my Savior and remember that what I’m really longing for isn’t perfection, but just a glimpse of His face.
And, that’s what is so abundant about this Christian life. It’s about so much more than me. It’s so much bigger than what I can do in this lifetime. And, thank goodness, because on most days I feel like I accomplish precious little.
I’m just so thankful for a three year old girl who looks a whole lot like her daddy, who unwittingly gave me the gift of eternal perspective tonight. I want to be with Christ because I want to be with Him, like Mary at His feet. And, I want to serve Him because He deserves it, not to prove that I’m special or important. I want Him to come back because I long to see His face, not because I’m tired or afraid or overwhelmed. This is abundant life. Life lived for Christ alone, for His sake alone, where we can let go of the pressure to do more and be more. He is the most that ever was. And we are His. That’s enough, Martha. Serve well. But, don’t lose sight of what is best.