Ask a room full of first graders what they want to be. Their answers are filled with the dreamy optimism that young hearts are blessed with. To hear them tell it, their class will someday be filled with professional athletes, astronauts, rock stars, and presidents. I doubt there are many tiny visionaries who see themselves as future insurance agents or call center operators. Yet, most of them will wind up in ordinary jobs, driving ordinary cars, doing ordinary life stuff. No stadiums to play in. No crowds of adoring fans to wave to. In fact, most of them will live the majority of their lives in relative obscurity, influencing only a small circle of people during their lifetime.
I remember when Chad and I were first discussing marriage. During our long-distance romance, we fired passionate emails back and forth for the months leading up to our wedding, promising each other that we would be anything but ordinary. Daring each other to determine that we were going to be different, be special, be unique. Yet, seventeen years later, here we are, paying our bills, driving a minivan, carting kids to basketball practices, and living a life that looks quite a lot like the life our parents led.
Ordinary life didn’t come upon us against our will. It just came. Just like it comes to everyone.
And you find that you don’t want to run away screaming like you once thought you might. Because, even though ordinary life has its annoyances, even though it can get a little monotonous, it turns out that it isn’t a fate worse than death like we once imagined. We learned that ordinary life is filled with extraordinary moments, and they are enough.
Today I watched Sawyer shooting and making baskets at his first basketball practice of the season. He couldn’t even get the ball up to the hoop last year.
Today Chad and I giggled at the sound of Emerald’s hilariously high falsetto singing as she laid in her bed at bedtime.
Today Chad and Adelade went to a restaurant and sat for an hour while she told him the complicated plot of every playground game that she and her friends have created.
In years past we couldn’t imagine what these moments would make us feel. At nineteen you can’t dream up any feeling as heart melting as laying eyes on your child seconds after she emerges from the womb. Yet, this “ordinary” occurrence happens hundreds of thousands of times every single day in our world.
How is it possible that ordinary life has turned out to be so surprisingly remarkable in so many ways?
I think it’s because God is being glorified in the ordinary life. A couple falls in love, and their marriage illustrates Christ’s love for the church. A child is born and His creativity and life-giving power is showcased. A mother handles more than is humanly possible dealing with stair-step children, and God’s strength is demonstrated. A child overcomes a fear, and the peace of Christ is highlighted. A man deals kindly with someone who doesn’t deserve it, and Jesus’ love shines. Every day, in a million different ways, right in the thick of the ordinary existence of God’s people, His goodness is set before the world like a shiny trophy.
Except it actually looks more like a french fry filled minivan.
There is a point when we have to learn to appreciate that. When we have to realize that we may not be the ones called to be missionaries in a remote village. We may not be the ones called to speak to thousands. We may not be the ones called to rock out coliseums. We have to stop thinking that we could really bring glory to God if only. We can and do bring glory to God right where we are, you and me, and all the other ordinary folks like us, living out our ordinary lives. Because Christ takes everything ordinary and turns it into clear pictures of His mercy, grace, goodness, and love. And, He uses you and me and our kids and our messes and our successes and our failures in order to accomplish that.
Got gets glory out of us in extraordinary ways, even in this good old ordinary life.
I’m not disappointed with the fact that Chad and I couldn’t maintain our delicious plans to take over the world. It wasn’t just that reality hit us in the face and we realized we weren’t as incredible as we thought we were (although that did happen). No, it was that God became more real to us. We got to know Him better. And, we learned that every day with Jesus is an extraordinary adventure, even if said day only consists of a trip to the grocery store and a nap. His glory is all over the “ordinary” existence of His people. The sooner we recognize how He works through our everyday lives, the more we will be able to enjoy the miracle of each and every amazing ordinary day.