A few days before I read the Ann Voskamp article that inspired this post, God showed me a perfect example of how to put the concept into action. God's timing is not mine. That's why we should tuck these special moments away and ask God to show us what we can learn from every day, ordinary moments.
My family had just celebrated my brother-in-law's 41st birthday and jumped on the interstate for the 25 minute drive home. It was a quiet ride thanks to the "relaxing music" my kids request during drives when the sun is down. It's a beautiful thing.
As we were exiting the interstate, a woman stood by the side of the road with a cane in one hand and a sign asking for help in the other. From the back seat my 7-year-old piped up with "Where are our bags?" Over a year ago we had a handful of plastic bags at the ready in case we found ourselves next to a person in need on the side of the road. The bags had food, water, deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, gum and a couple other random items. But yeah, we handed them out a long time ago and never replenished.
My sweet kid's heartstrings were tugged though and he wasn't going to rest until we made a new batch. Yet we forced him to rest. It was bedtime. My husband told him he could do it first thing in the morning. So on Monday, December 31st, my last real day of vacation (I don't count New Year's Day because I am in work-prep mode, wah!), my kid was up before 7am rummaging around the kitchen.
He grabbed 5 brown paper lunch bags and I turned on the coffee pot and rummaged too. I wanted to make a run to Aldi and get a few snacks and other supplies. He just wanted to make those bags. He didn't care if they were perfect. They all didn't match. He drew lop-sided hearts on the front. Some had band-aids. Some didn't. Some had a mint. Two had the remaining granola bars from our pantry. He asked if he could put money from his Dino Bank in the bags. I smiled and said no and then we had to have a tricky conversation.
I know there have been more times than I can count that I have put off doing something because I wanted to do it perfectly. Sometimes the impatience of a child is rooted in a freedom of knowing that doing something is doing enough. It's the opposite of apathy. And it's really special.
The next time we were in the car my son asked if I was keeping an eye out for people to give the bags to. I told him I had forgotten, but I would start right then. He said he would be too scared to hand the bag over, so if we saw someone I'd have to do it. I said I'd be happy to.
So much optimism and wisdom from the backseat.
Praying for you and for me that we stop letting the need to be perfect get in the way of God inviting us to participate.
Copyright Abby Watts 2019
Photo credit Pexels (2018)