It’s now a tradition. For the past five years, Glenn and I have embarked on a prayer and planning retreat around the new year somewhere in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
As we sat in silence looking out the window at the snowflakes fluttering to the ground, I sensed the small, still voice of the Lord inviting me to draw near. With no children running in the background or cries to attend to, I had a moment to be still. Actually, be still. My desire of the Lord in that moment was to hear something from Him. Maybe a word that would lead me into his calling for me this year. No sooner than I asked, I heard. And I don’t often hear so easily. Oh how I wish I took the time to be still, to listen more often. But what matters now, is that I’m listening.
And the word that I heard was, Abide.
My babies are growing up. It doesn’t seem long ago that most days were filled with nursing, cuddling, and rocking them. My youngest is now two and half. And yet, I’m entering a new season of sorts, one that might give me a little space. Space to step out, even if just a bit, to attempt to lead, teach, and maybe write. But at the center, He is stirring me to abide. To be rooted in Him, founded in Him rather than being caught up in what others are saying or doing.
His question to me…What have I called you to?
As I abide, I’m choosing to live intentionally, choosing to be fully present each day. And isn’t it a choice we continue to make every single day? As with so many things in life, we want to decide to love, to be at peace, to be present once and for all but it just isn’t so. As Kathleen Norris says in The Quotidian Mysteries, “When humans try to do everything at once and for all and be through with it, we court acedia, self destruction and death. Such power is reserved for God, who alone can turn what is ‘already done’ into something that is ongoing and ever present. It is a quotidian mystery.”
In this new year, I’m asking the Lord, “How can I live fully each day?” I can’t, without Him giving me eyes to see Him and ears to hear Him.
If it’s the only prayer I offer at the start of each day, it might sound something like:
“Lord, help me to truly see you today. Help me to be fully present today.”
So simple and short but it’s a prayer that focuses and grounds me.
I’m asking the Lord to awaken wonder in my heart, to see this world as He sees it. I don’t want to miss the brilliant, white snow falling to the ground this season or the opportunity to draw my children to the miracle of a snowflake. Or the moment to engage in a meaningful conversation when my child asks a question as we read books aloud. Or taking the time to lay down with my two year old when she calls out, “Mommy, I need you.”
Lord, help me to see what is truly most important. None of us can escape the menial tasks of life, but we can choose to believe that God is truly everywhere, in every moment with us.
“Let us remember that the life we ought to be interested is ‘daily’ life. We can, each of us, only call the present time our own….Our Lord tells us to pray for today, and so he prevents us from tormenting ourselves about tomorrow. ~ Gregory of Nyssa
Let’s be present, fully embrace each moment…even in the piles of laundry, dishes stacked to the hilt, muddy footprints tracked through the house, popcorn trails from the living room.