- ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
- ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
- – Joseph Brackett, Jr.
- A Living Font post on a Friday? I know, it seems a little out of place, but last Sunday’s sermon from Pastor Kevin has been on mind all week. The sermon was the fourth segment of his Stress Fractures series, which I know many of us need – certainly I do. We focused on Philippians 4:6-7, and what struck me more than the words themselves was the fact that Paul was writing from a place of utter despair, and yet wrote with such calm and optimism. The very short summary of the sermon points come down to this:
- Rejoice because God is still God.
- Relax, God is here.
- Release your anxieties to God’s hands
- Refocus on what is Godly
As I so often do sitting there in that pew on Sunday, I felt the words from the front of the sanctuary shining a light on areas of my own life that need my careful and prayerful attention. But this particular Sunday what struck me most was the drama performed. A mother told the tale of being talked into going to a scrapbooking party, and went on to say that her dining room table is now covered with photographs and memorabilia, all of it a source of stress each time she walks by the room, taunting her, calling her, reminding her that she isn’t doing enough and that there’s never enough time.
This is me. This is you. This is parenting in our generation.
I know it’s crazy, but in that moment I almost felt like God was telling me that it was okay that I never made a baby book for my second child. While I’m mostly kidding about that, there is just such a powerful truth in this dramatic highlight of the stress we face every day, much of it unnecessary. If the clothes aren’t put away neatly the moment they come out of the dryer, the world will not end. If I buy curtains instead of making them, no one is going to come take away my mom license. If the bow in my daughter’s hair is not the biggest and brightest, it’s not going to keep her out of Harvard. And if it does, will she live an unhappy life? Is that really what matters?
The gift to be simple. The gift to be free.
This is the gift I hope to give myself this year.