There's life as you wish it were, and then there is life as it is. The disparity between these two can lead to disappointment and discouragement if we let it.
Tonight I had planned this little "family Christmas devotional" time ... you know, all courier and ives around the fire with our Bibles and the egg nog and shortbread. No kidding. I had egg nog and shortbread and Bibles all set out. Paul even got his own Bible out (see, it is how I dream it will be) ... and we settled down on the couches and then Jordan starts flipping around on the floor and bonks into something and starts howling about how he hurt his knee. Meanwhile Jon has gotten up and gone to the dryer to take the dry towels out and comes to pile them right in the middle of my dreamy-family-Christmas setting and turns on the overhead light and starts folding towels. S c r e e c h ... ever hear the sound of a tire tread mark in your own brain? I had this delightful, connecting, worshipful event planned and they just were not participating according to my script.
I started to pout (inwardly of course) and then I said to Jon, "I'm feeling a bit disappointed." He said, "what?" ... you know, the way an innocent, helpful husband will do (I mean, after all, he's figuring he's doing the right thing by folding towels). Well, I laid out my vision to him and said, "I don't know where everything started to unravel, but here we all are going in our separate directions and I was hoping for something very different." We tried to regroup and capture the moment but by then Paul was too tired and he threw himself on the floor and cried to go "nigh-nigh." Ah well.
Upshot ... you know that small, still voice ... the sweet one that God uses to get your attention and to call you to something higher if you let Him? Well, that voice of God sort-of whispered that I needed to find the beauty in the life He is giving me. I can wait for all these "magical" and "perfect" moments to come to pass, thinking that somehow they hold this hidden joy and fulfillment for me and everyone I care about. Or, I can take life as it is: muddled, imperfect, lumpy and definitely not according to my script. There I find within those moments the unexpected gifts straight from the hand of my loving Father. Today I choose life as it is. He meets me there, and wherever He is I am standing on holy ground.