A short-antlered buck gnaws at the lime green leaves of our freshly planted dogwood, and the fresh anxieties of the day begin gnaw at my heart.
My first sip of hot coffee touches my lips with all it’s promise of a boost of energy for the day, and the first cries of precious voices touch my ears, and my heart opens desperate wide for a touch of grace from my King.
Yesterday was one of those days when I drove my van sputtering into the gas station after my gas light came on way too late to be helpful. And last night was one of those when my body and soul came sputtering into bed, having run the last few hours on empty, as well. I should have noticed the needle creeping down on the fuel gauge, and I should have seen the signs of my patience and grace wearing thin.
But sometimes we just don’t know what we need until it’s almost too late.
And I want to think that these are just little insignificant moments, but then life is just a collection of little insignificant moments, and what does it looks like to live them well? These few short years when my kids are here and listening…what does it look like to give them my best?
Sister, it frustrates me to no end that I sometimes try to function like I was made in the image of my gas tank – when, truly – you and I were made in the image of the Almighty God of the Universe. Our gas tanks and our hearts are actually nothing alike. We don’t have to use up all our resources, only to hit empty with sputters and short-fuses and failure and fatigue and desperation. We don’t need to refill with some magical boost of energy and wisdom that will last us the next week or two.
We are far more like a branch on that sweet little tree in my front yard, with roots that grow further down and sit steadier and drink deeper and stay connected. Unlike our gas tanks, we can choose to keep our souls attached to the source of grace, trusting that the supply will not run out.
There is a still small voice that beckons and pursues our hearts, and offers a lot more grace than my gas light. We can listen and align and drink and stretch to new heights, as we give the refreshment of that grace away.
As a mom, I often feel like I’m giving away what I’ve had for about two seconds. I wake and decide where my spirit and attitude rest, then my children wake and I set the tone with that thing I just decided. In ugly moments, I have to stop and breathe, and receive the grace not to react – and in that very moment, I get to give away the grace I’m receiving. My children ask me what’s wrong as I hang up the phone, and I have an opportunity to speak out loud the truth I am deciding to believe right in that very moment about the news I just heard. The truths we speak reshape our hearts.
There is a time to draw away and be alone with God, yes… seek and pursue this! But a mama’s reality is that often when we wish to draw away, we cannot…and so, we are invited to give away not what we received yesterday, last week, or even this morning, but to give away God’s grace, as we are drinking from the fountain that never empties.
Don’t be afraid of running out of steam today, sweet sister. Go ahead, give your service, your attention, your caring, your patience, your grace. Not in a way that is resentful, or martyr-like, or neglecting self-care, but in a genuine fearless offering of yourself through those moments when you are needed beyond what is comfortable to give.
As you give your life away, you will find it in your Savior who gave his for you.
There is an ever-flowing, never-emptying fountain of grace available for you, sweet friend. As you pour yourself out today, don’t empty out like a gas tank… stay connected to the source of refreshment. Breathe and drink of God’s grace right there in the midst of your moments, believing that the water only gets sweeter and the color of your life only get’s richer, and the heights of your joy and peace only get higher, and the fruit only gets more plentiful.