If you don’t have to choose, don’t. Try and say “yes” to whatever you can, as long as it is not illegal, immoral, unethical or ungodly. For example, one hot summer day many summers ago, my children and myself had just spent a day working in the yard. We all deserved a treat after all that weed pulling, mulch laying, and flower planting, so off to our local ice cream parlor it was. When we got there, it seemed like every other family in the area had the same idea so we had plenty of time to contemplate our choices. However, when we stepped up to the register, my daughter just could not make up her mind. What a pleasure it was to say to her, “get both.” Why choose between Birthday Cake and Cookie Dough ice cream if you don’t have to? In fact, put them both in a bowl and pour on the hot fudge, with whipped cream and sprinkles. Go big, or go home. This wasn’t an everyday occurrence, but occasionally, when choices did not have to be made, we didn’t. We exercised this privilege on trips to Florida when we stopped at gas stations or when we went to the $5 movie with $1 treats on a Wednesday matinee for children and one adult. Special times deserve special choices.
These exceptional moments made our everyday lives exceptionally fun. Sometimes they were planned, but more often than not, it was a moment that had crept up and just couldn’t be ignored or treated casually. These extraordinary times allowed us as parents to exercise generosity and to let our children know that we not only noticed, but celebrated them. The moment was not just about what had taken place, but with whom we had been with in the moment.
I believe when I was aware of the moment, reflected on how best I could show my love and appreciation in the moment, and then acted on an immediate plan of celebration, I loved my children well. It wasn’t just what had happened situationally, it truly was that I was getting the opportunity to enjoy that moment with them.
Biblically, there are many examples of people exercising extraordinary moments because of how they experienced God with them. God was powerful and very present and the people responded in praise.
- Genesis 12:7 – God appeared to Abram as he entered the promised land and spoke with Him. Abram built an altar of praise, showing worship to God in the moment.
- Luke 1:39-56 – The spontaneous praise of both Elizabeth and Mary filled Zechariah’s house as together, expectant Moms, they rejoiced, being with one another in the moment, glad and thankful for what God was doing.
- 2 Chronicles 20:17 – When God announced to Israel at the time when King Jehosophat was on the throne that He would fight the battle and win on their behalf, Jehosophat and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem bowed down and fell to the ground in worship. They stopped everything and physically, together, acknowledged God’s promise, power and promise through an immediate act of worship.
Beyond these biblical examples, God promises to be with us from the lips of Jesus (Matthew 28:20), “And, surely, I am with you always to the very end of the age.” This is the great joy of the Christian life – that our God is with us. And it is what makes everyday moments exceptional in our families – taking the time to remember that being with one another can take an ordinary day and make it extraordinary. What makes movies fun or runs to the ice cream parlors? Being with one another.
Dear Reader, I hope you look around today and see the people God has put into your life that you are with, especially if you have the privilege of being with family. Remember to celebrate the moments not just because of a situation, but because of these people with whom you get to share life. What a privilege to live this life together!
May you enjoy both kinds of ice cream flavors today, and enjoy the blessing by being with those whom you love.
Fondly yours, Elizabeth