I decided that today was going to be all about Jack (I mean if we’re honest here, every day is all about Jack) but today I really wanted to do some things that I thought he would enjoy and which would entertain him outside of the norm. So I packed up his favorite snacks, loaded his wagon (his favorite thing, he would live in it if he could) into the car, and set out for a special park in Portland. This particular park is about 25 minutes away from the house, but it is an extinct volcano with stunning scenery and a beautiful reservoir and I really thought Jack would get a kick out of the surroundings and the “newness” of it all. I was excited to share it with him, and to be honest, I was mostly excited to pat myself on the back at the end of it for being A+ #1 mom and giving him a great day.
But you know what actually happened? Jack was all but oblivious to the fact that we were somewhere new, that mom drove all this way for him to have a special day. All he cared about were his raisins and his sippy cup and his toy cars and riding along in his little red wagon. He hardly even glanced up the entire walk, and we may as well have been walking down our own street. My picking him up and prompting him to look closer was just met with an uninterested gaze and an arm reaching longingly back towards his wagon. I felt some frustration building up inside of me. I had gone out of my way, had wanted to be an awesome mom today and expected some kind of reaction from him… but I got nothing, no small reward for my efforts.
And yet, how similar is this experience to our relationship with God? How often are we too caught up in our day to day, in what we think is most important, that we fail to see all of the special things the Lord is trying to show us? He makes so many attempts every day to pull us closer to Him, to show us His face, but if we are caught up in our raisins and cars… our iPhone, the laundry, trying to do everything to be perfect moms, how will we ever notice when God is trying to show us His plan? And sometimes even when we do hear His voice, asking us to serve Him, to come to Him in prayer, calling us toward His divine plan for us… how often do we want to retreat back to our little red wagons? To our safe space, where no more is required of us than what we are comfortably willing to do or give.
But God waits for us. He waits to be gracious to us.
“The LORD waits to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show mercy to you.” –Isaiah 30:18
Can you believe that? God waits to be gracious to each and every one of us, because that is how incredible the love He has for us is. He doesn’t get frustrated by our thanklessness at how much He has done for us, like I did with Jack. He doesn’t keep track of the blessings He bestows on us and get angry when we don’t react to them as He intends. Instead, He remains ever present and patient, waiting to be gracious to us over and over again. God has our own ‘special, all about us, day’ planned for us… every single day. We just have to give Him a little bit of our time, and open our hearts to what He is trying to show us.
… And don’t worry, Jack will have plenty more “special, all about him, days” in the future. As his mother who loves him immensely, I can only hope that many of them are because he has heard God’s voice, not just Mom’s.