Simple Gifts

This morning as I sat on the front porch waving to Brian and the kids as they pulled away from our home, my eyes filled. They opened the back window of the truck and yelled, “I love you! Bye!” over and over, and I watched them until they were out of sight. I looked around from my vantage point at the frosted railroad ties and the old train station. Our neighbor, Frank’s, cats frolicked in the road, and contentment washed over me.

I don’t cry much anymore when they leave, but this morning, it hit me. We have so much. So very much.

I came in to wash dishes from breakfast and wipe counters and tripped over a bag left on the floor. A bag full of purchases we made last night, the children and me.

We shopped for two hours, and oh, how we laughed and played. The smiles from people we saw as we meandered, Bella girl singing Christmas songs and Bear wearing his Santa hat. My Ash helping me decide on which bread to pick and what gifts to buy for classmates and service projects. He walked beside me, and I thought to myself, “Look how tall he is. How is this happening?” Then he said something witty, and I laughed out loud and thought, “Even his humor is growing up.”

Last night we ordered pizza and curled up by the wood-stove for a movie and just being together. I fell asleep at 7:30, worn out from my adventures the night before at the Civil Wars concert with friends. (Can I just say they are amazing and I want to learn to do that with harmonies!) This morning, Asher excitedly told me he’d fill me in on all I’d missed and we have a date this afternoon for him to tell me.

Then we’ll make yummy supper and a friend will come over and the kids will go to bed and then we’ll watch a movie together. And I will still feel this way… this overwhelming sense of how much we have. Materially, yes, we have more than enough for our needs. But beyond that, we have so much in each other, in our friends, in our Savior.

It isn’t always this easy. There are days where the anger that fills the eyes of my child is disconcerting, but I remember the hidden glares I would give my parents behind their backs when I was young. The ways I defied them. I just wasn’t so blatant about it. And I take a breath of grace, and the pangs of sadness fill my heart and I realize this is just a child trying to figure out life, and I’m here to help them along the way.

It is easy for me to over-analyze my parenting, to rip myself apart about not handling things well or constantly focusing on behavior and missing grace.

I shared coffee and nut roll with a friend this week and told her my struggles with grace and discipline. She is a woman that I long to emulate with her gentle soul and quiet ways with her family. I want to learn from her because I look at her children and I like what I see. They are not a perfect family, and I love that I can see that, too, that they don’t try to be what they are not, but they love the Lord together. She spoke truth to me, and it was good, and it was needed. This is the body of Christ, and I realize I have so much there, too. In the friendships I have, whether far or near.

The howl of advent is strong in me these days. This waiting. This trying to figure out the new normal for us. I don’t know that I even remember the old normal anymore.

But I realize that if I live my life waiting for things to get better or me to get stronger, if I focus constantly on how I want to change or want my kids to change or wish away the hard seasons of life, then I will miss so much along the way. I will miss life. The every day. The here and now. This moment.

It is all a gift. All of it. The child that glares full-force in my face is a gift. The child that wets the bed waking me at three in the morning to help them is a gift. The husband that forgets the trash or leaves a mess for me to clean up is a gift. The child that lays on the floor because they’re too tired to get ready for school is a gift. The body that is full of aches and pains and scars is a gift.

All of it.

Is His.

I realize this is has turned into a stream of consciousness kind of post. The perfectionist in me wants to go back and clean it up and make it sound less choppy and more fluid. But I’m not, because my husband is on his way home from taking the kids to school and we have a coffee date together before our day begins again… and it is a moment with him.

See?

All of it.

A gift.

Praying for all of my readers this morning, that you will find the gift in the ordinary, every day today.

It’s there.

7 responses to “Simple Gifts”

  1. Oh Angie, I felt like crying while reading this. It is soooooo true. We lose so much time trying to make everything perfect. Even now with my kids grown and gone. I still want everything better. Love ya.

    Debbie

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  2. Yes, I see this sometimes, too. Sometimes I feel like our lives are falling apart. And then a few hours later, I realize how much we have. And usually, I’m not talking about stuff…I’m talking about how much we have in each other.

    P.S. I love how you describe the shopping. And I wonder why my shopping trips do not look like this…

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  3. Perfect. Just the way it is. Because it’s you and your heart. Thank you once again for sharing your perspective to encourage those of us who wake every day to the struggle. To live. To love. To be thankful.

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  4. We too are focusing on all the gifts we already have before we sit before the tree and gain a few more trinkets! Amen, sister!

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  5. My precous Angie,

    Every journey of faith He takes us on, directs our destination to Him. What a gift that we have been chosen for, Christ in us the hope of glory. Thanks be to God that we can see this gift greater, and where our hope should be, through others when they experience their trials. I thank God for you my precious one.

    To God be the glory,
    Judie

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  6. Angie, you are a woman I want to emulate. Your grace and courage always inspire me, and you make me want to love the Lord with more of myself!

    And your shopping trip sounds like the ones I take with my brother and my mom. Even though I’m 19 and he’s 22, we still are silly and have fun together! 🙂

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