Finishing The Race

Pursuing God One Shin Splint at a Time

Being Present

I attended another funeral last week. This time I thought it would be “easier” on me since the sweet woman was able to meet some of her great-grandchildren before meeting Jesus face to face.

I was wrong. It was hard.

I cried lots of tears. But it was a different kind of hard than the many funerals I’ve attended for younger-in-age friends and family. This precious great-grandmother (she was the mother of a friend from my church) had favorite memories written down by her grandchildren to be read aloud by the minister during the funeral service.

Over and over the theme from their memories illustrated how loved her grandchildren felt and how present she was in their lives. From long talks over home cooked meals, attending Razorback ball games together, sleep overs always ending the next morning with chocolate gravy, and the example of Jesus prevalent in her life, this family knew what was important to her.

As this theme of being “present” kept showing up in their memories, it reminded me of a magnet I read on a friend’s refrigerator last week.

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I love this so much, “Wherever you are, BE ALL THERE.”

How do I be all there? I’m working on this answer. So far I realize I need to really listen to whoever is with me in the room. With my mind, ears, body language, all of it. My precious 5 year old son, has an annoying sweet habit of turning my head with his hands so that I will look right at him while he’s speaking. He needs me to be ALL THERE. (And I’m trying within reason! “I can’t look at you while I’m chopping this onion…or driving…or changing a diaper!!)

But when it’s possible for me to be ALL THERE–wherever “there” happens to be at the time, it is a beautiful thing to attempt.  The worries, to-do lists, expectations all fade to the background and I can experience a peaceful, unrushed joy in the moment. What a gift.

I’ve been accepting rest as part of my well-being, to become more unrushed. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to allow myself to just “be still and know.” Maybe it’s the season I am in of three small kiddos. (Do you realize that means I’m in charge of trimming 80 fingernails and toenails?! Tyler fends for himself…)

But seriously, this idea that I must be so busy every second of every day in order to prove what? My worth? Acceptance? Or even worse, checking enough boxes to earn or prove my salvation? It is so ridiculous, but I was trying to do it…Until God showed me the error of my ways.

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5

It was a painful process to let go of some areas of my life that kept me from finding rest, but it was oh so very necessary in order to love well.

So as I have moved from my word study of “rest” into practicing it with my “new” for this year, I have a firmer resolve: To be remembered by my children, and Lord willing, my grandchildren as not only present in their lives, but all there…and that I loved them.

What is holding you back from being “all there?” Here’s a question for you that’s also for me: Are you finding time to rest each day with Jesus in order to love others well?

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13-34:35

8 Comments

  1. I love the sentiment behind that magnet as well. Not only for the moments with people I love, but for seasons of life as well. This current season of mine would be so easy to wish away. But I would be missing so much of God if I could sweep this hurt away. Wherever you are, be all there. Even in the presence of disappointment and hurt, of illness and heartache. God is so close to us, revealing new things, and I will miss huge glory-moments if I insist on looking ahead for the “better” thing to come. “Be all there.”- I could tattoo this on my forearm. Thank you for being you and sharing your heart!

    • Oh YES Alisha, thanks for pointing that out! I don’t want to rush through any season–although that is much harder to say during a trial–but as I’ve gotten older I can reflect and see those huge glory-moments and I don’t want to miss one!
      By the way, I’ll meet you at the tattoo parlor…I have many things I need to remember permanently!! ; )

  2. God is so good to me! I am so thankful He has placed you in my life. I really needed to read this today. I was thinking the very same thing as those sweet grandchildren read their tributes to their Grandmother! Oh how Mrs. Paulette glorified God by her love for Him and family. I was not fortunate enough to know her before she was very ill, but the main thing she always discussed with me was her love of God and her family. Even when she was so sick, she didn’t complain, but voiced her concern for the well being of her precious family. It seems I have been so busy lately, yet somehow I find physical and spiritual strength to do the things I feel led to do and still get the rest I need. Thank you Bonnie! By the way, “being present” is important to our sweet kiddos! It is hard sometimes & I know I fail plenty, but I really try to stop and get down to their level looking them in the eye at Sonshine School so they know I’m listening. Love you my friend.

  3. Such a good reminder. I really try to be present too, but this is a real struggle sometimes!

    • I totally agree! And thank goodness for grace!

      Seeing how fast my kiddos are growing up is real motivation to be “present”…I want to try and limit as many regrets as possible so when they are off to college I’ll know I did the best I could! And God will fill in the gaps thank goodness! : )

  4. love this Bonnie and trying to be right there with you 🙂

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