Wednesday, September 14, 2016

i don't want to miss it

we have had the truck that i drive for just over a year now. it's my mom-mobile, my kid-taxi that i uber my kids in around town. it's spacious and has the kids' carseats installed in the back, so it's also the vehicle we take for family outings on weekends. 

the other day, my husband was in the driver's seat and we were on our way to family dinner, when we heard a loud BEEP coming from somewhere in the truck. it startled me- i had never heard it before! it sounded like a warning, alerting us that something was wrong. i was about to panic when i noticed my husband- who could see all the car's gauges from his seat- was cool, calm, and collected.

"what was that beep?" i asked him.

"the gas tank is low."

oohhhh. that's all? that's good. 

but waitasecond. in the year plus that i've driven this truck i had never heard that beep before?! how is that possible?

and then it occurred to me: my husband has kept my gas tank full. all this time, without me having to drive it until the warning beep, he fills the tank. for me. for my safety. i knew that he did this, but it wasn't until i heard that urgent BEEP that i recognized the value of the preventative measure and purposeful effort my husband made on a regular basis so that i never reached the point of a beeping low gas tank. he did something so thoughtful and selfless week after week without recognition or seeking anything in return.

in a matter of moments there in the car, my husband still cool, calm, and collected, i went from near panic about my truck possibly breaking down to being completely overwhelmed with gratitude and love towards my husband's thoughtfulness.

since then, i have been praying that i won't miss it. the full gas tank. the hot fresh coffee brewed for me every morning. the empty dishwasher. the folded laundry. the 12 hour workdays. the undivided attention. the things my husband does for me, for our family, that might go unnoticed.

but also? what about the things God is doing for me time and time again without me having to reach the point of near-empty? what about the behind the scenes things God does to take care of me, for my safety, on a regular basis, without getting any recognition? the sunrise everyday! the breath in my lungs. a moment with my kids. a sale on something we need. a sale on something i want ;) a good nights sleep. a sweet friendship. i could go on and on!

watch this:
suddenly, a strange pain in my stomach. i panic. God is cool, calm, and collected.
"God, what is that pain?"
"Your body is fighting a virus."
ohhhh. that's all? that's good.
but waitasecond. all this time i've been going and doing and eating and living and i've never had this pain before?! how is that possible? 
God has kept me from this virus. week after week He "fills my tank" teaching me to take care of my body, guiding me towards health, keeping me safe and protected and healthy. yes. all this time.
Why is it that when things are going along smoothly, I accept them without thought other than, That's the way it is supposed to run? I may just continue with what I'm doing without any thought towards the blessing that I'm receiving. I am slow to recognize the magnitude of Your goodness or to realize that it is, indeed, a blessing.

the praise comes naturally and easily when God answers prayers and does big things in my life and brings me through something tough. but the "little" day-to-day things? the ordinary things? i sometimes forget. God is the one who planned out this life for me, down to the very detail and minute. He goes before me - literally on the highway clearing the traffic and rerouting me so i'm where i need to be when He wants me there. every interaction with every person. it's all God's doing. 
there is no beep alert to get my attention and to let me know it's time to refill, refocus on the Lord. but there is a warning and for me it's often an abrupt disruption of my peace. i can tell on days when i feel pulled in a million different directions, unproductive, uncertain, and like i'm spinning my wheels that i am too distracted to see what God is doing. i'm caught up in the daily, looking at what's just before me instead of what's going on behind the scenes. i'm missing it. i need to slow down, get back in the presence of God, and refocus on all the blessings and miracles happening around me. 

A miracle doesn’t have to be as grandiose as the parting of the sea (Exodus 14:21) or as supernatural as walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). It can be as ‘ordinary’ as arriving at home safely every day, staying healthy, having a new-born baby, a life changed after evangelism, being awake (alive) every morning, and being able to breathe every second. We must learn to thank Him every morning that we’re able to wake up and live and experience another day, and in the evening that we survive the day. In our chaotic society, it is truly a miracle to survive each day. 

my prayer lately is that i am not an overlooker but a SEE-er and NOTICER of the way God takes care of me every day. i pray that i don't take ordinary blessings, like a full gas tank or recovery from a virus, for granted, and that i would heed the warning, recenter, and align my heart with Christ. i don't want to miss the opportunity to praise God for every single blessing in my life.
I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
// PSALM 34:1

The miracle is that we are here, that no matter how undone we’ve been the night before, we wake up every morning and are still here. It is phenomenal just to be.