Do you know what I remember? Being 11. Do you know what I currently have under my roof? An 11 year old. She is in the 5th grade. I remember the 5th grade! I remember that my BFF’s were Kim Moore and Heather Mason and we would make up dances to Janet Jackson (OMG, Mom!) at slumber parties. I remember my teacher, my outfits, and my parents when I was 11 years old. I remember the books I read and the trips we took. I remember riding my bike to Wendy’s with Kirstin Garrison and Jackie Pricket for Frostys. I remember 11. This struck me not long ago. That my kids are almost totally out of the “babies who won’t remember this” phase. They will remember this. They will remember being 11, and 10, and maybe even 7 and 5. And I had this thought: this is it. This is the whole thing, happening right now in front of my nose. This is it. Here is what I mean…
While we are walking down memory lane (or Jefferis Court as the case may be), do you remember when you couldn’t wait to grow up? Maybe it was that you couldn’t wait to watch a certain show or movie (my 5 year old has told us that when he is a grown-up he will watch Captain America everyday). Maybe it was that you couldn’t wait to be old enough to try out for a certain team or go to a certain camp. We all remember the anticipation of waiting for Christmas morning or for school to get out for Summer. I remember thinking that if I could just shave my legs (what in the very world?) or wear make-up, I would have arrived. Then it was: if only I could date. Then, if only I could drive. Then I remember looking forward with excitement and trepidation to high school graduation. College. “Once I pass this class, get into this sorority, get this internship…then.” Of course like any good southern girl my thoughts then went to my Mrs. Degree. (Actually, that is not at all how it happened, but stay with me). “I’ll just be happy when I get married, and have a perfect wedding, and a husband to complete me (insert eye-roll).” But that wasn’t it, was it? Because then we moved on to: “once I get pregnant… once this baby is OUT OF ME… once she is sleeping through the night… once they are in school… once we get that house.” Or maybe your story goes more like:” once I get this job… this raise… this amount of $ in the bank… then I will be happy, fulfilled, able to ______ (fill in the blank).”
So this is what struck me as I realized I have a living, breathing, remembering 11 year old in my house… THIS IS IT Y’ALL! All of that is water under the bridge. Driving, high school, college, the wedding, the babies, the house, the job, the eye-shadow for goodness sake. Done. So this is it. I am certainly not saying, “Oh well, I guess this is it. This is all. There is nothing left to look forward to.” No way! I am saying, “This is IT! Life is happening now! We are here! Now what are we going to do with it?” My kids may not remember this particular day (and some days, Praise you Lord for that), they may not remember this particular meal, or this particular conversation but the sum total of all of that will make up their memories. This is it! This is their childhood! Today! The memories that I want them to have when they are 39, I better be building right now. The mom I want them to remember I better be, right now. The words I want them walking out of this house believing, I better be saying, now.
It’s not just for my children, either. It is for me as well. The marriage I want to have, I need to be investing in today, because this is it! The friendships I want to be a part of I should be pouring into right now, because this is it! The prayer life I want to have I need to find time for now, because this is it! The conversations I want to have with my parents I need to have, because this is it! The gifts I want to explore I need to get after, because this is it! The memories I want to make, the places I want to go, the books I want to read, the things I want to learn, I need to go for because THIS IS IT! Here we are! What am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? We are not promised another day and why would we want to get stuck in the, “once I just____ then I will ____” pit?
One of my very favorite scriptures is John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” For years I lived in the trap that this abundant life Jesus was speaking of was the same as the lie the American culture was feeding me. I thought abundant life, or life to the full had something to do with a bigger house, a secure bank account, or maybe days filled with leisure. Surely it means doing what I want to do, or that hut in Bora Bora out in the middle of the ocean? Surely it at least meant being able to go to Target and buying whatever I want, or maybe just some PEACE AND QUIET for goodness sake! Lie! Lie! Lie! Someone was stealing and killing and destroying my joy! He was stealing my abundant life! Do you know what we have a whole lot of around here? LIFE! And all of that life comes with mess. I have found that the more life we have the more laundry there is, and dishes there are, and noise I hear, the fuller the schedules are, and the more demands on me there are. LIFE! When I look at all this mess I have to remember that it is equal to life TO THE FULL! How sad it would be to have this abundance of life and think “If only I could get to Bora Bora.” I’ll be happy when…. what? There is less life? That’s not the God I serve! He is about abundance! Real abundance, not the artificial, fleeting kind. Life.
So this is it! Abundant life is here, today! In the mess, in the fullness, in the realness. I will always live in a place of expectation on The Lord. We can never get to the end of Him so I will never stop pushing for more. And I pray he has more for me in my life and my walk. Maybe you are still waiting for the job, the hubby, the baby, the house… But today will never be here again so we better embrace it for what it is- abundant! Now it is my children’s turn to countdown… Right now it is mostly just Spring Break, superhero movies, and obviously lip-gloss. But one day when they look back they will know that life was not found in those things. Those milestones and so many more will pass and they will be relatively unchanged by them. But if they can, if we can, just recognize that life to the full is right here within our grasp then everyday can be lived in abundant blessing! THIS IS IT Y’ALL! Go get ’em!