It was Sunday and we were ready. Early! The babe was in his brand-new fall overalls and my girls were color-clad. Caleb had time to find his belt. I didn't just curl my hair, I wore lipstick and put on perfume too. We walked into church and they were singing my song. Rather than being hurried and frantic (as it so often is from scooting seven bodies out the door and into our rusty suburban full of wrappers from yesterday's lunch), my heart was open to receive.
This Sunday was ours. Golden.
Then, less than one song in, she melted.
Many days, I forget their history -- their orphaned years -- until I'm blind-sided by an unexpected moment like this and it all comes back to me.
We walk with that old limp to the car and I spent the one time a week where my worship isn't just in a closet or alongside my loves with all of us in jammies, instead in the cold car, her heart bleeding in my lap.
I hold her with warm arms and struggle to not seethe on the inside. The golden moments always seem to evade me.
I might as well stop hoping for them, I think to myself. Better to let go of my expectations than face this every-day disappointment (because today's disappointment reminds me of the tens of dozens of disappointments before, that I never really addressed -- but over which I simmered).
Hey mama, you reading this? Is this you, too? Dreaming of turkey on a Pinterest-put-together Thanksgiving table with candles and kids' faces, aglow ... only to be reminded of last year and the flu that ripped through your family and the bone-dry turkey that was overcooked because you were too busy refereeing squabbles.
Are you, too, at risk for letting go of your expectations and cynically narrating your life under your breath -- as if it's all one hot mess?
This post is for you. And it's for me.
The Golden Moments for which we moms rarely admit to dreaming -- but often consider to be so. close. -- we might just need to re-define them. We're more at risk for losing that portion of His life that gets birthed inside our hearts when we dream and hope and desire than we are at risk for thinking "too big" for our motherhood.
Norman Rockwell never painted a real Golden Moment.
Golden is the morning when you wake up to the hymn you're singing under your breath as your eyes slowly crack open. It's in there! Desire is really in there, somewhere, says the heart that so often condemns you.
Golden is when the shoe is lost in the field and on your way back out of the car to hunt for it, he slides his hand into yours. You're still safe for him, even though he knows he disappointed you.
Golden is the two-minute prayer up the stairs for her heart -- that bears fruit when she's receptive to what you have to say, and Golden is the five-minute prayer you've prayed for days (over months and years) that He's using to soften you to Him, while you (still) wait on Him to answer.
Golden is the fight with your husband that turned into new clarity in your heart, about you and about God.
Golden is the mommy-meltdown that turns into a trip for ice cream, where your children get to hear you say "I'm sorry," and "Will you forgive me?"
We want a neat and tidy motherhood with children who don't sweat and bleed and bristle -- and He wants a wildly alive heart with a hunger for Him that still has permission to grow when the turkey is dry and no one smells the perfume you're wearing on the one day you had time to take a shower.
Our motherhood is speckled with golden moments of opportunity to reach for the God who inhabits the unlikely minutes -- those moments when our outsides feel suppressed but our insides grow -- wouldn't it be a shame, mama, if we spent a decade missing them?
Today, you might just need to shut this screen or put down your phone. And dream. Ask Him to help you not lower your expectations, but raise them ... for your wildly-alive internal life in Him, when the turkey is dry.
Fifth photo by Hannah Stone