When You're Only Making Ripples
"Some of us will make tiny ripples and others will send waves crashing, but each one will change the surface of the water forever." - Robin Dance
The quote hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn't stop staring at the delightful whale with adorable little red fish swimming around the graphic that had washed up onto my social media feed.
"Ain't that the truth?" I thought.
I looked around at the growing mess threatening to swallow the kitchen, and listened to the bickering of my too-tired kids melting down in the summer heat, and thought of my much neglected blog, and half-finished book gathering proverbial dust in my "work in progress" folder, and glanced down at my expanding waistline --- evidence of my abandoning my workout routines in favor of comfort food and an extra hour of sleep.
I could see the value of my everyday ripples of loving and serving my family. I fully embraced the bigger picture of raising my kids well and loving my husband and serving my God and that it's slow and steady work.
But doggone it, I wanted to send those waves crashing. But from where I stood, the only waves I was releasing were waves of frustrated words and sour attitudes of a soul-tired mom rather than the life-giving tsunami I longed to send careening onto the shore of my family and --- if I'm totally honest --- the world.
Before long, guilt had landed like a lead blanket, snuffing out what little creative life-breath that had remained, pinning me to the floor of my heart, convincing me I was a failure at all the things.
Later, my son made a mess of epic proportions --- and accident the result of a boisterous 5 year old's energy coupled with excitement and the desire to make his sisters laugh. Anger bubbled up in my chest and I felt the searing hot words fighting to escape my mouth. But just as I was ready to unleash the fury of a mom-overtired, I saw the remorse in his eyes coupled with the fear of retribution, swift and just.
I softened my stance, my face. I swept him up in a big hug and willed my voice calm and serene assuring him all was ok and accidents happen and we worked, together, to clean the mess. Later, when one of his sisters accidentally wrecked his block creation, I saw his little body tense, his fists ball and the sister cringe. But then, a deep breath. His shoulders relaxed. He patted her shoulder tenderly and offered a soothing, "It's ok, I know it was an accident."
I can't deny that my selfish, worldly heart longs for the accolades and adoration that accompany a big splash. I want more than nearly anything the large waves of my children's successes to crash upon the shore again and again. But when I allow myself to stop and see the depth and reach of each tiny ripple, it's then that I realize that often times the smallest of ripples is far more powerful than the fiercest of waves.
I also can't deny that I'm utterly incapable of changing my grumpy heart and sleepy mind without the ever powerful presence of sweet Jesus. Friends, our ripples really do change the world. But without time with Him, they will not be the kind we want.
Let's not neglect time in the Word, time at His feet, even when all we can muster is a shaky, "Help me, Lord," as the tears threaten to burst forth. Nothing we do as moms is wasted, even what we view as our biggest failures and mess ups. But if we fuel our hearts with His power and love, we'll be better equipped to send ripple upon ripple to the shores of our families, which will spill out into our offices and schools and neighborhoods and churches, and to the world.
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