Every Friday morning for years, I heard a fellow leader of my Bible study group encourage us that, "It could be today." For her, the hope she thought of every morning was the return of Jesus to complete work of restoration He initiated on the cross.
As I sit here with swollen ankles and an exploding belly, "It could be today" means this might be the day we get to meet the one wriggling around inside of me.
For the ones who lived before Jesus was born, "It could be today" filled believers with hope that each sunrise brought the possibility for the return of Messiah. The one who would bring light back into the world.
And one day he did come. It was a today. There was a day when angels shouted this is the day! God with us has entered the world and the plan for bringing people back into relationship with him is set one step further into motion.
Thirty three years later, the day came when it was "today" again. The day when love and grace mingled themselves in perfection and Jesus paid our sacrifice on the cross. The most important "today" in all of history.
That today of thousands of years ago is the one we celebrate this week. And it is the today that all of my hopes hang on.
Even as I hopefully look forward to the approaching time when I get to look into the face of the one who saved me, in my own little world, I hopefully look forward to the imminent day when I hear a newborn's cries.
Amelie tells me a hundred times a day that she wants to "Help Mommy."
Sometimes I can make this work to my advantage. Last night at bedtime I convinced her it would "help mommy" if she carried something up the stairs for me rather than continue to play with the toy that kept her from wanting to get ready for bed.
Score! Cleaning supplies got carried upstairs and bedtime progressed.
Other times, her "help" totally complicates any work I've done rather than contributing at all to completing a task. The most obvious of these times is when she closes herself in the bathroom with me and stands next to my legs declaring she is going to "help mommy."
But I've been reminded to love her heart motive even though her help usually creates more work.
And my heart has been pricked over who I am "helping," or could it be hindering?
I want to help God do good, not believing doing good things will save me, but simply because I want to be lined up with His purposes and do things for Him. Sometimes I ask what it is that I can do to most bring Him honor. But most times, I push ahead doing what I think will be helpful only later to find out I kind of messed things up.
Whether through immaturity or impulsive actions, my words, as one example, can do a whole lot of unhelp in someones heart that He has been carefully working on when I don't first ask Him how I can help.
My unskilled help, when not connected to His plans can quickly undo His work and leave my attempts just as unhelpful as Amelie's declarations to "help" me. Still I find He gives me opportunities to help. I haven't been pushed away or banned from trying to help Him.
Rather I feel reminders to slow down, reconnect with Him and become realigned with His plans.
Today I do want to be helpful and when Amelie asks to "Help Mommy," I plan to ask how I can "Help God."
Are you sitting at your computer reading blogs, checking email, or shopping when you really wanted to be folding the clothes that just finished in the dryer? And did you just tell your 2 year old that you would read her a book "in a minute" for the twelfth time?
This is the addiction I face. Too many times "just checking" one more thing - facebook, reading one more blog post, finding a great deal on kid's pajamas and my free time is eaten away.
When I heard about the book, "The Soft Addiction Solution," I immediately knew what my soft addiction is and that it needed to stop. Obviously I haven't completely banned myself from the internet, but reading the book and coming up with a vision of what I do want my life to look like has made me think twice before heading to "just one more" online place.
"Asher, Don't eat toilet paper when you have food on your plate."
Because really once the food is gone, eating toilet paper is a perfectly good option? (please catch the sarcasm dripping off that sentence.)
Yet again, words flew out of our mouths that really don't belong together. Our boy rarely eats his dinner, but I often find myself telling him to stop eating leaves when we're outside or to keep the paper out of his mouth during quiet time.
I've gone the route of trying kid-friendly food all of the time and it hasn't worked. Pizza must have pepperoni only and be exactly the kind he's used to seeing without any sauce visible or stringy cheese parts hanging off the edge. Chicken nuggets are fine, as long as I only make him eat two. Hamburgers - good - but not too thick, or on a bun, hold the toppings.
And so we settle for suppers of a few mousey bites of regular adult food without kid-friendly amendments. As we eat, the battle rages for our child to eat what's been served rather than the extra toilet paper he sneaked back to the table after a trip to blow his nose.
Lovely. (and now you know why we use cloth napkins in this house!)
Most of my prayers are for big things.
I ask God to continue to bless us with good health, spiritual growth, provision for food, home, clothing. These general prayers He answers and I'm grateful for the ways I know we are supernaturally provided for.
I know He regularly performs huge miracles and there is no request too big for Him to answer.
He has changed the outcome of wars, turned hearts of stone cold leaders, and rescued entire people groups. Still, it is the little specific prayers that build my faith on a daily basis. Whether it's asking for help in finding a dropped contact, bringing a friend into my path at the right moment, or providing the perfect opportunity just when I need it, I am blown away when my small prayers get answered.
Last week, I lost my calendar.
Not just a book of dates and times, but the place where I store lists, invitations, reminders, all the basics to keep our family on track. My first inclination was to immediately order a new calendar so I could get to work recording the things I could still remember.
But God prompted me to pray and wait. I prayed on Wednesday that He would help me find the calendar by Monday or I would order a new one. My commitment to this request was tested several times. I went ahead and spent time finding the website to order an exact replacement calendar from. And during our weekend trip to Barnes & Noble, I resisted the temptation to just go ahead and use my coupon to buy a new one.
I waited and God provided Sunday morning. Through a series of thoughts that He led me on, I went to a spot to check. It was a completely random spot I never would have searched in a million years on my own.
And there lay the small but familiar red leather book!
I immediately felt relief as that nagging feeling of life being out of order lifted and I knew God answered my little prayer once again! He felt tangible, real, and I am reminded of my need for Him. I rarely tell anyone about the little ways He has worked in my life.
You could call these coincidences, fate, or just the way life works out, but I will refuse to label these as anything other than God's direct intervention into one small life.