“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Sitting here with my smallest chunky nugget next to me on the couch, staring up at me with his huge angel blue eyes at 1:20 in the morning as I watch the missed DVR’d episodes of “The Bachelor” and eat a bowl of oatmeal, I find myself reflecting and thinking (as I often do). I have several different thoughts so let me compartmentalize a bit.
First of all, let’s talk about the oatmeal. I have discovered that if you mix chocolate chip with strawberries n’ cream, it tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry! Now, is instant oatmeal the healthiest choice? I don’t know… I’m sure it doesn’t measure up to my friends out there eating steel cut oats and quinoa as their late night snacks, or better yet, NOT eating late night snacks, but I’m also sure it’s not the worst choice. I’ll also confess that I add in a banana and tonight I even put a little pinch of semi-sweet chocolate chips in there! Yum! It’s like a bowl of dessert! What is life if you can’t have some chocolatey goodness at 12:30 in the morning? It’s abundant is what it is!
As for The Bachelor…I watch this show because it’s entertaining, and who doesn’t love an unrealistic “reality” show about “love?” As I watch though, I can’t help but feel sad that this is what our society has done to love and marriage. It’s such a skewed version of reality and truly sets people up for failure, particularly the people watching who allow themselves to get sucked up into the romance and glamour of it all; thinking that unless they find someone who can sweep them off their feet every day it’s not true love, and that life together means traveling the world and staying in fantasy suites with people prepping all your meals and fixing your makeup every five minutes. Now, do I think there should be some of that in every love story? Absolutely. Women yearn for, and quite frankly deserve, to be swept off their feet and cherished and treated like queens. But it’s just not reality that life looks like that all the time after the dust settles. Society tells us that that’s what an abundant life looks like, so then people can look at things like this and so many other shows out there, compare their regular, everyday, possibly mundane lives to it and think they’re missing something. Again, I do believe that there needs to be some magic and romance in everyday life and everyday love. How that looks in reality is another post.
My version of an abundant life has drastically changed over the years, and God continues to show me each day how little I know about His abundant plans for me. What I do know for sure is that His plans are so much greater than mine could ever even imagine. Tonight, my life is abundant. Looking at my living room filled with toys and crumbs and sticky surfaces–that’s abundant. Sitting on my leather couch that is now flaking so much that it comes off on all of us every time we sit on it because 3 (well really 2) tiny people use it as their playground and indoor trampoline–that’s abundant. Eating chocolate chip and strawberries n’ cream oatmeal in the wee hours of the morning–that’s abundant. Reading the same book to my children 5 times a day–that’s abundant. Picking up the same mess an uncountable number of times day in and day out–that’s abundant. Watching my children play on the playground with a freedom I pray they never lose–that’s aundant. Seeing my son’s eyes light up every time they look at me; them lifting up my shirt, exposing my stretch marks and extra skin that any other time, I’d immediately try to cover, so they can “boom” their bellies onto mine and laughing hysterically–that’s abundant. Having my heart skip beats and fall out of my chest with all the sweet moments I find in each ordinary day with these baby angels…their tiny arms wrapping around my neck for random hug attacks, their hands grabbing mine and leading me to their next adventure, their jumbled words and surprised faces as they figure out new things, the snuggles, the time outs, the diaper changes, the falls, the spills, the bath time play dates, the night time rituals, and laying them down at night after a full day of surprises knowing we get to do it all again the next day–that’s abundant! The quiet moments where I feel I’ve failed and the thought is interrupted by a tiny voice calling, “Mom!” and smiling at me with eyes that say, “You are all I need right now!”–that’s abundant! There is so much beauty in this ordinary life. The devil tries hard each day to destroy that, and the more abundant God’s plans are, the harder he tries to kill, steal and destroy them. That story never has and never will change. It’s just a part of this deal called life. But God says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” In order to get that gift, we have to first give ourselves over, wholly and completely to God. I don’t always do that; but I am learning that when I do give God all my broken pieces, He creates something so much more beautiful than I ever could imagine. The picture isn’t anywhere near finished, but with each piece I give Him, it becomes clearer, brighter, and more beautiful. I am beyond blessed and each day as I struggle through and reach my hands up for more grace and guidance, I am learning to delight in the simple things and that those truly are the things that make life abundant!