Here we go! It’s back to school time. A flurry of shopping for school supplies and sneakers, teacher meet-and-greets, school tours, and more has alerted us to the fact it’s time to start a new year. Excitement mixed with a dab of anxiety swirls together on each of my kids’ faces.
Summer was so welcomed by all. But just as it always does, summer came and went quickly. As a mom, I want to hold onto summer with two hands and wrestle to keep it here a little longer. Although on days when my kids are less than happy with one another at home, letting go doesn’t seem so bad!
As a youth, I couldn’t wait for the next phase. I was always reaching for the next season. From middle school to high school. High school to college. Then I couldn’t wait to be done with school in general, so I could enter the “real” world. (That one was sheer ignorance!) Later, it grew into a longing to be married. Then to have a baby. Then for the next phase of growth in those babies that did come.
I suppose it’s natural. We are maturing, transforming, evolving. Some might say this looking forward stems from a lack of contentment. If that is so, then contentment for me was evasive. I slipped in and out of it like the tides. But I’m increasingly aware that the contentment, the satisfaction we crave, can only be found in the Lord. Our lives need to be grounded in Him, for in Him we find our true selves and fall into a sweet place of worship.
There’s a tension between living in the present but living for the future. I love my kids being at home with me but long to see what they will grow up to become. I love their innocent childhood, yet anticipate their launch into adulthood. Don’t get me wrong, I will always wish I could hold them a little longer. Snuggle them a little closer. But part of what makes motherhood so amazing is seeing our children fly.
Still, this tension between now and then. I have been saved, but I look forward to the full salvation that comes when Christ returns. I love this dance with God as He teaches me more about Himself (and myself), yet I can hardly wait to see Him face to face in all His glory. I love living life with my family in the beauty of His creation, but know there’s a coming kingdom “home” that is so much better. There is contentment yet reaching.
We just need to make sure that what we are reaching for is the Lord. That we are reaching for His goodness. That we are reaching for His likeness. Not striving, because Jesus has gifted us with salvation and right standing with God, but reaching for the ‘more’ that God has promised us: the abundant life that He holds for us. The connection, the abiding in Him, that is offered to us.
David cried out to the Lord from the desert He found himself in:
O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Though David was in the wilderness, He focused His gaze on the One Who is and is to come. He found contentment in His God. Though David’s circumstances may not have been ideal, He was grounded in the salvation and deliverance of God Most High. He worshipped. He worshipped who God was for Him in the desert, and He worshipped who God would be in the future. He looked forward to the day when God would silence the liars, those plotting to destroy him.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin.
They will go down into the depths of the earth
They will die by the sword
and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God.
All who swear to tell the truth will praise him,
while liars will be silenced.
I, too, look forward to the day when God silences the liar. When He forever destroys the enemy and the grave. In the meantime, I will praise my God who is and is to come. I will worship Him in the beauty of His splendor, both now and then. Now in part, then in full.
God, I thank You for saving me. I thank You for the glimpse at Your majesty that inspires my worship. I thank You for being here with me in the present. But I also look forward to the day when you come back for me and take me to my heavenly home with our whole family. I pray that You give me eyes to see what You’re doing now and what You will do then. I pray that my contentment and satisfaction will always and only be found in You. It is You I praise and long for in this dry and weary land. It is You I will praise and be with in paradise forever. I love You. Amen.
Author: Kerri Barfield