Last night as I was tucking my adorable little two year old into bed, he looked up at me, smiling, and sang his rendition of Jesus Loves Me. Just when I think he cannot get any cuter, he goes and does something like that! This was definitely the longest version of Jesus Loves Me that I have ever heard (I was standing there dancing for a good five minutes), but I just stood there soaking in his tiny voice, bright eyes, and pudgy fingers. Little moments like these that happen randomly throughout our days are the ones I long to hold close and never forget as my he grows. I pray that I am able to hold tightly onto these happy memories, relishing every moment with him (and any future children) during their younger years. These years are so important and are full of so much growth (for both parent and child) that I sometimes seem to struggle finding the balance between enjoying the "now" and looking ahead to the future.
As much as I loved listening to my little guy sing, I found myself realizing how many times as a young girl that I looked forward to these moments. I remember many times as a child thinking ahead to the days when I would be married. Who would he be? What would his profession be? What would he look like? I would rock my baby dolls, combing their hair and thinking ahead to the days where I would be a mommy, pouring my heart and soul into tiny humans every day. I looked forward to the hope and joy that I prayed would one day be mine, the blessing of being loved so unconditionally by someone who fully relies on you and trusts you (at least at this age)!
Now that I have arrived to this stage of my life, I can officially say that my expectations and hopes have been proved so true. While we don't imagine the tough days of marriage or motherhood when we're younger, we also don't fully understand how much joy, love, and laughter will fill our hearts during this time. Even still, I catch myself wishing ahead, just like I used to when I was little. I like to think that a lot of my looking ahead comes from the fact that I feel so "behind" all of the other people that have children the same age as mine, but I know that no matter what our situation, looking forward to "better days" is just something that we all deal with. I catch myself looking ahead to a day when my husband works "normal" hours and is gone during the day, but home to enjoy dinner with our family at night. I catch myself looking ahead to a day that I have a backyard to enjoy with my kids. I look forward to so many things, wasting the time I've been given to enjoy what is already here.
We spend so much of our lives looking ahead to the next big thing instead of savoring what we have now, focusing on today because tomorrow will have it's own troubles (Matthew 6:34). What a waste! As middle schoolers, we dream about the days of boys, prom dresses, and dating. As high schoolers we dream of college, freedom, and figuring out who we are. As adults we look forward to being married, having children, and saving up for a new home. Each new stage comes with its on joys, its own sorrows, and its own hardships. That is why it's so important for us to just enjoy where we are. You're single? Enjoy all of the extra free time you have and go treat yourself to a movie! You're married but don't yet have children? Save up a little money and go enjoy your spouse! You have kids but haven't bought your first home yet? Enjoy the advantages that come with renting, doing your best to focus on who you are living with, not where you are living.
Our lives are unique journeys, crafted in such a way that no two are the same. Rather than waiting, most of the time impatiently, for the "next big thing" to come our way, we should celebrate that we all approach the different stages at different times--rejoicing in the goodness that each part of our lives hold. We all feel the pull to look ahead to the future, and while we should be excited for what's to come, we should also be excited for what's already here.
What is your "Jesus Loves Me moment?" One of the things in your life that are so beautiful, but that you almost miss because you're looking ahead? What is one thing you can do that will help you "love your now?"