I recently had my vision retested. Turns out, my 5-yr-old prescription was outdated. Really?
When the new frames and lenses were ordered I began wearing my glasses more and felt my eyes were stressing less; things were certainly clearer. It felt good to have taken the time to care for myself and in the end, have a fix that was simple with huge impact.
But the testing of my vision didn’t stop there.
Last Monday afternoon was rough. First, it was a Monday. I pickup our Pre-K kid at school at 1pm then head home for a quick snack and change her into leotard and tights and it’s off to ballet practice by 3:30pm. At 4:15pm we dash home to get our last meal of the day moving along, only this day I needed to stop by the grocery store.
Our daughter was extra wiggly, extra giggly, insisting on arabesque-ing, pirouette-ing, and plié-ing from the moment she walked in the store. We had some near misses with those flailing arms and pointed toes; I heard clinking of glass goods on the shelf more than once. Each time my frustration grew, my eyes burned hot, my hands were grabby, and my voice cracked as I pleaded firmly, yet quietly for her to stop.
Once we were in the car, I confessed my attitude and offered a half-hearted apology through clenched teeth. My sweet girl, mommy is sorry. I’m not sure why mommy is not getting along well with you today. I’ve had to repeat myself a lot. I would appreciate you not only hearing me, but actually doing what you hear me ask! I just don’t know WHAT is wrong!?
As we pulled onto the highway towards home, my own words resonated in my head, I just don’t know WHAT is wrong … I just don’t know WHAT is wrong. My day had been so peaceful just prior to the afternoon chaos of this Monday. I had spent hours in the Bible and got caught up on three weeks of study that I had struggled to complete the week before. I had filled up on the goodness of the Lord’s Holy Word and felt ready to march onward. How, then, could the peace I had just feasted on be hemorrhaging away so quickly?
It was only a few silent moments from the time I had spoken those words to our 4-yr-old that I once again had my vision re-examined. Swiftly, the stringed together arrow of words shot out of her mouth and pierced my heart.
Mommy, I know what it is! You know what I think? I think maybe you just took your eyes off of Jesus.
Doi-oing-oing-oing-oing. Like an archer’s perfect shot sent straight to the center of his mark painted upon a mighty oak, the sharpness of her words–of HIS words–pierced the hardness of my shell. It took my breath. Bullseye!
I gazed in the rearview mirror at her, my tiny little minister. This soul that was speaking wisdom to her mama’s heart was wrapped in a pink leotard and had a messy bun atop her head.
I learned that at chapel today, mama. I will ALWAYS keep my eyes on Jesus and we can do it together.
Yes, my eyes indeed were not kept on Jesus in those rushed moments from school to home, dance class to the grocery store. Mere hours ago I was in the Word and my vision was aligned with that of the Lord’s. It only took a matter of a few hours (and usual daily circumstances) for that time in the Word to fade in the background of my work. Perhaps the situation might have been worse had I not had the time to study the Scriptures that morning. I shudder to think of those possibilities; the lingering words and actions that couldn’t be taken back.
I think about Peter and Jesus’ disciples being sent off in a boat after just watching Jesus feed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Peter had just witnessed a miracle moments ago and hours later that night, he was caught up in the violent winds of the sea. When Jesus walked towards the boat on the water’s surface, Peter was astonished. Teacher, is that really you? If so, let me come to you. Jesus assured Peter he could do so. Peter went to him, keeping his eyes on our Lord. Then suddenly, as those paralyzing moments of fear so quickly halt our walk, Peter began to sink beneath the water’s surface as he doubted; his lack of faith clouded the vision of Jesus, his life preserver.
Let’s face it. These kind of [mommy] moments can, and most definitely will, occur daily. We’ll find ourselves offering prayers on one side of our mouth and speaking harshly to our family out the other side. We have a moment of being filled up, then soon find that we’re barely coasting in on fumes. As an encourager to you and to myself, I want to share what Scripture says about this marathon race as a Christ follower.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:2-3 The Message
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.
Hebrews 12:14-15 The Message
Our circumstances can feel so isolating and we cast our vision of hope aside the moment something doesn’t go our way. That’s why we find ourselves going quickly from the mountain top to a cold valley. We forget to prioritize getting along, being generous in our love and deeds, and seeking contentment.
I smiled as I looked at our daughter in the rearview mirror. I told her when I was a little girl there was a hymn we sang in church about looking to Jesus. Of course, she wanted to hear it sung, so I sang it the best my memory could serve.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
I don’t know about you, but instead of vision exams every five years, I think it’s best to begin each day with one. Are you with me?