And Then I Paused

and then I paused jkmcguire

I stepped out onto the deck Thanksgiving night to put some recycling in the bin and then I paused. The moon was full and bright in the sky. The kids seeing me standing out there decided that they needed to witness the moment too. One of the older girls grabbed up the baby onto her hip and all of us stood out there together – these five wonders and I – in our bare feet praising the magnificence of a full moon and a starry-skied night.

It was a holy ground moment. A little piece of heaven touching us where we stood.

We are learning to pause and witness the goodness and awe of life – together.

I find myself looking for these moments often.

I know one thing in this parenting adventure that I am doing right and it is the thing I enjoy the most – teaching them awe.

One of the kids is as enamored with sunsets as I am. Another is fond of constellations and the night sky. One has brought me flowers since she was a very small girl -every time she finds a tiny bit of beauty she has to share it with me. My recent wish list includes taking them back to the beach so that they can witness sunrises over ocean waves. Finding that sacred space with our bare feet in the sand – so I can witness the awe with which they confront the sea.

These moments give me great joy and peace and hope.

Heaven touching earth and we get to participate?

That is my holiest, highest calling right now – holding them by their not so little hands & walking with them forward, taking their chins and gently turning their heads towards the holiness that is everywhere around us. As their mother I get to show them HOW to see.

Every step. Every breath. Every person they encounter. Every checkout line. Every neighbor. Every full moon. Every sleeping bee. Every tiny flower. Every mushroom.

Every sunrise & sunset is a sacred moment, the Divine whispering to the world, “Pay attention.”

sacred moment divine whispering pay attention

Friday morning my two oldest girls and I were up before dawn. As the rest of the house slept we got dressed and ready to head out for our very first K-M girls’ Black Friday shopping trip. As we left the house the sun was just starting to peek up through the neighborhood. It has this way about it – the city sunrise – light finding its way between houses, back decks, front porches, and trees. Our house is situated just right to witness the sacred in the urban ordinary.

My girls and I stood on the deck like the night before and with hushed whispers took a picture of ourselves with that light coming up brightly behind us.

It was a celebration of our truth together… light dawning on new things daily.

The whole way across the main roadways to the restaurant for breakfast – we watched the sunrise up over the city. As I drove these girls of mine – we celebrated the morning and our togetherness.

I am an active participant in their becoming – I get to bear witness to their evolution as people, as fierce little women and men.

I thank God every single day that I get to be their mother. I refuse to miss this. I refuse to waste the gift we have been given in each other. I desperately long to enjoy them… to enjoy the family we are becoming. And I make every effort to do just that – enjoy us.

Losing your breath – facing your death and the shortness and uncertainty of your life does something to a woman. It spins everything around, upending your life, flipping it all on its head, and focusing you towards what matters and making it perfectly clear what has no space in or rights to your life.

this is the way wak in it jkmcguire

It is like God turned the chin of his beloved daughter – and whispered, “This is the way; walk in it.”

When your world is spun upside down like that you begin to weigh the world differently.

I ask God daily, “How then shall I live? How then shall I love? How then shall I mother? How then shall I write?”

And I go forth into the world with those questions always before me.

The work that I do in our home and on the page and out in this crazy world is continually informed by the tension of living the answers to those questions.

I do this well. I live this life well not because I have all the answers or because we have attained perfection, but because I press into the struggle of that question – How then shall I live?

I live under the weight of that question and all the questions that follow. I anticipate with expectant hope the answers that are given and try to celebrate every opportunity as if I am standing on holy ground.

Because the answers that I am given are found in the most rewarding of places. These answers that I find along the way – are like finding treasure in the most ordinary of places. Places I might have overlooked if I attempted all that looking on my own terms.

As my daughters and I share a booth over hot drinks and good food – as I witness their smiles and we share laughter together because sometimes life is so full that from the overflow comes laughter, deep joy, abundant peace, and celebrationI want to live in the overflow. 

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{Right click and download this image for a free Facebook cover photo.}

And the overflow automatically lead me towards gratitude and thanksgiving and a deeper seeing.

I am continually reminded that the best answers to my questions have come as simple reminders of how to live well.

That leaning into my children and enjoying them while I have them right here in front of me is some of the fullest life I will ever know.

The best answers are simple reminders to enjoy every breath of the life I have been given to live.

That is all I know how to do – enjoy the time that we have been given.

Because time is one thing you can spend all your life counting – and all your time wasting.

Once this day is gone – it is gone.

There are no time mulligans.

We aren’t given the opportunity for many do overs.

But we are given all the time we need to love one another well in this very moment…

if we would but pause and live in the overflow.

I’m leaning into that…

Happy belated Thanksgiving.

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