Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

The Beauty of In-Between

36 Comments

Finding God in your everyday

This is the last post of  “Finding God in Your Everyday,” a series highlighting how God shows himself to us in our everyday, messy lives. This week’s guest is my friend Abby McDonald, a writer with an encouraging message for women who wonder if what they’re doing matters. (I love Abby’s writing. I think you will too!)

The Beauty of In-Between

It was the season of slow.

I pushed my ever-cautious son to try a new activity and he resisted. With further coaxing he took a step forward only to take two steps back.

I submitted my writing to various publications and waited. Then, I waited some more. Weeks passed until finally received a “no” from one with still no response from the others.

Our church prepped for a new outreach geared toward local moms. Anticipation mounted as we discussed plans for our first meeting. Then, more waiting.

One evening as I minced garlic and boiled pasta for dinner I thought, “God, am I really making a difference?

I longed to see tangible results, but in ministry and the tedious days of raising children some of our greatest impacts go unseen. We pour love and life into others and hope it will produce fruit, but the real Life-Giver is not of this world.

I needed a sign. I yearned for a little slice of encouragement.

I nearly missed it when it came.

One night a few of my friends gathered around the coffee table in my living room for a direct sales party. Kids romped around the floor and played with the children’s books spread around the room.

“I do this icebreaker at the beginning of all my parties,” the consultant said. I squirmed in my chair. Could we just get on with buying the books?

She asked everyone to name one trait they liked about me. I fidgeted some more, certain my awkwardness was as visible as my chipped toenail polish. If this was what being in the spotlight felt like, perhaps I wasn’t made for it.

One by one my friends named aspects of my personality they were drawn to. And what shocked me and lifted me all at once was this: I didn’t even see it.

They said I was welcoming and always smiling. I saw how I behaved when my kids were fighting. They saw someone who gave a warm “hello.” I saw a mom who diverted her eyes from the acquaintance at the supermarket.

When we focus only on our worst moments, we miss the victories in-between.

And those victories can be as simple as starting a conversation with the new mom who’s visiting your church. It could be offering a smile to the social outcast who your neighbors avoid or helping the widow across the street.

We will never appreciate the pinnacles in life if we don’t value the small, everyday moments connecting them.

graphic for betsy

That night, as my friends gathered around my living room floor, eating chips and salsa and chasing little ones, I saw for the first time in months that I was making a difference. But it wasn’t in a way I expected or even realized.

In all my laser focus on the end goal I missed the beauty of the journey.

Leaning back in my recliner I felt a renewed sense of purpose. And it was right there in my home.

Image Abby

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

I love linking with these communities: Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesdayKelly Balarie’s #RaRalinkup, Holley Gerth’s #CoffeeforYourHeart, and Grace and Truth.  Check them out for more encouragement.

 

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

36 thoughts on “The Beauty of In-Between

  1. Oh yes, Abby. We so often have our eyes on very specific goals or desires and end up missing the serendipitous joys Christ just longs to give us.

    Thanks for these very special words tonight. You’ve caused me to be much more aware …

    • Thanks so much for stopping by today, Linda. “Serendipitous.” Love that word! 🙂 Yes, God is making me more aware each day. Blessings to you.

  2. Great encouragement. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for sharing this important moment with us, Abby. We are all guilty of this. I think we are drawn to the end goal because we are such goal-oriented people. We work hard, and we want to see the end result! I’m so thankful God gives us those moments that draw us back in such an honest way, opening our eyes to those things right in front of us. What a blessing you are!

    • Kristine, I’m always amazed by how God delivers a little piece of encouragement when we need it the most. He is ever faithful. Thanks for YOUR continual encouragement, friend. Blessed to have you alongside me in this journey.

  4. “Awkwardness as visible as my chipped toenail polish.”
    Smiled over this apt metaphor, but cringed in my identification with some of the same lessons I need to work on. Thanks for slowing me down for a minute!
    Blessings!

  5. Awe, love this. 🙂 Purpose has a way of disguising itself as everyday life, doesn’t it? What a lovely bunch of encouraging friends you have. ❤

  6. Such great encouragement, friend. I’m guilty of being big picture focused and missing all the good things God does in the in-between. I think that comes from continuing to learn to slow down (which is hard for me!) and smell the roses. Thanks for the reminder to do that today. xoxo

  7. God is trying to drill this into my head, Abby! I miss so much. In those small moments…those tiny steps…and the waiting…that’s when we can see what we’re missing. I just need to slow down…break it down…and see it come into focus. Don’t know if that makes any sense, but God used your words today to affirm what He has been trying to teach me. Thank you, sweet friend!

    • Sabra, yes it does make sense and I thank you for sharing with me, friend! I always encouraging me when God uses me to reaffirm a lesson he’s teaching to someone else. He’s been drilling this one into my head too. 😉 Thank you, thank you. xoxo

  8. Oh, Abby, Yes! and Amen! I need to be reminded of this…all the time…so thank you 🙂 And thanks, Betsy 🙂

  9. I’m a laser-focued-misser, too ;). Thank you for opening my eyes a bit wider this morning and giving me a breath of fresh air :).

    • Oh, how we need those breaths of fresh air. God gave me one of those recently through a much needed weekend away. I’m always blessed to hear from you, Anita. Thank you!

  10. Abby/Betsy,
    Good morning and thank you for this encouragement to settle into the journey, be encouraged by the little victories and bright spots along the way, and take our eyes off end-goals, but instead focus them on Jesus – our true prize.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Our true prize indeed. Yes, yes. I need to be reminded of this so often. Bev, you are a gift and your words have encouraged me more times than I can count. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  11. Beautiful, Abby. Although our “meeting” is here on the blog pages only, I would certainly nod my head in agreement with your book gal friends. Even in your writing you are warm and inviting. So glad to hear you’re connecting with the Lord and enjoying the journey because it’s a good one. Betsy ~ thanks for opening your blog page and sharing the journey of others with us. (Hope you’re getting settled in as well!)

    • Kristi, I am so glad that my online presence and “real life” presence match- I certainly wouldn’t want to give a false impression and have someone be shocked when they met me. 😉 You are such a dear friend, whether we’ve met in person or not! I hope one day we will. 🙂

    • I’m am getting settled in, Kristi. Today is the first day in about a month that life feels “normal” again! I’m so blessed that you friends have done guest posting for me. Blessed beyond measure.

  12. Thanks for sharing this experience, Abby — we can get so focused on wanting big results and outcomes that we don’t realize the small moments are adding up to something really important and meaningful.

    • So true, Jeannie. And with mothering we have so many of those small moments that add up to the big. Thanks for stopping here and sharing your insights today.

  13. I am a big fan of your writing style Abby! I am so glad that God is using your talents to bless and encourage others. It is easy to feel like we are “not doing enough” or getting the results we are hoping for. We must realize that all God asks us to do is seek and glorify Him. He is the one that transform lives and opens hearts to Him. I am thankful that He has chosen me to be a part of his plan. Thank you for sharing such a revealing look at your insightful thoughts. May God bless you and yours in all that you do!

    • I am so encouraged by your kind words today, Horace! I am humbled by the fact that God uses me as a vessel to encouraged others and it’s always my prayer that I point others to Him and his grace. Thanks for being here today.

  14. Hi Abby, I’m so glad you visited me on my recent blog so I had a chance to find yours! How precious to hear Godly women reflect your best qualities, to share what you didn’t see about yourself. This is the grace that rests in fellowship! I have a sense of your warm and inviting nature, and I also imagine how you touch people in your everyday life! So blessed to say hello and get to know you a bit!

  15. I love those unexpected blessings, Abby! Thank you for sharing this beautiful story of real life and who you are. Loved this!

  16. Abby, isn’t it something how we often view ourselves only through the lens of our weaknesses, while the people around us see a more complete picture? What a gift your friends gave you when they pointed out the things they appreciate about you! Many thanks to you for sharing, and to Betsy for hosting your words today!

    • Yes it is, Lois. I am trying to see myself through God’s eyes more and more. I know I never will completely achieve that in this life, but when we understand more of how he sees us it makes such a difference. Thanks for your encouragement today!

  17. I loved this so much Abby! Encouraging and uplifting! I could relate to your words, and have struggled with the same issues. Praise God we can surrender it all to Him, all the need for validation and all the doubts.

    The enemy sure wants us to believe we’re ineffective for the Kingdom. So sweet how God gives us a glimpse of what others see in us, right when we need it. What an amazing ice breaker God thought of 😉

    I sure see these same things in you, and am blessed by your writing ministry. A humble and beautiful God’s girl.

    Write on for His glory my friend!

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