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.
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.
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.