What Are You Waiting For?

From the archives: The story happened a few years ago, but the perspective is still needed….
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The shopping trip was going pretty well, considering there were ten of us, including two babies and a toddler.  We had found the perfect dress for thirteen-year-old Gracie, who is in that awkward stage between girls and junior sizes.  After a quick lunch in the crowded mall food court, we moved to another store in search of a dress for eleven-year-old Lanie.  While she was in the dressing room, we found a rack of clearance-priced slips.  These weren’t just any slips—they were the kind with a full, fluffy skirt, like the old can-cans that went under square dance dresses.  I couldn’t resist buying one, so we added it to the bill at checkout.
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Later in the day we arrived home hot and tired from the long day of shopping. I laid the slip out on my bed and told five-year-old Sophie to go look at what I had bought for her.  She wanted to try it on right away but it was time to go swimming at the lake, so she changed into her swimsuit instead.  When they returned from the lake, Sophie asked no less than three times if she could put on the slip. Finally, after insisting that she take a bath, I told her she could wear the slip.  Sophie skipped down the hall and returned in a few minutes in all her splendor. She wore it to watch a video and eat a bowl of cereal.  Then she wore it to bed.
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I was struck by the fact that Sophie didn’t wait to wear her new treasure.  She didn’t sensibly wait until she was dressing for church or going to a wedding to wear the fancy new slip.
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Too often in life we wait to do the good stuff.  We keep thinking the time will be right for candles and flowers at dinner, maybe after baseball season is over.  Time spent cooking with children is put off until we’re not so busy.  The request to snuggle up and read a book is postponed because we’ve got other things to do, important things.
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Sure, there are practical reasons to save nice things for special occasions.  It would be foolish to wear heels and pearls to pull weeds in the garden, or to use the bone china on the high chair tray.  Everyday items have their purpose.
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It’s the waiting I’m talking about.  Waiting for that elusive “perfect” time to use items that bring beauty and joy to ordinary days, or to spend moments making warm memories with those we love.
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Just yesterday I put off reading a book to two little girls at bedtime.  I, who should know better after watching six children grow up and leave home in the blink of an eye.  I, who of all people know that children will be adults most of their lives, and that once childhood slips away it will never return. I, who will soon sit in a pew and watch a son marry his bride, a son who will never perch on my lap during church or ask to read a story again.
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Recently my husband performed a wedding and the grateful couple gave him a gift of two nights in a local hotel.  We checked our schedules and it would be late summer before we had two nights in a row that we could be away, so we resigned ourselves to waiting for months.
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Last week I realized that we did indeed have two nights in a row starting that very day.  We made last-minute arrangements and spent those two nights relaxing and talking and, well, never mind.  During the day we took the children swimming at the hotel pool.  One evening at dinner my husband gave me some very special encouragement in the form of Scriptures and affirmation for what God is calling me to do.  Lovely memories.
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But here’s the confession:  I had to make myself go. Sure, I looked forward to a mini-vacation but I had work to do and a large writing project to complete. I didn’t see how I could take the time and put away the computer. But I chose to be present and not to wait any longer and let me tell you, it was worth the effort.
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What are you waiting for?  A special occasion, the perfect time, more time?
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Today is all you have.  You can’t rewind and redo yesterday.  You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Make sure you are living today. Snuggle and read aloud. Light candles and use the china.  Wear the fancy slip.

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8 thoughts on “What Are You Waiting For?”

  1. Nancy Slaughter

    Thank you for the encouragement. I, too, am reminded about how fleeting time is with our little ones. My “baby” is now 17, and my older daughter is now a mother herself. Today IS the best day!
    The engagement video was so special…and it DID make me cry. May the LORD richly bless their marriage. Congratulations!

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