We are in the middle of simplifying and downsizing when I come across a sweatshirt circa 1991.
“Lane, this was my favorite sweatshirt when I was eight. Honest to goodness, I wore it every single day of third grade.” It occurs to me how many years it’s been since I was that age, and I sink to the floor as the shocking realization hits:
“Um, Babe. Do you realize we’re coming up on almost thirty years since we were in the third grade? Thirty.”
“Is this actually happening to us? Are we actually getting older together?”
Typical to us — me the emoter, he the stoic — his response is matter-of-fact: “Yep.”
And it’s true.
Our life has taken a number of twists and turns, but we’ve done it together and that’s what counts most right now. Somehow, both suddenly and slowly, we find ourselves in our mid-thirties, in the middle of raising our family, in the middle of our life, really.
Some might call our life an adventure, but from where I sit, we’re just doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We do what we can to bring a little more light than there was before we came along, and we do it by putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
It’s this “one foot in front of the other” part I think about a lot lately — this very ordinary nature of moving forward. As it turns out, it’s quite a bit harder than it appears, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Beginnings tend to have a surge of adrenaline, an the excitement of newness, while endings have the resolution and redemption of a finish line. The ordinary middle tends to be unglamorous, a lamented exercise in fidelity where there’s no other way to go but through it. The middle is when discipline tends to wane, when other options seem a little more tempting, when we begin to look to the right or to the left.
The Israelites knew this dance well.
Throughout the Old Testament, God continually and kindly instructs them on how to live life well, knowing their human tendency to long for another path. He reminds them to stay the course, to continue on. He knew they might start to wander if they saw a path that looked easier or someone else who didn’t have it as hard. He knew they might turn clear around and go right back to Egypt if they wandered too far from His path.
I’m like the Israelites. I look to the right and to the left all the time. My wandering heart could use a little binding, truth be told. I look at kids with different temperaments, couples that get out on more dates, careers that don’t require such transience, and I long for them. Jesus, not surprisingly, offers a solution:
Look at Me instead. Run the race I marked out for you, and keep your eyes on Me.
Such is the nature of moving forward, of putting one foot in front of the other: the ordinary becomes sacred. As we walk the path laid before us, we become more attuned to the voice of our Guide telling us, “This is the way, walk in it.” The middle becomes less mundane and more purposeful. It becomes the place where we cultivate deep resilience and align our hearts to the presence of God. It’s where we’re always be guided by Love itself, and I’m finding that as long as I’m being led by Love, He’s taking me exactly where I need to go.
This post was originally written in June 2018 by Sarah Sandifer.
The middle becomes the place where we cultivate deep resilience and align our hearts to the presence of God. -Sarah Sandifer: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Karen Worley says
I so love your writing!! It’s such an encouragement each day, God bless you sister!
Beth Williams says
God is in the mundane tasks of life. Change is hard, but people love new beginnings. Like Spring it’s fresh, alive & exciting. Then we get the feeling of Summer-same old same old. We look around us & want what others have. We long for a new start something fresh. Life is often lived in the ordinary mundane day to day. We must look to God daily. Come to Him in prayer & run that race. Stay the course He has planned just for you.
Dawn Ferguson- Little says
God takes us where we need too go. If we keep our eyes on him. God loves us all one by one. We are all different. We all have different needs. God loves us to need him. So as his Children Him our Father. God can show his love too us in the different areas we need it. If we go him in prayer and tell him what we need him to help us with. God will like a loving Father show us through his Holy Spirit what to do. Because he Loves us to ask him for help. God loves to give it too us. As He is such a loving Father. He cares for us so much. More than our earthly Father’s ever did and ever will. Even if your earthly Father didn’t love you like you would have wanted. Or was not the Father you wanted him to be that Father too you. Your heavenly Father will be all you want him to be too you. You can Never stop God Loving you. Sure he sent his one and only son to Calvary to die for you. Sure no greater Love can you get from a Father than that. So Your Heavenly Father God of this World Must Love You and I So So Much Too Do That For This World. When we strart to believe all this. Our lives change. Then we can show this love God gives us in our hearts us who are saved to the hurting World out there. Then if not saved. They might ask what make us so kind caring and loving. We can tell them we have Jesus living in us. They then might want what we have. Get saved for themselves. Because they have seen Jesus living in us. Love todays reading. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Sarah, a good reminder to stay close to the One who saved us. In this time of uncertainty, everything seems new and a little scary. Maybe it’s a wake-up call for us to focus in on what’s closer to home. It can be a blessing. Be well and stay the course!
Maura Michael says
Reading this I’m reminded of pastor and author Max Lucado talking about the Saturday after Jesus was crucified, when He too had to wait in the middle before being resurrected. We often forget that Jesus knows exactly what it means to wait in the middle, waiting for help. I try to carry that image in my heart and mind when I’m in the middle. After all isn’t all life waiting in the middle, waiting for Christ’s return? May I wait with His amazing faith, love, grace, and joy. Amen!
Michele Morin says
I’m running this course as well, Sarah, and even though it’s kind of already an ingrained truth, every once in a while it hits me afresh how much of life in Christ is simply a matter of showing up for whatever God has planned for the day or the season or the challenge that’s presenting itself.
You’ve said this so beautifully here.
love it..yes stay focused on Jesus.. I told my kids that God’s promises are love and his word never changes !!
Nancy Ruegg says
I had to laugh when you revealed your “advanced” age, that you were in third grade in 1991. That same year I was teaching fourth grade with a son in high school, a daughter in middle school, and another son in elementary school! Age is such a relative thing. To me you are still very young! And now even the middle of life is behind me. BUT. Your words still ring true: I’m still in the race, each day is still a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, there’s still more pathway to traverse and more purpose to fulfill. And praise God the ordinary can still become sacred! No matter the age of your readers this day, Sarah, there is delightful hope and encouragement here. Thank you!
I’m also (and have been for a while!) in the middle of simplifying and downsizing but I could be your parent! You are my son’s age & part of my simplifying is shuttling his childhood things out of my house and into his! My husband and I feel like we’re on the other side of “middle” and we’re not quite sure how we got here – it hasn’t always been easy; we navigated some tough terrain and by the grace of God continue on our path together. We like to think that God has been in our middle and that’s what makes it possible to go from the beginning toward the end. We surely don’t know where we would be without Him and it’s comforting to know He knows all about “the middle”!
Blessing to you!