Recently I attended a local fair in my community. Fall in south Alabama is embraced by the National Peanut Festival. Just like football marks fall beginning, our fair means it’s time for jackets and that the holidays are just around the corner. We celebrate our fair on a large scale with many civic groups and venders offering food you can only enjoy during our Nut-Fest.
While standing in line for the best corn dog ever, I noticed a young family that I knew eating at the booth next to me. I waved; they waved back as they were encouraging their little ones to finish their dinner with all the excitement booming around them. I asked if they were having fun. Mom gestured with an over exaggerated, “Oh, yeah!” I knew exactly what she meant. The fair comes with its own set of vices. Fighting the long line of bumper to bumper traffic, weaving through the crowds while managing to all stay together, spending more money than you expected on food and rides are all part of the fair experience. Sometimes these negatives make us ask, “Is it worth it?”
As I walked away, I realized my friend really only has a few more years bringing her little ones to the fair. I remembered my kids were round 11 or 12 when we started meeting friends at the fair. Although I was somewhere in the vicinity, in their eyes they were DEFINITLY not with Mom! So really this young friend of mine’s number of trips to the fair with a family filled with wide eyed excitement could be as low as five. You could count on one hand how many more times she will be able to come with a family that resembles the one before her.
Amazed at the reality of how little time we have with our kids compared to our lifetime of activities with them, I fought the urge to stop and share this info with another mom I passed whose child was pitching a fit to ride one more time or the dad who was carrying his little girl on his shoulders while she happily wrapped her cotton candy glazed fingers through his hair. I just wanted to shout “FIVE! Just five more trips! It’s all you have.” I know I sound like an overdramatic empty nester! Although my nest isn’t quite empty yet, it is so far past the trying years of young children. The message to enjoy it, embrace it, and etch it into your mind because it will one day be a delightful memory is my strong reality. Even the tantrums and yes, even the sticky fingers will bring a smile one day in hind sight.
God spoke to me later reminding me of how my revelation at the fair is parallel with our spiritual journey. We succumb to circumstances (often with drudgery and defeat) thinking it will last forever, but in actuality it is usually a small season of our life. Sometimes battles we face do last a lifetime, but usually if we could step back and see the big picture, we would be reminded of God’s character and presence in our lives and the small sliver of the pie we are facing at the moment.
I wonder if at times the angels around us are not whispering – “He’s praying for you right this moment. He has had me stationed by you every step of the way. Slow down and you will see His hand.”
“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
When life seems hard, bleak, and chaotic Jesus is praying for us. He is praying for our spiritual endurance, longevity and effectiveness. So many times we are paced to hold our breath until our situation exhaust itself. The thought that I am on His prayer list is incredibly humbling and reminds me it’s worth it.
“Teach us to number our days from Psalms” is a request that offers an answer that is forever evolving. Understanding the grace received daily and the love that is poured out just because we are His, is a lifelong task. May we enjoy it, embrace it, and etch it into our minds because it will also bring a smile.