Two weeks ago, I reviewed a Bible study by Courtney J. Strong, Preoccupied with Promise. Today I have the privilege of posting a piece by the same author, someone I had the honor of meeting at a taping of another Bible study several months ago. I want you to get a glimpse at her writing style and while doing so, I hope you’ll be encouraged by her reminder that even in the mundane, little things really do matter. If you enjoy this, visit Courtney at her blog: www.preoccupiedwithpromise.com.
All the Little Things
by Courtney J. Strong
One afternoon, I was doing the “stroller walk” through Disney World. You know the one. The fast-paced, repetitive loops, attempting for my over-tired toddler to get a nap. When my wheels came up to a souvenir store in Epcot for the 30th time, I approached a less-than-magical sight. A father brought his almost eight-year-old out of the store and began to scream at his supposedly ungrateful son. I never heard the son say much, only the father scolding about how he was going to start taking things away from him. I was about to cry for the boy. Amidst all that the father thought he’d given his son, I guess this dad was expecting a better attitude. And I get it; if the son truly deserved discipline—fine. I’m all for discipline and stopping ungratefulness at the core. But this seemed way out of line. While the park was peppered with Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah people, this awkward father-son interaction stuck out to an extremely uncomfortable point. The expression from the dad seemed to be an explosion of unmet expectation. In that moment, the thought came to my heart, “It takes a lot of good and faithful little moments to make the big moments worth something.”
I don’t pass judgment on this man, and I surely don’t know the background of the family or situation, but if the parent had put all his eggs in this amusement park basket, so to speak, disappointment was bound to happen. What if he waited for this week to bring bonding with his son, but missed everyday chances to connect? You just can’t take an unfostered relationship and have the maximum enjoyment during one of life’s “big” events.
If the father-son relationship lacked the good, little moments leading up to the trip, of course, no matter how much money or effort one puts into planning a Disney vacation, it’s just not going to meet the mark. What happens in the little moments show, for better or worse, when the big moment opportunities arise.
What if we took this truth into our parenting, our friendships, and our marriages? How would this perspective shape our daydreams of our wedding day, our baby’s first steps or our children’s graduation? How would we live leading up to that vacation with our spouse or family?
Not the least of these is our relationship with Jesus.
You know if you’ve ever helped someone plan a wedding or anticipated attending or planned an important party, it always feels like its over way too fast compared to the hours of investment. I want to encourage us to soak in Luke 10:41-42 (NIV), “ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ ” The Bible tells us in just a couple of verses prior to this, that Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (v. 39). What a promise. Because don’t we often struggle with which small things to focus on? Many times I feel like I run around aimlessly not knowing where to invest my time in what will last. After all, aren’t the suggestions and ideas endless? Photo book or vlog? Is scrapbooking even still a thing? Chat books, birthday books, quote books…maybe it’s just me. I get overwhelmed when it comes to trying to maximize my time with my friends or deciding how to best savor family memories. But should I be? Isn’t Jesus’ instruction to Martha regarding Mary exactly the answer? For in sitting with Him, it is not taken away. It is invested for generations to follow. Not to mention He will guide you on anything you need—monumental or trivial—regarding your little ones (Isa. 40:11).
Whatever you are doing today, dear one, that doesn’t seem significant, remember this: Your El Roi, the God who sees, sees the little things, and He is cheering you on like crazy for them. As you sit at His feet and dedicate it all to Him, the mundane is meaningful as we believe He’s with us in every little moment. Galatians 6:9 (HCSB) says, “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” It’s a command, it’s a promise, and it’s hard. It’s hard to wait and to think that our seemingly, miniature, monotonous acts of faithfulness are adding up to anything. But it’s exactly those that make up the ingredients for a bountiful harvest.
The mountaintop experiences any of us have vision for require the steadfast, little moments. Then when the important times come, the relationship will have enough solid ground to hold the stake of sacredness.
Start with Jesus.
Meet Courtney J. Strong
Courtney J. Strong is the author of the 6-week women’s Bible study, Preoccupied with Promise. The study guides women through Scripture, teaching them how to know, really know the gift of God and the specific surprises awaiting them. Courtney gives practical steps on how to live on the celebration side of this “knowing.” Courtney is a licensed professional counselor and an active teacher in the women’s ministry of Houston’s First Baptist Church. She and her husband, Josh, lead their favorite ministry, “Team Strong”, with their son and daughter as vibrant members. They strive to build a home for Jesus with as much giggling, family traditions and cookies as possible. You can find her at her blog: www.preoccupiedwithpromise.com, on Facebook at @preoccupiedwithpromise, and on Instagram at @courtneyjstrong.