936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Panic rose like a torrent in my chest. My three-year-old son was nowhere in sight. A group of our friends picnicked under the park shelter, and kids ran about with kickballs and Frisbees. But Zeke had disappeared. My eyes shot wildly back and forth. Do I go search the playground, or run straight to the river?
“Where is Zeke?” I asked my husband as he came to my side. My voice was tight. My eyes scanned the expanse once more.
My husband, sensing my panic, looked at me strangely, as if studying me. “Eryn, he is right in front of you.”
I still could not see him. But then, turning my head slightly to the left, I picked up his blurry figure in my peripheral.
Now my panic took on a whole different form. Am I going blind?
That was the first of many times over the past four years that I have lost part of my eyesight. After it happened a handful of times, we found a name for the terrifying occurrence: Ocular Migraine.
It happened last week, after I came out of the boys’ bedroom after kissing them goodnight. I looked at my husband, and the left half of his face was gone. I made my way to the couch and laid down for the next half hour until most of the symptoms passed, and I regained vision. Now, when they come, I know what to expect. A small spot missing from my vision. Not blackness, just, goneness. That spot grows, flickering, absorbing the world before me into blank space, until it takes up the left half of my vision. It moves to the fringe, taking my peripheral from me. Then, thirty minutes in, I begin to see again. The actual pain of a migraine sets in, and may stay with me a few hours, or a few days. A few times the migraine has developed into a Hemiplegic Migraine, accompanied by partial paralysis. But always, it begins with a blind spot. It is how I missed my son that day, all the while he was right in front me.
How many times do we miss what is right in front of us? I remember thinking about it while reading the book of Proverbs one day. For years I had read these verses:
“The righteous will flourish like a green leaf” (11:28)
“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” (10:11)
“The righteous cannot be uprooted” (12:3)
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life” (11:30)
“The righteous will never be shaken” (10:30)
These verses felt far and unreachable. Life—and motherhood, especially—can leave me feeling anything but righteous. I had a hard time believing that these promises were for me.
But on this day, I finally saw what had been right in front of me all along. It made a life of difference.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus absorbed our sin. All of the mess-ups and words and failures I wish I could take back, He took it all to the cross. He buried them in the tomb. And when He rose victorious, those sins did not. They stayed back there in that grave. Because of His blood shed, Righteous is what God sees when He looks on me, despite how I feel on any given day.
When we invite Jesus in, we become righteous in the sight of God.
Complete. Wholly forgiven. Righteous.
Those promises that were right in front of me all along, I finally saw them. I finally began living as if they are for me, because they are.
We can flourish like a green leaf.
Our mouth can be a fountain of life.
We need not be shaken nor uprooted.
Our fruit can be like a tree of life.
Jesus took away my blind spot. He showed me all that is mine in Him.
I wonder what blind spots we are living with today. What might be right in front of us that we are missing.
Our past blinds us from what the future could hold.
Failure blinds us from the way forward.
Shame blinds us from grace.
Envy blinds us from friendships.
Discontent blinds us from the faithful provisions holding us up.
A blur of busyness blinds us from the gift of time.
It is why we keep those jars on our mantle. Nine-hundred-and-thirty-six pennies for each of our children. A visual reminder of the number of weeks we get to raise them under our roof. We count the time, because I fear that if we don’t we won’t see it passing. We’ll miss what is right in front of us. We’ll miss who they are right here, right now, before they change just a little bit as they sleep tonight, waking up older tomorrow. Time can be a terrible blind spot, a blur of motion stealing our greatest intentions.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 instructs. Let us see time’s passing right in front of us, that we may make the most of it. And, that we may give thanks.
That day that I lost my son was the day I realized the power of a blind spot. The missing out of what—or who—is right in front of us. Let’s not miss it today. Let’s take God at His word, take seriously this gift of time we’ve been given, and begin living fully aware.
“The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.” Psalm 146:8
“Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” Psalm 66:5
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!