Keeping watch

Look at the nations and watch - and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.  - Habakkuk 1:5

I haven't forgotten you. Nothing has seemed very important in this small world of mine, at least compared to the rest of the planet (to which I say, Lord...have mercy).   But I'm back here to tell myself, and subsequently you, what I've been learning these days: the value of everyday moments.  As a mom, there's a million little moments every day that pass by without me noticing.  Like how Ellis can reach things he couldn't before.  How I say "Oh dear!" and he asks, "Where's the deer?" Gotta love the English language!  

I'm learning a parenting practice that doubles as a spiritual discipline for me: keeping watch.  There's a word that's ever on our lips: Look!  Look at the miracles unfolding all around us.  Check out this really cool spider web.  Tell me how many colors God used to paint the sunset.  See how God just answered our prayer for a parking space...not an uncommon prayer from my lips.  Let's thank God for how well we slept last night. (Read between the lines: Thank you Lord for the medicine that knocked him out!).  Just this afternoon, we just read in a Dr. Seuss book about the Zeds who have one hair on their heads; we talked about how many hairs we have on our heads and how God can count them all.  They're all just fleeting moments, but they are teachable ones.  If God's kingdom is wherever God is King, then we have a lot of observing to do.  

There are resources to help make this easier.  I love when I find something that Ellis and I might equally enjoy.  One really great one is the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Another is the music by Rain for Roots.  I've mentioned them here before regarding Advent, but what we have been listening to in the house lately is their album about the parables of Jesus.  (I'll try to put a link below to play the music from this page, but you can also find it here.)

We listened to a song on this album about how waiting for the Kingdom of heaven is like waiting for bread to rise.  And you know what we did today?  We made bread.  Rolls...if you want to be nitpicky.  I had a homemade sourdough starter in my refrigerator that I had last fed (it's live yeast that needs to be fed flour and water to survive) on July 16th of last year.  That's more that six months ago.  I took it out, apologized for having neglected it for so long, and gave it the flour and water it needed.  I let it sit overnight, and in the morning I found it had bubbled up and overflowed.  It's alive!  This afternoon Ellis and I added to this some flour, sugar, salt, a little bit more yeast, and some milk.  We poured, mixed, and kneaded. Then we let it rise.  One hour, two bear hunts, one Dr. Seuss book, and a few cuddles later, the dough had doubled in size.  We talked about the yeast we had worked into the dough, how ever so small it was, and how, with time, it helped raise it. 

I could have made the bread by myself, like I usually do.  As messy as I am in the kitchen (just ask my husband), it would have been a lot cleaner and faster had Ellis not been around.  But it was a moment, an opportunity to say Look!  There's life in here we cannot see.  We have to wait for the yeast to go to work. We have to wait for a lot of things and sometimes it can be hard.  But it's so worth it.  If we pay attention while we wait, we can see the bread rise. We can't see God with our eyes, but we can see how God is working if we keep watch.  When it seems like nothing is happening, or everything is going wrong...wait.  And there's something else, something really amazing, we have to wait for.  And we talked about how Jesus is in heaven with his Father and Ellis says, "Maybe there's toys up there!"  Small yet so precious moments.  Look!

Ellis is two years old.  I'm very well aware that most of this will go over his head.  But we as moms and dads have to become like what we want our children to be.  He learns to wait well by watching us wait.  He learns these stories, and the lessons that go along with them, along with me.  I suspect Jesus told these parables with all of us in mind, both young and old.  So wait with us.  Practice saying, Look!  Even if you don't have a two-year old to share the moment with.  Watch for the ways in which God is working.  There's life that you cannot see.   Even when it seems that all is going wrong.  Hear the story within the story, see the glimpses of his grace.  And celebrate small.  It might be the biggest thing you've been missing all along.  

After making our bread, we watched the music video Rain for Roots made to go along with their song, Leaven Bread.  Have a look and a listen, if only because it's probable you haven't heard a song about yeast before!  Link to the song here. 

'I wanna tell you another story 
All about a woman making barley bread 
Flour and water out on the table 
“We need a little leaven,” she said 

So, she works , she works, 
she works to mix the leaven into the flour 
She works, she works 
She works to make the barley bread 

Mama, mama, how much longer? 
How much longer for the dough to rise 
Oh my children, don’t you worry 
We just gotta wait till the time is right 

So they wait, they wait 
They wait while the dough is rising rising 
So they wait, they wait 
They wait for the barley bread 

This is a story of the Kingdom of Heaven 
This is what the storyteller Jesus said 
The kingdom of Heaven is just like the leaven 
That worked to raise up that barley bread 

So we wait, we wait, we wait while the Kingdom's coming coming 
We wait, we wait, we wait while the Kingdom's coming, coming 
We wait, we wait, we wait while the Kingdom's coming, coming 
We wait, we wait, we wait for the Kingdom to come 

We wait for the Kingdom to come'

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© Reuben + ErinMaira Gall