When I first laid eyes on my newborn son, I didn’t know that motherhood would impair my vision. On that day when I drank deep the sight of him, all wet and wiggly and wonderful, I had no idea that I’d be prone to blindness. When I lost myself in his baby blues, my labor-weary body ravished by awe, I couldn’t have imagined that someday I’d have to fight to see him clearly. I just didn’t realize how quickly miracles can grow muddy.
And on that day when the world stopped spinning so I could steady my ravished heart and count his tiny fingers and toes, I had no idea that someday when those feet barreled down the hallway before sunrise, I’d forget to count them as proof of wild grace. I didn’t know that the greatest challenge of motherhood wouldn’t be figuring out how to grow a boy into a man; but learning how to keep his mama’s eyes from growing dim. I didn’t know how difficult it would be to live near-sighted; didn’t realize how easy it would be to miss the treasure right beneath my feet.
“Satan is an agent of familiarity…” Max Lucado writes in “God Came Near”. “His goal is nothing less than to take what is most precious to us and make it appear common.” There’s no affliction that steals our vision more quickly than the curse of the common life. And no disease that hardens our hearts like the dimming of our eyes.
When all I can see in the priceless moments of my day is the spelling words that need to be mastered and the laundry piled high and the dirty dishes cluttering the counter, then I am at risk of becoming blind. When the woman staring back at me in the mirror is obsessed with the black circles beneath her eyes and the bonus roll of stomach skin left from the stretch and pull of five pregnancies, then my vision is growing blurred. And if I can no longer spy the gleam in my daughter’s eyes as she tells me the story she’s dreaming up, no longer notice the tenderness that seeps from my little ones as they take each other’s hands and walk in sync across the yard, then I am surrendering to the enemy’s battle plan.
When I cease to marvel at the way my boy is transforming daily into a man; fail to notice how those hands that used to tug me into the backyard for another game of soccer now lift and twirl little sister in the air like she’s a wisp of dandelion dust, then I am losing my eyes of faith. If I view the familiar through my own impaired vision, I fall prey to the lie that my life is ordinary. And Satan celebrates my disillusion.
So, what’s a mom to do? How do we see the glory in all the grit of the daily grind?
Bestselling author Ann Voskamp and mom of six suggests, “The remedy is in the retina.”
She proposes that we keep a list of the simple gifts that are scattered across our days–the sound of our children’s laughter ringing through the house, the sparkle of the sunbeam on the kitchen table, the smell of those cookies baking in the oven. These are the pearls of pedestrian life, the gifts that we so quickly overlook in the midst of wiping bottoms and noses and floors. When we begin to name the small graces of our day, our eyes are opened to the big gift of life. In the 1000 Gifts Devotional book, Ann writes, “Maybe I don’t know they are gifts, really, until I write them down and see what they look like.” Clarity comes with the counting.
Gratitude is the inoculation for blindness.
In his powerful book, “The Rest of God”, author and pastor Mark Buchanan explains the secret behind this simple prescription for sight. “To give thanks, to render it as Scripture tells us we ought- in all circumstances, for all things, to the glory of God- such thanksgiving becomes a declaration of God’s sovereign goodness. Even more, it trains us in a growing awareness of that sovereign goodness. You cannot practice thankfulness on a biblical scale without its altering the way you see.”
I’m tired of living blind.There is nothing common about ordinary life except for our all-too common failure to see it as precious. Today, I will celebrate the familiar. Today, I will count to to see. I will peer through the lens of praise and notice how my ordinary laundry-folding, grocery-getting, carpooling life shimmers with an extraordinary sheen of grace.
Care to join me?