You know what I mean. I want to be something perhaps more glamorous, more noteworthy, more everything than what I find myself: A 39 year old mom of three, wife, teacher, Jesus follower. Like that right there somehow doesn't encapsulate every marvelous, wonderful, extraordinary nuance about my life?And yet on those days, it just seems somehow uninspiring and lackluster and oh-so-ordinary. I hate to admit it, but there are moments when the endless days of dirty dishes and dirty floors and dirty children just seem to span farther than I can fathom with no clean in sight and I sigh from all this ordinary.
But on these days I am gracefully prodded to recognize that I just might be in a place where my thinking needs to be challenged. Where my paradigm needs to be slightly shifted closer to the cross because what's extraordinary has nothing to do with me. Or what I do. Or who I am. And it has everything to do with Jesus and the cross.
And that's liberating. That makes my heart beat like a hummingbird's wings because there's no pressure to be more, there's no requirement to be better, there's no more worth to be earned. And when I sigh from all this freedom, it's a sigh of something more than ordinary.
The cross is extraordinary.
The work Jesus did on the cross is extraordinary.
The message of the Gospel is extraordinary.
The grace He died to give us is extraordinary.
The unfathomable, unconditional love He holds for us is extraordinary.
This kind of extraordinary has no match, no rival, no comparison.
The message of the Gospel is the main thing and we just have to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. When there's soccer practice and dinner and mountains of laundry and the toilets are becoming a science experiment and it's hard to simply keep our heads above water, we just need to shift our paradigm back to the Cross. And this is perhaps a great grace, that we can, that we have the opportunity to, shift back to the main thing over and over. And over again.
So a frazzled, clumsy mama becomes something more than ordinary because of the cross, because of Jesus. And what's more, God chooses to use us ordinary, broken, frail creations as the vehicle with which to spread His extraordinary message of hope. He chooses the ordinary, the lowly, the humble to reveal the extraordinary. All the time. And extraordinary in the eyes of Jesus bears no resemblance to extraordinary in the eyes of the world.
And in a world that fails to embrace an extraordinary Gospel, it perhaps no surprise that the Gospel flips everything upside down: the last shall be first, the weak shall be made strong, the broken shall be mended, the meek shall inherit, the sorrowful shall be comforted, the homeless baby born in a manger shall be King and then die to save us.
But this is perhaps also a great grace: that we are lowly and humble and broken and ordinary and yet He chooses us. He uses us. He wants us. He. Loves. Us.
Isn't it the little things, like the first bud in spring, the first sweltering day in summer, the first blazing leaf in autumn, the first frost, that usher extraordinary straight in? Isn't it the way the ants swarm in unity or the ladybugs appear in hordes or the clouds build into thunderheads on a hot summer afternoon that reveal extraordinary?
Isn't it the little things that often mean the most? The ordinary, mundane acts that speak the loudest? That create extraordinary moments?
The crooked grin that's missing teeth, the grubby hand that grabs yours, the indecipherable picture that comes home from school that depicts your family and you're even included, the warm little body that curls up next to yours out of the blue. It's then the sum of all the mundane, ordinary acts we do every day for the love of our family, for the love of our Savior, that create an extraordinary life.
And it's an extraordinary life because the Gospel is extraordinary.
When I long for a different view when I get out of bed in the morning or walk downstairs into pandemonium or come home late to homework and half-starving children, I have to remember what is extraordinary in the eyes of the Father is far, far different than what's extraordinary in the eyes of the world. And my audience of One says that cleaning toilets is extraordinary when it's done for the glory of God. Just like feeding the kids or folding the laundry or being a glorified taxi driver for soccer practice four nights a week. It's all extraordinary. Because when The Father sees us, He's seeing us through the extraordinary work Jesus did on the cross.
And when the Gospel, the extraordinary message of Jesus, begins to live within us, to take root and sprout from us, we become living messengers of His grace and His love. And then our every moment is a living testament of His goodness and His grace and how can we possibly go wrong when our every breath is a living reminder of His extraordinary love?
Sometimes, most times, I just need to take a deep breath, and remember that Jesus already did the hardest part, the most extraordinary part. I can stop striving and lunging and exerting myself after an empty pursuit and just follow Him.
Just. Follow. Jesus.
Just. Love. Jesus.
And that's extraordinary.
Because He's extraordinary.
Grace Always Rises,
I'm linked up today with some lovely ladies: Holley Gerth at Coffee for your Heart, and Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory. Drop by and be encouraged.