It had been quite the busy morning. All of us had awakened slightly later than usual and then proceeded to run around the house trying to make up lost time. Between twisting the girls’ hair into ponytails, tying the uniform ties, throwing items into backpacks, and hopping between one school drop off point to the next, my mind went on complete auto-pilot, so much so that I completely missed a stop sign along a road I had traveled dozens of times before. Fortunately, as soon as I saw what I had done, I also noticed that there was no one else around, so by the Grace of God, I did not hit anyone or anything (Thank you, Guardian Angel!). It was a huge moment of relief.
The next morning, our day did not begin any differently, but my attention to driving through the same neighborhood certainly did. Instead of mindlessly turning corners and proceeding through intersections, I made the concerted effort to stop longer than a few seconds at each stop sign, perhaps even lingering slightly longer than needed. As I did so, I found that I saw the neighborhood differently.
For the first time, I really saw the beauty of the quiet streets, the pumpkins that lined porches, and the scattered fall leaves that painted the yards like brush strokes on a canvas.
I thought to myself, “look at all that I have missed these last weeks by rolling through and even avoiding the stop signs.” Then I smiled as I came to the realization that God, too, places stop signs in our lives for this same reason, so that we slow down and see the beauty around us. He stops us so that we may see the small things we tend to take for granted as we corral children to school, make dinners, and clean our homes.
The year 2020, of course, has not made it easy to see the stop signs God places in our lives—the ones that slow us down to relish the beauty of our families, homes, or even the world around us. In these last months as we all have navigated the pandemic, political elections, or even just the ordinary busyness of life, it has become too easy to zoom through these stop signs as we reach out to just make it over to the other side, to the goodness that we hope awaits us if we could just get past this awkward season we are in.
It is in our haste as busy and anxious moms, however, that we often miss the goodness that God has already offered in the here and now of our lives.
As we enter this season of thanksgiving, let’s all make a commitment to pay more attention to God’s stop signs, to relish the moments we have now, to rejoice, pray, and “in everything give thanks” (1 Thes 5:15-18), and not to rush too hastily to the next season—for it is when we slow down at God’s stop signs that we find motherhood and the beautiful lives we have that are quite the wonderful journey of joyous blessings and abundant grace.