I’m thrilled to have my friend Sara Hagerty blog for me today. I loved her new book and you will too! Sara brings beauty to the written word and she’s real, authentic, and vulnerable. You’ll recognize yourself in many of her thoughts and you’ll will love her.
Still in the fog of morning sluggishness and with a thinly veiled air of motherly annoyance, I dropped my four older children at soccer practice with water bottles and balls and snacks in baggies. I thought perhaps I could use a few laps around a field to clear my head. So I put two-year-old Bo in the stroller with no plan for where to walk, just knowing I needed to pound it out on the pavement. The chaotic early morning rush to get everyone ready and out the door had shredded my nerves. I struggled to like my kids in that single moment, and I surely didn’t like myself. I was remembering why we didn’t do these early morning activities very often.
On days like this, I have to whittle life down to one passage, which is part of training my eyes to see wonder: “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness” (Ps. 145:5–6 ESV).
I pushed and pounded harder than necessary to move the stroller, but with as much exertion as I needed to work out the morning’s frustrations. I recited these verses in my head a dozen times while replaying the last forty-five minutes of trying to hustle everyone out the front door. The flustered child whose water bottle didn’t have as much ice as she wanted. The missing shin guard. The squealing baby and the car seat stained from last week’s takeout that I’d forgotten to clean.
Then this one phrase interrupted my venting: “I will declare your greatness.”
The morning wasn’t great. They were grumpy. I was terse. They were late. I was unforgiving. They joined a field of players who had lily-white skin and families that from the outside certainly looked more intact than ours. This morning held so much more than soccer, and very little of it was great by my standards. But I would find Him, here.
Is this a time to reach back and remember? I wondered. To declare the greatness of the God who hurdled mountains of paperwork impossibilities to bring our children home? The God who brought them today onto a soccer field with breakfast in their bellies and a mommy who would ask their forgiveness when practice was over? The God who made this toddler in the stroller in front of me, after my womb was empty for twelve years?
A small flash of color on the path caught my eye, and I swerved the wheels of the stroller to miss a brilliant blue eggshell.
“Look, Bo!” I said pointing, still halfway lost in my thoughts. “A birdie was in that egg!”
“Egg. Egg. Eggie!” Bo’s voice grew louder with each repetition. I set my feet back on the path and my mind back on the Psalms: “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate . . . I will declare your greatness.”
With each phrase of the passage, the erratic pounding of my heart was recalibrating, finding its steady rhythm again. I was telling my soul what was true as if it were undergoing CPR. The morning still felt messy. I was relieved our long-term houseguest hadn’t witnessed my behavior, and I didn’t really want to tell Nate about it later. But I did want to repent to my children. I had spent long years without ever asking for forgiveness from Nate in our early married days, so my desire to repent was significant. God was doing a work in me.
As we continued on the path, Bo intermittently interrupted my thoughts with “Oh!” pointing in childlike wonder to a tree and then a car and back at the eggshell as we passed it on our return trek. And now I couldn’t seem to get my mind off it. This shell struck me as so much more than a discarded home for a baby bird. This small piece of God’s created order evoked a question I’d been asking with my life but hadn’t put into words until this morning: What is greatness to You, God? What are Your wondrous works?
I’d seen God’s greatness in the miracle ruling in the Ugandan court system that granted two children a home in our family. My marriage is a wonder—we made it through the rise and fall of a business and the rise and fall of our stubborn hearts. My children, though I might have thought them ruffians that morning, were having parts of their broken hearts restored. All of these were glorious wonders.
But the eggshell. And the soccer practice down the street. Wonders?
God was inviting me to reconsider the ever-unfolding opportunities for wonder around me. There were opportunities for awe at God in even the most unlikely moments, and my eyes needed to be trained to see them as much as my heart needed to be trained to engage them. God was available, infused into my every minute, but my flesh was bent toward independence. I hadn’t been trained to see Him in the eggshell. Or at soccer practice.
I could see the wonder of God in the knowing look Nate gave me across the kitchen island the night before when he heard me encouraging a child he knew would be easier for me to critique. I was in awe of God as my daughter, who has a painful history, slid her hand into mine at church while we sang, “I see heaven invading this place.” I was invited to wonder later that day when I shut the door to my bedroom to ask Him for help with a different (presently difficult) child. He was wondrous when I didn’t have time to text friends for prayer but paused to talk to Him in the midst of chaos and felt that permeating peace that could be attributed only to God. And wonder was in my children who were merely players on a field to most spectators of the game, but who were beginning to understand that they are a son and daughters when no one but God, Nate, and I are looking.
Yes, the eggshell and the soccer practice are wonders. These things are beautiful because they point to a Creator God who both sees and orchestrates the glorious details of life. Who reaches into my minutes. These things have the power to cause me to look at Him, if I step back and let them. They have the power to move my heart, if I let it engage. Dozens of minutes every day are shot through with this wonder, pregnant with potential to draw our eyes up to God. Our flitting eyes, with just as many opportunities to behold things that won’t nourish our souls, need to be trained to see them. They need to be trained to see the face of Jesus.
The house fills with the fragrance of oil. The whole earth fills with His glory. My soul fills with awareness of His wonder. Today.
And before long, I’m unwinding, sitting before Him in the small moments of the day, sliding my watch off my wrist and looking up to Him alone.
Sara Hagerty is the author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet and Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed, a wife to Nate, and a mother of six, including four children adopted from Africa, one toddler who’s found his voice amid them all, and a wee-babe. After almost a decade of Christian life, she was introduced to pain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus. God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her. His Word and His whisper took on new shape and form to her in the dark. Sara writes regularly about life delays, finding God in the unlikely, motherhood, marriage, and adoption at SaraHagerty.net.