Last week I drove a successful professional colleague to lunch. I grimaced as we approached my decade-old, disfigured, un-vacuumed minivan.
Opening the door, I stole a quick glance in the back seat. My shoulders drooped further. Yep, the muddy soccer ball from a week ago was still there, and it would soon be playing pinball throughout the car as we headed to the restaurant. In addition, an end-of-year care package for my college son was spread out in the back seat ready for assembly. A second box containing a late birthday gift for my son-in-law sat next to it -- also awaiting a long-overdue trip to the Post Offiice. To top it off, sitting on the floor was this morning's cereal bowl holding crusty oatmeal remains from my son's hurried breakfast.
Before I could open my mouth to apologize, I heard my passenger exclaim, "Oh, I feel right at home!" Bless her. A true kindred spirit.
Right then we both realized how our cars represent a microcosm of our entire lives as moms. Think about it. What's in your car right now? Groceries...a gym bag...crayons. A left-over backpack...outgrown baby clothes ready to be dropped off at a crisis pregnancy center...maybe even parking receipts from an unplanned trip to the hospital. Or perhaps the best of all: your children's car seats.
When I look in my back seat I see only busyness. An unfinished to-do list. Clutter. But God sees life; life brimming with the rich relationships with which He's surrounded me. That stained soccer ball represents an impromptu trip to the park. Those cardboard boxes carry messages of "Hurray, I believe in you!" across the miles to young men I love. Even that stale oatmeal bowl reminds me that not only does God provide daily sustenance for the Crane family, He also gives me the privilege of a 20-minute conversation with my favorite teenager before he faces the hallways of school that day.
Once again I'm drawn to that Genesis 16 description of the Lord as "the God who sees me." Yes, God sees me. Not a messy package or a dirty dish...ME. Oh, how I want to look past the clutter and debris and truly see the people around me. In fact, right now I'm reminded of a favorite impromptu family photo snapped just as two of my kids were getting out of....you guessed it...my back seat.
What's in your back seat today? Turn around, take a look, and enjoy.
"How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?" I Thessalonians 3:9