How far, and how wide is your reach? REACH has long been a word I’ve used in my prayers. I pray for world peace, and that the love God fills me with will REACH the masses. I believe with my whole heart that peace can and WILL happen in this world.
When we host parties I love to REACH out as far as I can and invite everyone we love, in hopes that they will get connected with more people, and broaden their reach.
When we’re reaching out with a gentle hand, we’re showing love and cultivating relationships that can become like lifelines to someone in need.
It feels good to reach, knowing that each life you touch is another life that can touch another life.
Process that last sentence for a minute, would you?
That is what reach is all about; Blessing others, so they may also learn to be a blessing. It is not about us, ever.
I learned something valuable this year. I learned that I’ve been doing it all wrong.
I’ve practiced stretching my reach too far.
When we reach too far, we miss everything that is right close in front of us.
Analogy: Imagine sitting at the dinner table & reaching over the butter dish to get the salt and pepper. I mean, what kind of person reaches out but passes up the butter? Salt and pepper are good and all, but don’t pass by the butter!
For me, sometimes that means I’m buying toys and clothing to donate to kids in need, praying fervently for the orphans of the world. Going to meeting after meeting of something that I see dying, just in hopes that it may be revived again.
Tireless efforts abound.
I saw a homeless woman outside of the Science Museum in Minnesota. She was clearly pregnant, and holding a sign to confirm it. I was wishing so desperately that I could take her in and offer her a portion of our home.
I think of her often, wishing I could’ve done more, and that was over a year ago! Ugh, the guilt. All I offered was a bag of cucumbers from our garden (our snack for the day) and some bottled water. I know I could’ve done more.
The problem is when I’m stretching too far sometimes I forget my own children are in need too.
The mom guilt begins to set in real strong.
I mean I no doubt take care of their daily needs. They have closets full of clothes, and a pantry overflowing. They own all the devices and games they could ever want. We go on walks as a family, read books together, garden together, eat dinner together every night, but still, they want more.
I’d even go out on a limb and say they need more than all that.
They need us to REACH them on their level.
For my son, his greatest desire is to play catch with dad in the backyard.
We’d hear his request and respond with something like: “You can play in the backyard while dad is in the garden”.
It wasn’t the same, and we could tell that, but we were busy.
The kid wasn’t asking for much, but we weren’t genuinely listening to him and making his request a priority.
Now when Mr. Awesome comes home from work he takes the boy out and plays catch; Sometimes only for 10 minutes, but it ends up being the best 10 minutes of their day. It’s a time when our son talks openly between tosses. It’s a time to be goofy, and just be real. It’s a time to strengthen a bond. It’s free, and easy.
For our oldest she needs time to create, often in the kitchen. I spent years having her help me when she was a toddler; Stirring, cracking eggs, setting timers. Now she wants to do this on her own, although there’s a catch… She wants me to be the one observing, watching, and learning. The tables have turned.
While I often try to take the time when she’s cooking/baking to go get other things done, I’ve realized what she really needs is for me to just sit there with a cup (or pot) of coffee and listen to her.
I can’t stop smiling as I watch her and know that I’ve taught her basically all she knows in the kitchen. Hmm, I hope that’s a good thing!
It’s worth the time it takes out of my day to just watch her.
Our youngest daughter is still toddler for just a little longer. She’s not your typical toddler though, she’s the baby of the bunch. As the baby myself, I know where she’s coming from. She has her own specific needs and she will be sure that by days end every.single.one of them has been met.
She wants nothing more than to get your full undivided attention, and just TALK. Talk, talk, talk. She often reprimands us by saying “look at my eyes when I’m talking”. She doesn’t let us get distracted or change the subject easily. She wants to give hundreds of hugs, and talk about Jesus on a deep level that I don’t even know if I’ve hit yet. She’s unique. She’s Brave. She’s passionate.
I have learned that I can set her at the counter while I cook and listen to her. She asks hundreds of questions, and I give her adult answers (within reason), because I’ve learned she can handle them.
The moral here is while I think reaching far is something we need to continue to do, we also need to practice reaching near. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, but we DO need to work both muscle groups!