Friday, October 23, 2015

my whole attention

"You want a child to remember?  Then secure his whole attention, the fixed gaze of his mind, as it were, upon the fact to be remembered; then he will have it: by a sort of photographic (!) process, that fact or idea is 'taken' by his brain and when he is an old man, perhaps, the memory of it will flash across him." Charlotte Mason, Home Education 

While this makes such sense when teaching our children, it is just as applicable to my own thinking.  How many times do older men and women say to us as young mothers - "Treasure these days, because they are gone so fast"?  If you are like me, then innumerable times - maybe every time you step foot outside your house.  But in the fleeting moments, the long long lists of need-to-do, these days sometimes slip away, buried in the stress and worry and flurry of anxious activity.

"It starts to unfold, light in the dark, a door opening up, how all these years it's been utterly pointless to try to wrench out the spikes of discontent.  Because that habit of discontentment can only be driven out by hammering in one iron sharper.  The sleek pin of gratitude." - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.  

That phrase, "the sleek pin of gratitude" has come alive to me, something I know I must live by so as not to get swallowed up by the dark.  I first read those words at least three years ago - maybe four - and still they move me and challenge me and alter my perspective.  And yet still the habit of gratitude slips away the second I turn my attention to other things.  

As I read and contemplate the wisdom contained in Charlotte Mason's books, I am struck by how far I have to go in developing habits of beauty and truth in my own thinking.  Too often I stumble or run headlong into the pit of discontent, of self-deprecation and deep fear of being Not Enough.  The only salvation for me is grace alone - grace alone from the One who turns my thoughts back to triumph now and always, to joy possible in this moment and all the coming moments, to trust and truth.  To fix my whole attention on the work and rest of this moment and know that Christ has made me Enough. 

I want to remember the beautiful joys of mothering three small children, so even though sometimes those sweet comments from people who have passed this way before come when I'm gritting my teeth trying to get a boat of a grocery cart down a crowded aisle with three people hanging on to the sides... I aim to smile and try to really hear what they are saying.  Take a picture of these moments with my whole attention so that they don't slip away unnoticed, these good gifts from my Father. 


  1. I was moved by your words this morning...not because I still have small ones at home. Those years are gone for me. Now I'm one of those people telling you to enjoy these years. No. Your words hit home because I have been weathering a season of discontent because of health issues this summer. I'm not "old" so this frustrates me greatly. These were supposed to be my years of freedom. From children, and responsibilities. I'm only 55. But then I remember all of the great blessings given to me by God. And I have to stop and be so very grateful for each one of them. Thank you for helping me to remember this again today.

  2. Good gifts, indeed! :)

    Hate to say it, but, with my youngest, my AnnaLynn, at 15 already, it does fly by. Savor, soak up, be present, and enjoy every moment. And it seems that's just what you're doing. God is good! And His mercies are new everyday...
    xo Lisa