Awake the Dawn: Practicing worship

August 10, 2016

What I am

August 10, 2016

Small Steps of Ordinary Obedience

August 10, 2016

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.

Psalm 128:1

“Mommy! Where’s Mommy?”

I looked up from my laptop and sighed. My to-do list was longer than I was tall, and every time I closed my eyes it grew even longer. I hoped to get some work done, to start crossing things off, but the sound of the little voice in the hallway convinced me that my plans would have to wait. I tried to still my breathing and not let stress catapult my heartbeat into oblivion but it was hard. I needed time. I needed to get work done.

A little head covered in a mop of blond curls peeked around the corner. His face lit when he saw me.

“Hi, Mom.” He came over, leaned against my leg, and looked up with his clear blue eyes, so like his dad’s. “I was just thinking about what we could do together!”

He was sweetness personified. He’s not always like that, mind you, this one has given me a run for my money. But sometimes, times like this when he seeks me out and just wants to be with me, he can make my heart soar. I have to confess, though, my heart was not soaring that day. There were just too many things on my mind, too many important things to tackle.

And then he smiled. Books. Legos. Minecraft. He wasn’t picky, he just wanted me.

I had a decision to make. I could tell him to give me a few minutes while I got some stuff done and hope he would get preoccupied with something else, or I could stop and join him. As I sat there, I remembered something I had heard recently, “sometimes your ministry is the person right in front of you.” It’s the idea that it’s so easy to get caught up in trying to do ministry, that we forget the people we’re supposed to be ministering to. It’s a reminder to slow down, look around, and choose obedience rather than business.

I had blog posts to write, emails to send, chapters to work on. I had so many ministry things to do but there, at my side, was the person I was supposed to be ministering to. None of the other stuff was bad, it did need to get done. But for me, in that moment, my ministry was being a good mom to my son. Sure, there will be plenty of times he will have to wait. That’s just the way life is. But that day, nothing I needed to do was more important that being with him.

So I smiled down at him, closed my laptop, breathed a silent prayer, and let him lead me away from the table. I prayed for strength to be the mom God called me to be. I asked for the time later in the day to do the things I believed God wanted me to do. And I asked for help in obeying God in moments like these.

Because here’s the deal… This is not a post about putting your kids first or being a better mom. This isn’t about sacrifice and priorities. This is not a parenting thing, it’s an obedience thing. The Lord has been teaching me over and over again to listen to his voice and to take small steps of obedience.

He’s been showing me that I don’t need to know the whole plan, I don’t need to have a guarantee about what the results will be, and I don’t need to know for sure if what I’m doing will have any lasting significance or personal gain. I just need to obey. I don’t need to control, I need to trust. I need to listen, hold my plans loosely, and be ready to do do the next right thing. And in the midst of this, he is showing me that small steps of obedience lead to mountains of blessings.

Sometimes that means setting aside work-type stuff and focusing on people. Sometimes that means setting my alarm a little earlier to meet with him and get to work. Sometimes it means being ready to have that conversation, join that person, rest in Him. It’s different things because he’s leading me in different ways. But that’s ok, I’ll choose to follow even when I don’t understand. I’ll try at least.

It’s not always easy to obey. There have been many, many times when I have had a conversation with God that goes something like, “Ok. I’m here. I don’t know how you expect this to help/work/matter but I’m here and I’ll obey. You’re responsible for everything else.” And you know what, he is and he’s really good at it. So I’ll keep moving forward with those little, tiny steps of ordinary obedience.

The amazing thing to me is that there have been blessings. Many, many blessings. Those little steps of obedience have led me to a deeper walk with him, better relationships with my family, and open doors I never dreamed of. God is moving in our lives and he’s calling us to join him, not necessarily through huge plans, but in the small steps. We might not understand where he’s leading, we might only see the small path in front of us, but if he is leading, then there is no better place to be.

Wherever you are, whatever God is doing in your life, I pray you will find ways to take small steps of obedience and be able to look back and see the mountain of blessings he’s leading you up.


  1. You’re so right (and you explained it beautifully). When we’re walking in obedience to God, one small step at a time, there’s no better place to be. We just need to trust that God knows what he’s doing. Thank you for sharing this at Grace and Truth last week. I would love to feature this post tomorrow.

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