Reclaiming Wonder

A few weeks ago I walked across the room to say hi to my friend, but decided not to interrupt the moment she was fully present in. She was gazing at her newborn daughter, with eyes full of wonder.

I don’t blame her. Not just because babies are cute and cuddly and wonderful at reminding us how amazing life is. Not just because it’s her first child, and who isn’t completely smitten when such a gift arrives? All of that is true, but my dear friend has even more of a reason to gaze in wonder at her child. For 10 years she prayed and waited, and had nearly lost her hope for that little dream. But now she is here, miraculously. And my friend is determined not to miss a moment of her perfect little life. She didn’t tell me this, but her gaze made it very clear.

I’ve revisited that moment many times in recent days, and I’ve grown sad in my heart over the reality that seems to have become ours, as wives, mothers, and worshippers of Jesus. Because all too often, the demands of life and even of love overwhelm us and begin to outweigh the sense of delight we had at the beginning of our relationships with our husbands, children, and God.

Before many of us have realized it, we’ve given up our gazing moments to the long list of responsibilities that must get done. And the world we are supposed to be sharing together becomes cold and harsh instead of warm, inviting, and encouraging. 

Last week I wrote about how my son gave me numerous opportunities to see him in action, to validate that he was worth stopping everything for. And the truth my schedule can’t seem to tolerate is that he needs me to gaze at him in wonder that way not just once in a while. Not just once a week. Not even just once a day. But every chance I get.

I know, it’s unrealistic. And the thought of giving that much attention to not just one other person, but all of the other perons in my life inspires the kind of laughter in me that people commit you to institutions for! It is physically impossible.

But I have two things to say to that:

1) With God, the impossible becomes possible. If I believe (and I do) that He has entrusted these people I call family to me, then I have to believe He did so with the intention that I would love them madly and not just “take care” of them. They are gifts worth gazing in wonder at, not just burdens to be carried around begrudgingly while I wish for a more rewarding job.

2 – If I’m honest, there is much more gazing I could do. I might not be able to spend every waking moment gazing in wonder at the ones I have been given to love, but I do give some of those moments away to much less worthy pursuits. And rather than “escape” the demands of love and life with “a break” on social media or with a book, I could connect with the living, breathing soul that’s right in front of me.

It’s time to reclaim the wonder that was meant to be a part of all our relationships. It’s time to really love and delight in each other again. People everywhere are starving for connection and a sense of belonging because the ones who are supposed to be gazing in wonder at them are too busy gazing at other things. And the tragic result is a lovesick culture that has lost its ability to engage in real relationship.

Dear woman of breakthrough, start to reclaim the wonder in your own life by gazing at Jesus. And when you’ve done that long enough to receive His gaze upon you, turn to your husband and your children and do the same. If you’re not married or don’t have children, love the family you do have. Because love is the only weapon strong enough to tear down the walls that separate us and keep us enslaved to a life void of wonder.

Make time to take the time, today, to gaze in wonder at someone you love, and watch your heart and theirs come alive again. These are the roots of real revival, because God so fiercely set His gaze upon us that He sent Jesus to redeem us from a loveless life, and bring us into such a fullness of love that we would never be the same.

It’s our destiny to love and be loved this way. Don’t trade that for anything less wonder-full.

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