Never hold on to anything tighter than you're holding on to God.
- submitted by Jeffrey DeMenna
They feast on the abundance of your house, you give them drink from your rivers of delight. (Psalm 38:8, NIV)
Lonny, the younger boys, and I are on the front porch. It’s late afternoon and the sun stretches over the Mississippi in a golden glow.
There are things on my mind. A parental issue wedged in the tender place of my heart.
“What are you thinking about?” Lonny asks. His arm is around my shoulder and the porch swing creaks a gentle serenade.
“The thing,” I say.
Lonny nods. He’s knows. He carries the weight of it, too. He’s about begin to talk in low tones, to skim the perimeter of the issue and peel the layers that lead to the deep parts of me, when Gabriel leaves his own wicker chair and plunks on his dad’s lap.
“How about some watermelon?” Gabe asks.
“Watermelon?” Lonny replies.
Gabe nods. His too-long bangs fall forward, and when he smiles his dimples show. Lonny is a softie for a summer-brown boy needing a haircut, too. A moment later he’s up, and when he returns, he has thick slices of melon on my favorite flea market tray.
The boys are on it in a second. All three dive after the cool wedges of fruit.
And I sit quiet for a moment.
Taking this simple blessing in.
Samuel is perched on the rocker. His nearly-teen arms and legs are lean swimmer-strong. He talks and shares and laughs in Samuel-style, holding the other boys captive with his fun, lively way. Isaiah’s on the chair beside him. His feet are bare and his hair has been touched by the sun.
Gabe stands near my swing. He smiles as he bites into his wedge of melon. Juice runs down the length of his arms in pink streams. This doesn’t bother him at all. It’s summer. Sticky and wonderful and sweet.
And Lonny is next to me again. He sits near, and I settle in. The way we’ve been for twenty years. Close and connected. Shoulder to shoulder. Knee to knee. Hands together. Fingers laced loose.
And there is blessing, tangible and evident and radiant and real, right in this moment. There’s a richness here. An abundant goodness. A more-than-enough grace flowing over this family, flowing into our home.
The tough spot, the one yet to be traversed, doesn’t hold the weight it did moments ago. It doesn’t direct my thoughts or emotion. It’s lost some power, because I know, the love and kindness, the grace, goodness, and provision we’re experiencing in this moment, will be applied there, too.
There’s an abundance–the feast of my Lord’s house.
And a sweet, simple joy flowing from a river of delight.
Thank you, Lord. I praise you for your goodness. For the kindness that never ends. Amen.
Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.
Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications. She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward. But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.