Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

Live the Small Moments

We’ve danced a lot, in the living room, over the years.

The story-rich music of Sarah Groves or Andrew Peterson drifts through our home on most days. There’s almost always a partner for a few spontaneous steps, but most of my dancing has occurred with partners whose feet don’t quite reach the floor.

Today Zay is on the sofa, reading a comic book, when I walk through the room with a neat stack of towels in arms. I see him there, blond bangs falling forward, moving his lips for soundless words, a smile sneaking from the corners of his mouth. And I know I have to grab this moment. I have to reach for it. Drink from the deep well of blessing that exists in the fleeting here-and-now.

“Dance with me, Zay?” I ask.

He looks up. Sets Superman down. I set the towels down, too, and a moment later his fingers are laced through mine.

We sway for a few moments, this little partner and me. And then it seems important that I should lift him up, dance the way we used to, when I held him to my chest as a babe. Zay is a willing partner and soon his arms wrap around my neck. His legs move around my waist though I know if he let them dangle they’d fall past my knees.

And we dance.

We move slowly but the moment is still. There’s a quiet beauty to this sweet pulse of time. I want to remember how he feels. How it is to hold him this close before he grows too big. My son notices the change, the tide of time, too, as we turn past the fireplace and he catches our reflection in the mirror. The top of his head is even with mine when I hold him this way.

“I’m tall,” he says. “In the mirror.”

“You are,” I say.

He pulls back and I can see the joy in his eyes. This growing is a dear thing. I want this child to grow into a strong man of God. Lonny and I want to fill him with good things. It’s our prayer that he would love the Lord with all his heart and mind and soul and strength. That he’d love people, too. I hope that one day he will be a strong spiritual leader in his home and church and community.

But for today, he’s still a boy-in-arms. And for a few more dances, I can lead.

The song ends and I suspect Zay is eager to return to his book. I set him down and pick up the towels. But as I climb our old, creaky stairs, I’m in awe of how sometimes the most sweet, sustaining moments can be tucked in an ordinary day.

Thank you, Lord, for today. Let me live the small moments well. 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.