Love the Ones You're With
“Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11 (NIV)

One night my family was all snuggled on the couch eating popcorn and watching a movie. We were spending quality time together but then I got distracted. I was still there physically but I started returning phone calls and emails mentally. I glanced at the clock to see how many hours before the kids went to bed and noticed the silhouette of my son Joshua’s face. He looked so grown up. He was ten years old then, but it felt like he should still be a toddler.

I knew it wouldn’t be long before he’d be counting down the hours until I go to bed, so he could instant message his friends. Suddenly, I recognized the gift of being with the ones I love while they’re still with me. Now he's almost 15 and, oh my it's gone by so fast!

I hate to admit it, but there are many times when I’m with my family yet I'm not really there... because my mind is somewhere else getting something done.

Jesus knew His stay here on earth was limited. I love how intentional He was about loving people with his time and attention. I never get the sense that He saw people's requests as interruptions but instead, He welcomed them as invitations.

Unlike Jesus, I am a type A, get-it-done, kind of girl. Just “being” can be hard for me.

Over the years, I've learned to take my struggle to God and ask for balance. He wired me this way, so He’s the only One who can make me more like Him. When I spend time with Jesus, He challenges me to slow down and helps me cherish the gift of my husband and children. He knows how important they are to me, but He also knows how I can get tangled up in my to-do list. He’s helped me see my family as my greatest treasure and my time with them as my most important investment.

Although the years have mellowed me and I'm so much better than I used to be, it still doesn’t always come naturally. So when I am with my family and I get distracted, I do a few things to help me stay focused.
  • First, I look into one of my kids' faces and remember what they used to look like. That helps me grasp how quickly time passes.
  • Second, I think back to what life was like without them. That jolts my memory; making me thankful God gave them to me.
  • Third, I imagine the day they won’t be with me - the day they may live in another state with their own family. Then I remind myself that “to do lists” will always be here, but the ones I love won’t.
Let’s make a pact today to slow down and really be with the ones we love and love the ones we’re with, while they are still with us!

Jesus, thank You so much for the people You have given me to love. Help me slow down and savor every moment as I see them through Your eyes and love them the way you love me! Remind me daily that only two things will last for eternity - my relationship with You and my relationship with others. In Your powerful Name I pray, Amen.

Is it hard for you to be fully present with the ones you love…no agendas, no errands, no planning…just being? I'd love to hear your thoughts? I'll be drawing a name from today's comments and GIVING AWAY a copy of "Living the Love Dare" ~ a year of daily reminders in a table-top format.

This post is part of my friend Rachel's carnival of LOVE devotions. Tomorrow P31 is hosting a Carnival of Give-aways where over 15 of us are giving away something on our blogs, so be sure to come back tomorrow to find out how you can win!


Blogger KELLY said...

Thank you for the reminder Renee! I am guilty of the same...being there enjoying famiy time, butnot really being there. I have a hard time allowing myself family time. Seems like my mind is thinking of a million other things I should be doing. Again, thank you for a beautiful devotion.

Blogger PamO said...

You and I are alike in our "git r dun" personality. If hubby is playing with the kids, I often see that as a time to get some laundry done or unload the dishwasher. I have such a hard time "doing nothing" (i.e. being with my family). Am I just like Martha or what? (the one from God's word, definitely NOT Martha Stewart!)
Do I need to get better at time management? Do I need to be better at getting through my checklist so I will feel comfortable to sit down and play with my family? I know that I need to pray about it and ask God to help me to be more of a Mary than a Martha.
Thanks for stepping on my toes!!

Blogger Amy said...

I've heard you mention this before, and it stuck in my memory. I try very hard to be 'fully present' now with whatever we're doing together - though it's still very hard - because I am very Type A, as well. Thanks for this wonderful reminder!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

a beautiful posting renee...a wonderful way to begin the day.


Blogger Rachel Olsen said...

Loving you today!

~ Rachel

Blogger Rachel Olsen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee, I have been feeling exactly this same way about being "present" with my loved ones. It's so easy to get distracted, isn't it? But time is so fleeting . . . Thank you so much for your gentle reminder and helpful insights into how to approach this issue we all face from time to time.


Blogger Jekka said...

Thank you for this post. Yesterday, I was invited to lunch with my deacon and his family. This was the first time that I had been invited to their home and I'm sad to say it might be the last. My cell phone kept going off and when I would try to ignore it, then a text would come in. I was so preoccupied with an outside situation my heart was not truly devoted to spending time with these wonderful people.

Anonymous Mary Lynn said...

This is something I struggle with so much. My kids are 4 and 6 and I already feel as though I have missed out on so many opportunities to just be with them and enjoy them because I have huge responsibilities in ministry at our church. When I am not actively doing something, I am mentally thinking about it- I am not fully present and intentional in my time with them.

Blogger Joyful said...

Needed this reminder today my friend. Thank you.


Blogger Jennifer said...

I totally get this post! That probably isn't good but hopefully that awareness will help me to work harder at "being there" fully with my family.

Anonymous amy said...

Thank you for the powerful reminder! I was sitting with my son watching a movie while reading your blog. He is the baby of the family and I realized my time left with my kids is so short. I seem to always being doing two things at once so Thank you for this devotion today. I am signing off my laptop to give my son my full attention. Thank You and may God contiue to bless you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My oldest is twelve, my youngest is 2, and the weekends are the time when I really get to "be" with them. Weeknights are so crazy with supper and homework and other commitments, that when the weekend comes, my husband and I pay only attention to our kids. We don't rush them out of their pj's, or make them play faster - we sit with them, play with them, and read however many bedtime books they want. Our 2 year old is our last child (by choice), and these days it's pulling on my heart as I remember when he was a baby, when his sisters were babies, and it makes me want more, but then I realize I'd have less time with each of them, so I stop my mind from wandering and play with cars and trucks and Barbie and dolls. And I make sure I take a lot of pictures so that I'll never forget. Thanks for your post today Renee.


Blogger Jill said...

What a great reminder Renee - there is always something to do and it can be tempting to choose the chore rather than the child. I know I am guilty, but pray God keeps reminding me to treasure the time!! Thanks, Jill

Blogger Kim said...

Thanks for the reminder. Life can get so distracting, I apprecite the reminder to keep the family first.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great reminder. I find myself trying to get so much done and not valuing the time with my family. I needed this.

Blogger Cindy in PA said...

It's funny that you wrote about this topic. I had written about it on my blog on January 27. A quote from Karen Ehman's book made me commit to "wherever I am, be all there." It is difficult yet important for me to focus on. Thank you for the reminder!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I needed this little reminder. I too am a type-a personality :) sometimes thats good and sometimes not so much just as your post pointed out. Thank you again!

Blogger Molly said...

My kids are grown with kids of their own and I am still trying to tame my Type A personality. It seems like I woke up one day, looked in the mirror and saw my mother. Then I realized it was me and those adult sons? Yep, they were mine and I had grown into the role of 'matriarch' of the family. I am trying to tame the beast of distraction when my grandchildren are with me. I don't want to miss a precious moment of time with those I love, whether it is my husband, my adult sons & their wives, or my grandchildren. After my relationship with God, they are the most important. Everything else will be forgotten when I am gone.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your devotion today and the encouraging words. My email is

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was so awesome. I have trouble sometimes as well just enjoying those special moments with my husband and my children. I find myself asking God to quiet my mind with all the things to do thoughts so that I can be with my family. It seems like just yesterday my now 12 year old daughter was a toddler. I often ask myself where did my time go to prepare her for life. Thank you for this blog, it was encouraging.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to Proverbs 31 and have enjoyed all the devotions that are here and on sister websites. What a blessing! I am trying to become more organized in 2010 but more importantly prioritize my life and put God and daily devotions at the top (hence the finding of these websites)....thanks for all the information and prayers you offer.
Gina ~

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Either would be a great blessing.

Time does go by fast...our oldest will be 6 this weekend.
I can so relate to being with family and not being there....
Thanks for always sharing your heart!!

Blogger Sonshiny said...

Hope you had fun in the snow! So enjoyed the conference in Fl. and have been enjoying your journey to adoption in your blog. I look forward to "keeping up" with all the Lord is doing in and through you. You and Leah are such a blessing! "Fully present"... yes, a treasured "complete gift." Amen!
~Dawn Perry

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