Written by Cara Shonamon
From her column Musings of a Ministering Mother
So much has happened in the world between the first article I wrote and this one. In fact, even more time will transpire between the time of me typing these words and you reading them.
I began thinking about what to write and jotting down ideas back in January and February. I was on maternity leave with our newborn son, Halston, and it was a glorious time. My days were, believe it or not, far more relaxing than today when I am typing these words. Yes, I was tired from life with a newborn, a 4-year-old and 3-year-old, but the days were much simpler. There was routine and a normalcy to the world.
Fast forward to right now, and we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. All of the ideas I jotted down earlier seem so distant. Maternity leave seems so distant. The world seems to have changed overnight. As I wracked my brain for something else to write, I was convicted and began to think, “Why do I need to come up with something totally new? Why not share what God laid on my heart a few months ago? Surely it can be relevant for us today.”
So, I went back to my notes and read the title, “Miracles in the Mundane.” I listened to a book on prayer during maternity leave, and it gave me the idea for this title. The author poses the theological conundrum of praying for a parking spot. He said that many people have hotly debated if we should pray only for the big things, or if we should pray for everything. He draws the conclusion that we should take everything to God in prayer; that every routine part of our lives is important to God. This does not necessarily mean that every time we pray for a parking spot one will open up. But praying for less consequential matters helps shape us into people of prayer. He adds that when we pray about everything we begin to be grateful for and thank God for everything. In a way, we become observant of the miracles that occur regularly all around us, because our attention is drawn to the things we talk to God about.
A great quote from the book is: “If you only pray about big, important, weighty matters, you will only occasionally be grateful. But if you learn to pray about things like nice-looking trees or your daily bread when the supermarket is full of the stuff, then you will live in a state of continual gratitude for miracles so common that most people take them for granted.”1
This concept began to work in me, so while I was on maternity leave I began to look for the miraculous around me—the “Miracles in the Mundane” if you will—like when my girls sit on either side of me on the couch, and we watch a movie on “Friday Family Movie Night” (complete with popcorn); or when we read books, make puzzles, and play games on “Sunday Family Game Night.”
My precious children are teaching me much about love, about miracles in the everyday circumstances of living. You see, my kids just want to be with me—for now. I’m sure that will change in years to come, but for now it’s awesome. They want to snuggle close. They want my attention. They want to tell me all about everything they are thinking. Sometimes this leads me to exhaustion, but what they are doing is an example and reminder for me to stay connected with God.
Fast forward to today when I am typing this article. I don’t know what the world will look like in a few weeks when you are reading this, but it is amazing to me that the seed God planted in my heart in January/February has become such an encouragement to me in these difficult days of “stay-at-home” and “social distancing.” Despite the difficulties we have been facing, I continue to look for little miracles and am finding them in things like:
- Intergenerational living;
- The ability to live stream worship until we can gather in person again;
- The flowers on the trees;
- A neighbor finding our dog when she got too adventurous and ran away; and
- The blessing of technology that makes it possible for me to see my sister and talk to her where she lives in England.
There are so many miracles that happen all around us.
Yes, the world can be a dark place, but I have seen more love in the world lately. The people of God perform miracles in the mundane in ways as simple as delivering groceries to someone in need, sharing toilet paper with a neighbor who is running low, or writing encouraging words in chalk on a member’s driveway, because they are in quarantine.
I’m not sure how our future will be shaped by COVID-19, but I do know this: God will continue to move, and we will continue to see “Miracles in the Mundane” if we will only look for them. Thanks be to God!
Cara Shonamon is co-lead pastor of Shawnee, Kansas, Church of the Nazarene.
1Greig, Pete. Dirty Glory: Go Where Your Best Prayers Take You (Red Moon Chronicles, Book 2) p. 61. Navigators (Kindle edition).