A Life So Small

Renee Ann Smith —  August 25, 2014 — 22 Comments

Growing older doesn’t discourage me. But sometimes looking back does.

My birthday was last week. I turned 53. And on that day I asked myself, what have I to show for my half a century on earth?

I’ve seen some of my personal dreams come true, and some die. But other than that, I’m pretty empty-handed.

  • I don’t own anything that’s worth anything.
  • I haven’t seen the wonderful places in the world around me.
  • I can’t claim any impressive accomplishments.

Mostly I’ve lived my life at school, giving my time and energy and heart to other people’s kids.

Twenty of those years were spent sacrificing to help start a Christian high school, spending day after day, talking about the grammar rules no one remembers and trying to drum up enthusiasm for authors long gone and coaxing . . . bribing . . . prodding reluctant students to channel their thoughts into words.

Working in the summers. Doing without. Eking the last bit of life out of everything I own. So I could teach at a ministry school.

Watching cars break down and clothes fray and fall apart and my body grow worn.

And losing some of my best friends and loved family because they moved on to Heaven ahead of me.

Watching the school I loved and gave so much fall victim a shaky economy and oppressive culture and struggle and weaken and eventually die.

Now being the new teacher on the block, starting all over again to build a program and a ministry and a life . . . at my age.

Easily overlooked . . . disdained . . . forgotten . . . 

Even now, when I say the words aloud, they pierce my heart.

I’ve lived small . . . my life is so small.

And immediately, I hear ancient words reassuring me . . .

“He must increase. I must decrease.” ~John 3:30~

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He must increase

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.“ ~I Corinthians 1:27~

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I am chosen.God’s words remind me that I don’t need to be noticed here, when I’m remembered, watched over, and cherished by Heavenly eyes. 

I find myself turning to Psalm 73 to commiserate with the guy who lost all hope—until He let God give him a new perspective.

Here’s Psalm 73 from The Message . . .

“What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?
Nobody’s tending the store.
The wicked get by with everything.
They have it made, piling up riches.

I’ve been stupid to play by the rules.
What has it gotten me?
A long run of bad luck, that’s what—
A slap in the face every time I walk out the door.
Still, when I tried to figure it out,

All I got was a splitting headache . . .

Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
Then I saw the whole picture.

You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!

When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
GOD is rock-firm and faithful.

Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.

But I’m in the very presence of GOD—
Oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord GOD my home.
GOD, I’m telling the world what you do!”

I think that guy’s got the right idea! So I’m telling the world—

What I’ve learned in half a century is that  . . .

Christ’s hand in mine makes letting go of everything else

So very worth it!

Thanks for encouraging me with a visit! Blessings, friends!

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This week I might be linking up with  Motivation Monday, Playdates with God, The Art of Homemaking Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Inspire Me Monday, The MM&M Monday Link Up, Sharing His Beauty, Mommmy Monday Blog Hop,Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Modest Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Unforced Rhythms, Salt & LightBusy Monday, Tell Me a True Story, Turn It Up Tuesday,Titus 2 Tuesdays,What I Learned This Week, Titus 2sday Link-up, Testimony Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Imperfect Prose, Worth Casing Ms Mystery Case, Woman to Woman, A Little R&R, Wake Up Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Three Word Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Whimsical Wednesday, Capture Your Journey Wednesday, Adorned from Above Wednesday Link Party, Words of Life Wednesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Juana Mikels Wednesday Link-up, Mom’s Morning Coffee, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Booknificent Thursday, Tell His Story, Thought Provoking Thursday, From House to Home Link Party, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday,Grace at Home, Little Things Thursday, Hearts for Home Hop, Christian Connection,Christian Fellowship Friday, Faith-filled Friday Faith & Fellowship Friday,Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Essential Friday Link-up, Friday Finds, Coffee Date @Dearest Love, Fridays Unfolded, Everyday Jesus, On Your Heart, Anything Goes, Paula’s No Rules Weekend Hop, Blessings Counters, Missional Weekend Link Up, Saturday Sharefest, Saturday Soiree, Saturday Situation,Heart Reflected, Recommendation Saturday, Still Saturday, Beauty Observed, Weekend No Rules Blog Hop, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Sunday Stillness, What I Learned This Month, and The Sunday Community.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

22 responses to A Life So Small

  1. As always, beautifully said! Thanks for so eloquently sharing your heart and reminding us that our goal in life should always be to decrease so that He can increase.

  2. Renee, beautifully written! May you be encouraged that none of your life has been small. He does big things with our small! May He bless you, give you His favor & do big things as you start this next chapter! So grateful to have read this today!

  3. This is a beautiful reminder of how our purpose is to bring Him glory. To send a little more love your way – your teachings are not forgotten!! 🙂 Because of your example, I moved on to earn my English degree in college. Because of my degree, I have been trained to have an analytical eye and can work through piles and piles of paperwork and contracts quickly and accurately. Because of this training, I am playing a behind-the-scenes, but large part in “training Champions for Christ” and helping thousands of college students earn their degrees – many who are middle aged, wanting a second chance at school after balancing marriage, children, a career, etc. You have been used by God in a bigger role than you or I will ever know. That is one of the awesome traits of our God! Thank you for your willingness to serve!

    • Helene, you were a blessing to have in the classroom & still bless me with your kind words and loving heart. I’m so proud of you! May God increase your influence also, sweet friend!

  4. Oh Renee….I am nearly 20 years older than you and find myself asking your question everyday: Has my life really counted? Let me reassure you that yours has….these devotionals you write are such a blessing to my old heart and you know what I do? I use them at prayer meetings and pass them own for multiplied blessings! Keep on doing what you do….I have been an inspirational speaker since 1976 and only eternity will reveal any significant effect I have had. Nevertheless, “to God be the glory!”….if there be any! You are a blessing…..Jean Bisnett- Rensselaer, NY

    • Jean, you have strengthened me & encouraged me to “keep on keeping on” more than you could ever know! Thank you for taking the time to share this with me. Blessings, sweet friend!

  5. Renee, I understand that feeling of smallness. With my smallness I can struggle to know where I fit in all of it. But God . . . I’m comforted by how He cares about every detail of my life. Nothing is too small or meaningless to Him. To Him, I matter. And that needs to be enough for me. Thank you for sharing your heart, Renee. Always love your images too. Blessings. xoxo

    • Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned with us, Beth! From all you “see-you-later” moments & all your days of resting on the Lord to handle everyday life. I appreciate you!

  6. I’ve always thought it a joy to live small – to release myself from the relentless pursuit of trying to be big and superhuman and just revel in the experience of the little that comes without all the responsibility and organization (read: things that drain me). But you have turned my perception on its side and shown me yours. And I’m sorry that you have felt that small is equivalent to unimportant or overlooked. That is a hard place to be.
    But your scriptures at the end remind me that in the eyes of God there is no such thing as worthless. Oh, how we all need that reminder sometimes. I also return regularly to the words of Mother Theresa, “We can do no great things. Only small things with great love.”
    Thank you for your honest and hopeful addition to Unforced Rhythms. Bless you, friend.

    • I think we’ve probably all felt small & unimportant at one time or another. I’m so glad God shows us how valuable we are to Him. I hope that part of my post encouraged you, too, Kelli! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Blessings!

  7. Oh, sweet friend, there’s no such thing as a small life lived for Him. I can’t wait for you to see the impact your life has had on others (when you get to heaven!). You have earned many jewels in your crown!! I’m turning 53 in a couple of months too and so you have given me much to think about as that birthday approaches. Thanks for linking up to Testimony Tuesday!

  8. If you are teaching at a ministry school, you are richer than many. You are giving your time and talents to His work! Thank you for this beautiful devotional.

  9. Thank you for your encouragement & support, ladies! I’m making my way around to Tweet your posts & encourage in return. Blessings!

  10. I am chosen. What a beautiful phrase!
    One day, we will each know the impact we have made. I can tell you have made a big eternal impact!

  11. Birthday wishes and prayers for a blessed year to follow! Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts and the beautiful perspective you found.

  12. This: “God’s words remind me that I don’t need to be noticed here, when I’m remembered, watched over, and cherished by Heavenly eyes. ”

    And this: “What I’ve learned in half a century is that …Christ’s hand in mine makes letting go of everything else so very worth it!”

    Love this post. So perfect for my life today. 🙂

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