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The Value of Living a Small Life

The value of living a small life…

My Big Fat Beautiful Family!

I once heard Oprah Winfrey say that she leads a BIG life.

As I pondered her statement, I understood exactly what she meant, and I agreed fully.

Shortly after, it lead me to a conclusion of my own…I lead a rather small life.

I am not known by the masses.  I do not have a large platform or audience that I influence. I am not doing BIG things or living the kind of life that a magazine would seek to feature.

Please do not misunderstand what I am implying, or feel sad for me in any way.  I happen to think that small is good.

SMALL IS GOOD.

“Small” happens to be consistent with the way I view Scripture…with what I see modeled in the life of Jesus and the new testament church.

“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)

Jesus was not born into pomp and splendor; he was born of lowly circumstances.  His birth was not announced in the society section of the papers (although he did have quite an angelic announcement – but again, it was private).  He had no worldly possessions that anyone would envy (Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:58), and he never sought to acquire them, for he knew that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

My life may be small, but my life is meaningful. Very meaningful.

The reach of my influence may be limited, but it has a great impact on my family – a profound impact.

I may lead a small life, but I have a BIG and BUSTLING home life.

Oh boy, do I ever!

I have a husband, six kids, two son-in-laws, two new grandsons, and a nephew, all of whom help to make up my bustling family life; and because of them, my life is rich and full!

Welcome Baby Skyler

My days are filled with homeschooling my two youngest: having time to sit around with them to laugh and play, enjoy great literature via read-alouds, scream and yell (just a little) and influence them with the Gospel.

I have college kids – one who lives at home and one married, living close to home – who are constantly at my kitchen table.

They keep me on my toes as I debate certain aspects of the Gospel with one – a zealous new Believer who challenges my comfortable and sometimes sedentary walk with Christ; and a newly wed, who tells me tales of botched dinners that she and her husband ate to avoid starvation!

And I must not forget my young adult nephew…the one who teaches me how to love children that I did not birth; whose presence teaches me that at times, I do not know how to love well at all, which is why I’m in desperate need of Jesus Christ.  The one whom God is using to prepare our hearts to foster and adopt.

The men in my life

I so enjoy this stage of parenting young adults. (I enjoy it now, but last year was a real doozy!  Which is how I know that El Roi – He is the God Who Sees Me, because I’ve been to the edge of the parental sanity cliff and have almost fallen off.)

It is a small, yet full and bustling life.

I recently stood in a delivery room where my 30-year-old-daughter gave birth to my grandson, and I can hardly believe the miracle that he is…so small and so fragile…a miracle on display.

Ashley is a new mom

It seems like just yesterday it was me lying there giving birth to my Ash-Cat.

Just yesterday that I pushed her on a swing.

Not that long ago that I dropped her to Friday night youth.

Just yesterday that I watched my husband give her away, and then danced joyously at her wedding.

As parents, we must not confuse depth of reach with meaningful impact. 

We mustn’t mistake notoriety or fame for value.

It is not the quantity (size of mass, or sphere of influence) of your life that matters, it is the quality that matters.

QUALITY: How you’ve touched another person’s life.  How you’ve inconvenienced yourself for others.  How you’ve lived a life of service.  How you let the Gospel wreck your dreams and ambitions.  The acts of love you did in Christ’s name when no one else was looking.

My Lord lived a small, yet beautiful and consequential life.

My Jesus never sat in a seat of honor in the synagogue.  He never had a title of distinction in front of his name.  Even when making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem he rode on a lowly donkey.  He was finally announced “King of the Jews” by way of a handmade sign which hung over his head as he hung dying on a tree (John 19:19-21).

He never felt the need to have a good PR (public relations) person.  Sometimes he performed miracles and told people not to tell.

Even when standing before Pilate for questioning: “Where do you come from?” … Jesus gave him no answer.” (John 19:9)  It could have been his moment to shine, but instead, he decided to let his life give witness.

Yes, Jesus lived a small, yet revolutionary life.

I can not get caught-up in living a BIG life. 

I can’t get caught-up in the numbers, the shares, retweets, or the applause of men.

While it may be God’s ordained plan for someone else’s life, truth is, most of us will live a small life – but it can still be glorious and meaningful with Christ.

A life full of God’s graces, marked by amazing highs, and yes, painful lows.  A life full of family firsts and precious moments.

Wedding Party Meet & Greet 2017

Yes, a small life, but one of profound impact, nonetheless.

You see, here are all the small things I’ve got to do…

I have got to get busy lesson planning, making grilled cheese lunches, and reading aloud to my children.

I’ve got to find time to make a family cook book – so they don’t leave home and call me every other day for recipes.

I’ve got to teach two young men how to make at least one meal, well.

I’ve got to greet my young adult, drop-in unannounced kids and their spouses and friends with a broad smile, and never make them feel like their an imposition.

Just another Sunday with some of my kids and their friends

I have to prepare meals for guests – the kind that makes them want to linger – hopefully long enough for an impromptu Bible study with good food and fellowship.

I’ve got to figure out how to pour my life into the life of others, because God fills empty vessels.

All these day-to-day things, the little things – the pouring out, the being still, the cooking and cleaning, the loving and hugging – they add up to really BIG things, which makes for one robust and full life.

Robust and BIG in its own sweet, small way.

This world is always teaching us to strive – to “Be” someone BIG and to “Do” something GREAT – but I’ve always thought that Jesus calls his children to lead an inside-out, upside-down kind of life because it’s in loosing our life that we find eternal life (Matthew 10:39).

Small and thriving,

Tiffiney

Life verse: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me [us] this far? – 2 Samuel 7:18

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Comments

  1. This is such a lovely, profound post, Tiffiney! Thank you so much for sharing it! I love when the Spirit moves within His people with a shared message.

    • Thank you for stopping by to read your twin message, Alison. I’ll be visiting your place more often. 😊

  2. Oh, Tiffiney, I believe we are kindred spirits. I love this so much. I’m right there with ya, trying to lead that small life with grace. My adult children stop by and bring guests with them, and mama wants to be welcoming. My last highschooler at home still homeschooling wants to chat, I want to be there to listen. The memories of a small life are grand, I believe. That’s legacy, and that’s a life well spent. Beautiful words, friend. So glad we connected. Blessings to you and your gorgeous family. ((hug))

  3. I absolutely loved this story and all the pictures. It certainly doesn’t look like anything small to me. It looks like a BIG beautiful picture of a mom and her great love for her family. Big or Small, God wants our all and all you are giving. Thank you for sharing this with us. Blessings <3

    • Jamie, you are so encouraging! Thank you for stopping by. I can’ t wait to visit your place again sometime soon!

  4. Blessed to read this today. Much needed reminder of how to live life, in this moment, right where we are.

  5. You just never know all you’d find, when it’s Jesus you’re following. You ma’am, are one blessed person (And it’s a really big small life you have)! Thanks for sharing. Blessings to you.

  6. Oh, I love this!! I, too, have a small life, and in a world that deems bigger as better and more as the ultimate goal, I can feel very much a loser. (Even in the blog world, I can feel that way, as I have a small blog, with few followers.) But may I always remember that I can have a big influence in my small world.

    We are in similar seasons of life, you and I, with adult children who often stop by. I have found that being their mom didn’t end when they moved out. They still need me in their lives, just in different ways than when they were little. I don’t have grands yet, and I don’t have younger kids still homeschooling. (My homeschooling days ended in 2010, when my youngest child finished high school.)

    Congratulations on the new grandson. What a gift from God!

    Thanks for blessing my heart and encouraging me today. I’m visiting from Moments of Hope.

    Love,
    Patti @ Ninety-Twelve Psalms Avenue

    • Oh Patti, It warms my heart to read your reply. I’m just tickled that we have so much in common. Yes, those young adult kids really do still need us, thankfully! About those few followers you have, you just keep blogging away for God’s glory. We’ll leave the rest up to Him. I’m so glad you stopped by. Have a blessed day!

  7. Tiffiney, what a beautiful family and a beautiful life. I count many of the same things among my many blessings: family, extended family, opportunities to minister and be an influence. What a “big” small life we live! Thanks for being a shining example of what living for Christ really means.

  8. Thanks for sharing Tiff. As always your post inspired me. Although we live a small life we are big to Jesus. I praise God for you, your family & your ministry.

  9. I always enjoy my visits here! You challenge and encourage me simultaneously! That’s a gift! Thank you for sharing it! Blessings to you and your beautiful family!

    • Oh, Liz…I love when you stop by! As soon as I see your face, I see my friend. You are such an encouragement to me. Thank you!

  10. Tiffiney, This is my first visit here and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I found myself smiling through the description of your VERY BLESSED life and loved your insights regarding “a small life”, a life hidden in Christ Jesus.

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures of your family and hearing that you too were able to be in the delivery room when your grandchild was born. That was one of the most profound experiences of my life when my Angel gave birth to my littlest Angel.

    I loved the phrase you coined for homeschooling in doing :”read-alouds”. We did the Charlotte Mason approach using living books and my children and myself really learned so much that way.

    Thank you so much for sharing! I leave your blog feeling blessed. 🙂

    • Hey Karen! I’m so glad you stopped by my for some encouragement in family life, and so glad that you’re leaving refreshed. My prayers are being answered.:-)

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