Saturday, April 28, 2018

Teach Us to Number Our Days

Today, I found Amy’s obituary.  As I unfolded the black and white clipping, her smiling face looked up at me from the page.  My eight-year-old daughter leaned over to see and asked, “Isn’t that the lady that was at your wedding? The one who helped you get ready?  I remember her picture from your wedding book.” 

Reading the small clipping, I did the math and realized it’s been almost 14 years since Amy passed away. She was 38. 

In a week, I’ll be 38. 

There are a handful of parallels between her life and mine and the truth is, she had a substantial influence on me as a foundational branch in my spiritual family tree. As a prodigal coming home to my Father, she gave me guidance and love. For that, I'll forever be grateful.

Life is hectic, so I don’t think about her as much now as I used to, but there are parts of her woven into the very fabric of who I am.  She came into my life at just the right time and left so suddenly that I never really had a chance to tell her how influential and important she was in my development as a young woman and a young Christian. 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

The most sobering aspect of life is how it is but a vapor.  We are here one day and gone the next.  Every day we live, every breath we breathe, is a gift from our sovereign God.

I may only have today.

I may only have this moment.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

We have the opportunity to live our days with intention, to squeeze the goodness out of every moment, and to love the people He places around us and sometimes right in front of us. 

Enjoy His big and little gifts.

Get up early to see the sky painted in various shades of orange and pink as it awakens to the sun. Watch a bird make a nest and listen to her sing. Walk barefoot in the grass. Sit back and watch the clouds float by.  Run in the rain. Eat a crispy apple.  Smell a spring flower.

God’s creation was made to be enjoyed.  And as you partake, remember to be thankful to the Giver of all good things.

"O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalm 104:24 (Read the rest of Psalm 104. You won't regret it.)

We were made to love.

Every day we have the chance to make an impact on someone’s life.  All we have to do is ask the Lord to open our eyes and prick our hearts.

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10

It’s so easy to float through a busy life without making contact with those around us.  I can go through my day just checking off my to-do list without looking up to see where God might want to use me.  

How many times have we missed a chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus?  How many times have we ignored the prompting of the Holy Spirit to stop and take notice? How often do we make ourselves the priority instead of being a vessel to pour out His love?

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or a sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:14-17

Seek Him first.

The most important aspect of living an intentional life is time spent with the Lord. It is the foundation to living a life that matters.  The older I get, the more God teaches me about what it means to walk with Him. I know I cannot truly enjoy the people He brings into my life and all that He has provided, without enjoying Him first. 

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live, in your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalm 63:1-4

As I enter another year of life, Lord willing, He will keep teaching me to seek Him first, love those around me, and find the beauty in ordinary things.

Only the Lord knows the number of our days, so we should make each one count.


Anonymous said...

This is a very true message, and beautifully written. In today’s hectic world, with all of us hastily moving from one busy moment to the next, we must allow ourselves to pause and reflect on the goodness of our Lord. We have to take time to thank Him for all things, big and small. What a precious gift you were given in the person of your dear friend. May the Lord continue to bless you!

Stephanie said...

Thank you, and you also.

Jessie @ One Lost Coin said...

This is beautiful. We hear these verses a lot, but it’s easy to say that then move on. Thank you for helping us to lean into those verses and really consider how to use them to change our life.