Psalm 118:24 – This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today.
Gratitude Day 837
This is the time of year when we have the opportunity to celebrate so many things.
New life and new spring.
All the wonderful and great things that warm our heart.
The last couple of weeks, Hubby Rick and I have been able to celebrate some really good things.
Our nephew Kevin graduated from college a couple weeks ago.
At the same graduation ceremony, dear Megan also graduated. Megan attended one of the churches I used to serve as a pastor. It was so great to see her and her family at graduation.
This weekend another nephew, Zach, is getting married. Interesting side note – his bride is the niece of one of my dear friends. How cool is this?
We have a granddaughter turning four this weekend.
I have plants sitting on my back porch waiting to be arranged in pots.
Hubby Rick and I went to two baseball games this week. We watched our grandson pitch, hit and field in both games. During baseball season, I think this 11-year-old feels like he is living his best life. He can’t wait to get practice. Maybe this is why he found Grandpa Rick out on the farm 40 minutes before practice started, dressed and ready to head to town. It’s about 10 minutes to the ballfield and he DOES NOT like to be late.
These are wonderful things. Good things. Things that make my heart smile.
Yet, there is also the awful things of life. In our community, a 7th grader was hit by a truck a week ago yesterday while getting on the school bus. It’s a devastating accident with more than two families dramatically affected. The community is feeling this. One of our granddaughters was a classmate. How do 12- and 13-year-olds process death and grief? It’s very tricky because adults are having an equally difficult time.
This past week, I sat with a few people who are missing our beloved friend, Pastor Carol, who I shared about a couple weeks ago. I’ve heard from many of her family members, church family and friends, people who are missing her. I have no words and only try to listen.
We do not have to look far to see someone who has a challenging situation in their life. Illness. Death. Addiction. Depression. Anxiety. Financial challenges. The list goes on and on and on.
When we are in the middle of these situations, it is easy to put the blinders on and believe that our situation is “awful.” And honestly, it probably is. Believe me. I’ve had plenty of these feelings in the past few weeks. Days when I felt that my life had more than enough challenging situations. Weeks that went by in the blur. Moments when I felt like I just wanted to take a break and set my real life aside for a hot minute.
I have spoken so often here about trying to find “Mary” moments in our lives. Little bits of space where we can slow down and breathe. My belief that every Martha needs more than a couple minutes of Mary in their life on a regular basis. But when real things happen, even the most disciplined person will struggle. Willpower and check lists are not enough. There will be days when we all feel like we are trying to swim upstream and making no progress.
The days when I know that I just need to pick one, next right thing … and do it. Now. But the long list of things that need my attention feels a bit too much and I’m not sure which one to pick now. The moments when I just need a minute to stop and smell the coffee brewing in the morning. The reality there will not be enough minutes in this day and somehow, I will make it through. When everything on my to-do list does not get done, I am not a failure. I am doing my best. God has grace for me. Now, can I extend a little grace for myself?
So often, I hear people say, “It will be better next week.” Or “I just need to get through XYZ.” Another common saying, “When XYZ happens, life will be better.”
These statements may be true. Or not. Somehow, I feel we also need to savor the here and now. The today. The moments right in front of our noses that we will not have tomorrow or the next day. The opportunities that are seen are little until we remember that it IS the little things that ARE the big things.
We can yearn for a different tomorrow OR we can live today. It’s our daily choice whether we embrace the too much or wish the little/big moments away. We can celebrate this day that God created and placed in the cup of our hands or we can wish it away, hoping tomorrow will be better/less stressful/more to our liking.
I am totally convinced that we most often grow and discover new things when we are in the thorny times of our lives rather than the mountaintop moments. These are the days when you and I have the opportunity to discover what we love, dislike, wish was different or cannot live without.
So, my friend, if you find yourself with some area of your life (or possibly a lot of your life!) that feels a bit difficult right now, embrace it. Be OK with not having to be perfect or the best or on top of your game every day. Be humble enough to recognize that progress is more important than perfection. Embrace God’s goodness on the days that feel overwhelming. No matter where you are or what is going on in your life, YOU will decide if today is going to be an OK, good or great day. The whole day does not have to be perfect. Just a perfect moment or two sprinkled in sure makes a big difference.
And then, do something that brings you joy. Makes your heart smile. Gives you life. Last night, we went out for Friday night fish with some dear friends. It had been a while since we last saw them. There was much to catch up on. We chatted and chatted. We ate and chatted some more. My heart felt very full at the end of the night. And it was very good.
There are things from my to-do list that did not get done yesterday. They will wait until another day. I could have waited and picked another night but then, I would have lost out on the opportunity we had. Instead, we embraced the moment. We laughed and we smiled. We even had a tear or two. And all of this was far more important than anything else I could have done.
For the reminder that no matter where I am, there are very good things in my life and for this, I am very grateful.
Holy God – As I take a deep breathe and fill my lungs with your love and grace, may I also extend myself love and grace as well. Help me accept my life, no matter where I am. Rather than trying to wish for something better or bigger or different, help me celebrate every good thing about my life today. Amen.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.