The Days of Our Lives

Moses brings us our Monday School this week.

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

Psalm 90 is a prayer written by Moses, the one who led God’s people out of Egypt, through the miraculously parted Red Sea, to the edge of the Promised Land. Instead of trusting God, the people gave in to fear and did not enter the Promised Land until forty years later.

Throughout the psalm, Moses writes a lot about time and stresses how quickly it passes. Maybe spending lots of time in the desert, dealing with rebellious people, and hearing all the complaints about water and manna gives a person a better perspective on time and the days of our lives. In verse 12, he prays for God to teach us to number our days. Moses wants to learn……and wants us to learn……to count our days so that we become wise.

How will numbering our days give us a heart of wisdom?  The main thing it will do is make us realize the brevity of our lives. But realizing how short our lives are doesn’t give us wisdom. In fact, it may make us more foolish….chasing adventures, careers, or bucket lists and filling our lives to the brim with things that don’t matter.

There’s more to it than just counting our days. Moses prays for God to teach us to number our days. God is the Giver of our Days and must teach us what to do with them. He must show us how to live them, because on our own, we tend to waste them.

If you’re wondering, like I am, how not to waste your days……we can’t go wrong with what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth which echo the words of Jesus in all four gospels:  Love God and love people.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”              1 Corinthians 13:13  

We’ve been given the days, let’s make them count and live like it matters.

 

 

Downtown

Most of my Mondays are spent in the historic downtown area of a nearby city. The office of the non-profit where I volunteer is there. Until the beginning of the year I’d only driven through the downtown area a few times and now it’s one of my favorite places.

Every two hours we have to move our cars or put more change in the meters which gives me a chance to enjoy a few walks during the day. I love seeing the people on the streets, some in their business attire walking briskly to make an appointment on time, some taking a stroll enjoying the sights, a couple walking their dogs, a young athlete getting her run in, or those lingering at the outdoor tables after a nice lunch.

I especially enjoy walking past all the old churches. They’re magnificent. The downtown area is dense with old churches like this Methodist church. It was originally built in the early 1800s but was burned down during the Civil War when Federal troops were quartered in the basement. The church burned down due to an act of carelessness. The troops built fires on the wooden floors to cook their food. But with courage and faith the congregation rebuilt the church and finished it in 1868. Several additions have been completed since then.

I walk past other churches too. Another Methodist church, Catholic, Episcopal and a Baptist one too.

If I’m having an exceptionally good Monday, my walks happen at the same time the church bells ring. I’m not sure which churches are ringing the bells but oh what a joyful noise it is!

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!”  Psalm 100:1

Enjoying the Season?

imageI’m better at enjoying the season than I was three years ago. In another three I’ll be even better. I’ve learned to be still, be present, and more than anything…..be thankful.

Thank you, Jesus.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”      Psalm 46:10

I did what I said I wouldn’t do.  Last night I wasn’t enjoying the season.  I became annoyed with the clock.  It wouldn’t stop.  I needed more time to do the things that needed to be done.  Finally I realized that I was running out of time and was compelled to do the most pressing things.

I was an hour and a half late getting home because I had to make a large grocery store run to prepare for our get-together this weekend.  I did some stocking stuffer shopping, too.  I enjoyed the time in the store as I hummed along with the Christmas music in the background.

Once home, though, everything I needed to do flooded my mind and I slowly started to unravel.  My patience was missing and my family felt the impact of it.  In the midst of simplifying fractions, washing towels, looking for a Spanish II…

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Remember

This month begins a birthday “season” in my family.  All of my sisters and I, my youngest daughter, and 2 nieces celebrate birthdays within a span of 25 days.

Birthdays make us remember. One year for my birthday, Mom typed out her memory of the day I was born. She did that for all my sisters, too. That was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

Holidays, anniversaries, and other special days also take us back. We should practice it more often, though………..reminiscing. We should remember more than those treasured events like prom, wedding days, holding our newborn in our arms for the first time, or the day we graduated from college. Those are special, but other memories are worth remembering and sharing.

Playing house with your sister and climbing trees with your brother. The family vacations to the beach, the cramped ride down there, and getting so sunburned you could barely move.

Remember the smell of your grandmother’s cinnamon rolls baking in the oven or the hydrangeas she brought in from her yard to put in the center of the kitchen table?

More recent memories….like when my husband and I went to Philadelphia or the last time Dad was home or July 4th, 2014, when Mom sat with us outside and ate watermelon.  Or last week, when we gathered with friends we don’t get to see very often then sat together and watched fireworks.

We need to remember the things that happened.

But what about the things that didn’t happen?

My ex-husband and I didn’t stay divorced. Instead, we decided to reconcile and here we are……..15 years later.

The day I didn’t die because I made it to the emergency room in time. Or the afternoon my daughter didn’t drown in the Little Pigeon River. I shouldn’t forget the day my son and his friend were out in the back yard shooting his rifle. It went off accidentally. Thank God, no one was hurt.

When we remember, our heart softens and swells with gratefulness.  Perhaps we are filled with longing for “those days”. Or maybe the memories cause us to reflect and something in us shifts and we are filled with compassion or wonder. Whatever remembering does, it is mostly good.

There are cruel memories, of course. People have hurt us, or we’ve harmed someone. We’ve made some bad choices, maybe living with regrets or painful consequences.

Those memories just make the good ones even better.

And there are good ones. Keep remembering and you’ll find some.

“But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
    I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago”.     Psalm 77:11

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Memory on the Menu.”

Wait

Mom told me last week that she feels like she is on hold. In a season of waiting. All the time.

She waits for the Hospice nurse. She waits for her bath and for someone to get her meals. She waits for her daughters to call and waits for someone to visit. She waits for a good time to ask one of us to clean the fans. She is waiting until we can all get together to go through Dad’s things.

And the one I don’t like to think about because I want my mama here…….she is waiting for the day God takes her home………

 

We are always waiting. Sometimes the waiting is exciting. Other times it’s painful.

Waiting for the right one to marry or for the marriage to be what we thought it would be. Waiting to lose the weight. Waiting for a relationship to be restored. Waiting for the perfect job or the dream to come true or a promise to be kept. Waiting for the cravings for the alcohol or the pills or the entire box of doughnuts to stop.

Waiting for a child. Waiting to forget the regrets of the past and the day you can look in the mirror and like the person you see. Waiting for the sadness to go away. Waiting for God to come through.

That kind of waiting can be so hard that one more day of it seems unbearable. It feels impossible to keep going.

It’s that kind of waiting that God will use to change us. When it all feels like too much and it’s taking too long and it’s just too hard.

He’ll open our eyes. Or reveal himself to us in a new way. God may not change our circumstances.

He’ll do something even greater. He’ll change our hearts and minds. He’ll make us more compassionate and less judgmental. Give us greater faith and softer hearts.

In the waiting, we learn to fix our eyes on Jesus. We learn that He is with us and takes care of us. We aren’t diminished in the waiting. We grow in the waiting because we work through the waiting. We are made stronger and more patient in the waiting. We see more clearly because of the waiting. Best of all, we learn to love better because of the waiting.

God is greater than the pain of waiting. Great things will happen.

Just wait and see.

I truly believe I will live to see the Lord’s goodness. Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave,and wait for the Lord’s help. Psalm 27:13-14

In response to the Daily Post’s Anticipation.