Monday grace – the new year

An internet “friend,” Susie Davis, wrote at the beginning of the month: “I‘m still waiting on God to fill in some of the blanks for me for the new year.” Her words ring true. 

After all the fluff and flurry of decorations are tucked away for another eleven months, my days become thoughtful. Endeavoring to go gently into this new space and time, I purposefully scheduled some quiet for myself, to review the past and look toward the future. I wonder what the next 365 days hold for me and mine, for the circle of my family and friends, and even for the world. 

Who can know the future? There will always be predictions, and prognosticators will spout their opinions, but they cannot see into the future. We all walk into the unknown. 

I have today before me, a gift of life given with no promise of tomorrow. Yet, I plan and prepare, hoping to spend the one beautiful life I have in the best possible way. 

The question hangs like holding one’s breath. What is the best use of my life? At this stage and age, how then shall I live? 

As I evaluated 2022, I saw areas I need to adjust. Sometimes I filled my days and weeks too full. Sometimes I needed rest. With responsibilities looming large before me, I almost always have a list of tasks, and I wonder what will happen if I get behind. Would I be able to catch up? The cares of life can consume until I fall into bed at night, wondering what I did all day that made me so tired. 

I’m a keeper of memories as I write and record. I keep track of events, books read, people I love, hoping to observe how I’m spending my days. I notice how much of it has passed. I wonder what is left. Moses words in Psalm 90:12 speak loudly, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The New Living Translation says “realize the brevity of life so we can grow in wisdom.” Wisdom is the thing. Get wisdom. 

I ponder what is eternally valuable vs of earthly value. So much of what I do is mundane, repetitive, ordinary. Fix the meals and clear the dishes. Sweep the floor. Wash, dry, fold, and put away the clothes. Pay bills and deal with all the paperwork. It happens daily and weekly. If I didn’t do those things we might starve, wear stinky clothes, have the utilities turned off, get in trouble with the IRS, and drown in Maisie’s hair accumulating on the floor. 

Some of life is simply doing the same things again and again. 

But what of the eternally valuable? How and when am I storing treasures in Heaven that will outlast this skin and bone existence on earth? 

December 2021, standing at the grave site of a beloved family member, Sweet William invited our young cousin-twice-removed to come play guitar with him. And he came, almost weekly, the entire of last year, learning some licks from Sweet William and sharing some of his own. The day he came was often busy for me with piano lesson prep, and sometimes I felt rushed. But I always wanted to feed him, inviting him to eat lunch with us, because special things happen around the table. We shared good conversations, got to know each other better, bonding as family. And we shared Jesus and prayed for him. 

This semester he is off to college, and I missed him last week. I texted him, told him I am praying for him. His response was “Thank you. Thank you.” What a privilege it’s been to love him in Jesus’ name and to share life with him. And I think that this is weighty in Heaven more than so many check-offs in my planner. 

I can’t get away from the daily tasks of an earthly existence. They will be here until the day I take my last breath and leave them behind. Until then, I pray for strength to keep moving, keep thinking, and keep up. But I also pray that when an opportunity arises, when an interruption surprises, when a friend calls or comes unexpectedly to our door, I will see the possibility of God-incidents, an occasion to give grace out of the deep well of grace poured into my own life. 

May we spend our beautiful lives storing treasures in Heaven where moth and rust will not destroy, and where there are no worries of thieves breaking in to steal the things we’ve gathered in houses and barns. Those things will be left behind when I return to dust. The heavenly treasures will await my Homegoing. They will be where Jesus is. 

I want those treasures to be abundant and precious in His sight.

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