Numbered Days and Marked Milestones
- Monday, February 19, 2007
We recently observed a milestone occasion in our home--it marked the birth of our second son, ten brief years ago. Ten long years ago. I cried most of the day. There was no birthday dinner, no chocolate cake, no 10-year-old boy bounding down the steps. No bike left in the driveway or shoes kicked off, leaving size six scuffmarks against the wall. There were the last pictures of a very frail 9-month-old, a few worn blankets, a fuzzy blue sleeper, and a small knit hat. Because of Christ, I can also hold much more than little socks and baby's teddy bear. An eternal perspective tells me that I am not getting farther from my son but closer to him.
Longing, that mental, physical, and spiritual drive we all experience, sometimes closes in. C.S. Lewis wrote, "If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don't feel at home there?" We long for more. Longing does not always exclude satisfaction with what we have in the present. Longing does serve to remind us that we are strangers in a foreign land. Do I long to go home? Not most days. There is a reason I'm here, and I want to fulfill it. Beyond the spiritual reasons, there are some things in this, my home away from home, that I love. Most days are full and happy, all God-ordained and rich with good things. I'm grateful to be here.
Often we forget that eternity is not a mark we cross at death. Eternity exists now. Imagine our lives marked on an infinite timeline; we would barely be off the zero, but we are in eternity. The sobering thought is, Heaven starts after the mark and never ends. We need to pack as much as we can between zero and that mark. That birthday milestone reminded me how quickly Earth time, a mere vapor, unfolds before me.
Ten years. I ask myself, what am I doing for the Lord? I'm not the only mama who struggles with wanting to do more. Women are good at self -condemnation. Yet we also have a real yearning to make our lives count. We want to impact the world for the kingdom, though some days we feel too tired, and too selfish, to even really love our own.
A string of ministry helps us feel we contribute. We immerse ourselves in good deeds. Sometimes we crash--because we do things in our own strength. Still we do good. It would be nice to check off all our good deeds in the book of good deeds. We might feel accomplished, except there is no book of good deeds.
We pray. No matter how much we pray, needs still abound and we get discouraged at times. We can purpose to love our own families more. Perhaps that might satisfy us. We try. Women are productive; we can accomplish. We work hard and try hard. Why then do so many women I talk with feel they don't do enough, that "something is missing" in their lives?
We long to hear, "Well done." The urge to please is strong. We strive. In this we lose sight of Christ. What does He require of us? According to Micah 6:8, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Yes, we may appear to do good and just things, and to love mercy, but if we neglect walking humbly with God, we miss. If we get focused on what instead of who, we miss it all.
Cycles of striving appear in life--subtly or becoming a blatant master based on our need for approval. Giving may have little to do with pure overflow from the Lord and more to do with earning something--not salvation, but acceptance. At times we think we are doing well, only to once again realize we have strayed from the heart of Christianity, Christ. That's why it is so important to keep a focused perspective and number our days. We cannot afford wrong thinking. Psalm 90:12 tells us, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Christ is wisdom. Christ
I purpose to know Christ and sometimes feel like that "deer that panteth after water." Other times, when I sit on my bed with my door shut to the distractions of the world, my mind wanders. Distractions don't care about closed doors and walls. My quiet time is noisy and leaves little opportunity for genuine communion with God. Many days I read the Word absently. I pray mediocre prayers. Although I don't think God requires them to be passionate and persuasive, my apathy annoys me as I consider, do I really believe Jesus is who He said He is? I say He is Lord. I say He is Savior. I say that I love Him. Yet, some days I let Him take a back seat to the laundry that needs to be folded.
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