From the Heart guest blogger, Judith Grazette, has a gift of writing. More importantly, she has THE GIFT of Jesus treasured in her own heart! So, moms and daughters, cozy up by a Christmas tree, read these words, and let God encourage your hearts during this season to embrace every day as His gift.
When I was a little girl I loved to make lists; to walk around with a notebook jotting down thoughts on what to do next (some good, some not so much). Still do! But whether it was a plan or a serious scheme, my mom would often say to me “Ju, remember man makes the plans but God has the final say”. She would always chorus that to me whenever she saw me huddled writing or heard my endless lists of ‘things to do’. At the beginning of the year I would already be planning for the summer (after all I had a summer birthday and that requires some intense planning ~ like when I was 14 and began planning my 16th birthday). I was undaunted by the distance in time away from any event. I had an active imagination and lots of visions for how things should flow, how they should look, how they could be.
As I am sure most of us come to realize, mom was right! Most of those things never manifested in the exact way I planned, but that has never stopped me from dreaming and planning, with an occasional scheme thrown in for good measure.
As it was then, so it was at the beginning of this amazing year of our Lord, 2020. So many plans, projections, aspirations, so many thoughts on the meaning of this significant year. It was like being a visionary (get it 20/20 vision~lol) with great insight into the instruction given in Habakkuk 2:2 – we set out on 1/1/20 with all the journals, year planners, and color coded highlighters ready for an amazing journey. And then less than three months later….screech!!!!
At first it didn’t seem like the end of life as we knew it. It just seemed like a brief pause – you know, like a well-deserved break from the unrelenting speed of life. But then the break continued and suddenly it didn’t only affect my plans, but it impacted our health, my daughter’s education, my husband’s job, my family’s routines, interaction with friends, and ALL those plans. Work plans, vacay plans, birthday plans, ministry plans and since this was worldwide, Covid 19 was bringing countries and people all over the world, who like me had a plan, to an abrupt halt.
After what I hoped was my final 2020 plan cancellation, I waited to feel something to sum up the way I had been feeling for the better part of this year. Instead of anger or frustration, what came instead was a sigh of resignation for the truth of what my mom said all those years ago – “Ju,……God has the final say”. This started to bring me some unusual peace. After all, if I had submitted most of my plans to Him and this was either not His timing or His will, then surely He has something better in store.
Should I rest in the assurance that He has something better in store OR should I continue to struggle with what I had on my agenda? I chose the former ~ to rest.
I chose to rest because He is in control– understanding that God does not need my understanding or my approval to allow certain things in my life. Also I choose rest because I wanted to be intentional to learn something in this season.
My husband and I used to go through our daughter’s baby book or home videos to look for significant dates that we just couldn’t seem to remember – you know like, when did she start to walk, did she say “mama” or “dada” first. We had always tried to record those important milestones. But some of them had just happened and we didn’t make a note because we either took it for granted or we were too busy wanting her to move on to the next milestone. Watching those home videos I realized that like so many things in my life, an opportunity had passed us by and I didn’t pay attention. When did she start doing all these things on her own? Simple things like brushing her teeth, walking without holding my hand, tying her shoe laces and God knows, when did she start having an opinion?
Even now I find myself watching her as she instructs her dad on how to build a robot (my husband teaches robotics for a living) or tells him her two favorite words “I Know!” for everything under the sun. How did we get this independent, self-assured, assertive, compassionate teenager? (‘yikes’) When did that happen? I have been so busy planning and living my life at high speed that I have missed some important every day milestones. Sometimes it’s the screeching halt that helps us to recognize that our full plate has caused us to live a distracted, un-attentive life.
Recently, I have constantly had that Holy Spirit check to ‘pay attention’. The world is always pulling us here and there and vying for our attention. Is there anything in your life that makes you wish you had spent your time differently?
Maybe it’s the time you were too busy to stop by your mom’s nursing home although the thought went through your mind several times, and now she’s gone. Or the middle of the night conversations that your 10 year old wanted to have but you were too tired, and that was 4 years ago, and now they don’t want to talk to you anymore. Maybe it was the phone call you wanted to make to a friend but you never did after you swung your feet off the bed because the day got the best of you, and then you found out they had received a terminal diagnosis. Maybe it’s a simpler miss, like the opportunity to watch a sunset on the Caribbean Sea or a sunrise on the Atlantic side. Or spending time with your daughter unwrapping God’s Word with a Heart of Womanhood Bible Study!
If we are not intentional in the ‘every day’ we will find that the gift that it holds will go unopened, and as time goes by we will wish we had made the time.
Sometimes we are totally distracted by something that doesn’t make sense. We are trying to figure it out but sometimes the God of this universe doesn’t comply with our desire for life to make sense. Can we just enjoy this life without it having to make sense?
- Do we want to just be comfortable and stay on track with our plans? Isn’t that how our plans make us feel; comfortable, and because we are comfortable in our fluffy slippers and comfy PJs, God has to throw us out of our planned existence and into the unknown.
- Do you think Job had a plan to lose it all, for his house, servants, property etc. to be taken? What about ALL his children? Did that factor into his thoughts at the beginning of his year? Never!
- Do you think that when Naomi planned her move to Moab that she also had her husband and both her sons dying in mind? I can’t imagine that. Do you think Ruth had a plan of staying with Naomi and meeting her Boaz and being part of the lineage of Jesus? I think not.
- Do you think the teenage Mary, who was planning her wedding and how many bridesmaids she would have when she walked down the aisle to meet her beau, Joseph, was at any time thinking an angel was in her future, furthermore giving birth to the Savior of the world? Absolutely not!
- Did you have a plan for a worldwide pandemic and the halting of our lives and loss of our loved ones, friends, neighbors and coworkers or the shuttering of our dream business? Not in a hundred years.
Often there are things in life that God will call us to do that don’t necessarily feel good or make sense and if you don’t take the chance on Him–you are missing out. It might not ever make sense but in hindsight it might turn out to be the perfect plan if you trust Him. So, as we make our plans to celebrate the Christmas season and look forward with hope to a new year, can I ask “what is important to you?” Is it those midnight chats, the walks with your mom, or maybe leaning in on the wisdom of your dad (since you really don’t know it all)?
The God of the universe is far better at planning out the surprises and great parts of your life than you will ever be. It might be uncomfortable but be confident that God has a plan for your life. If you work hard trying to get to tomorrow or next summer then you are missing today. You are missing the gifts of a brand new morning, a sunset, a conversation with a teenager, those first steps, the first words, the beauty of the people in your life, the lessons God has in this season for you to learn. What if you decided to pay attention to your life right NOW?
love right NOW,
create the margin NOW,
Pay attention NOW to the GIFT that is right in front of you.
Remember, every day is a gift! God’s gift!