Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. Psalm 39:4
If you knew the day you would die would you live your life differently? Dumb question, of course you would. Then why don’t we live today as if it was our last? Because we don’t know. We have to prepare for the future right? It is a responsible person that saves for retirement, educates oneself for future secure employment, and maintains our possessions so they will last longer. I understand, but to what extreme? So if Colossians 1:16 is true that all things were created by him…all things were created through him and for him, why do we struggle to find a balance in our time and care of things?
At 46 years old I have lived through a few seasons, the “young and free” season where I made my own schedule and aside from a job, I didn’t have much other responsibility. The “newly married and figuring it out” stage when I was trying to figure out how to manage life with another person. The “mom and broke stage” where the care of a baby meant owning one pair of shoes and living in a small apartment just so I could stay home and raise her. The “temporary freedom” stage when she is old enough to do her own homework and feed herself if she needed. Now I consider myself in the “reflective and supportive” stage. I have a lot more quiet time but heavier things to ponder. It is a joy to “train up a child in the way she should go” and watch her figure this life out from a biblical worldview but now I find myself conserving energy for that “phone call”. With Avery living on campus at a local college I don’t see her daily but I carry her heart. There are days when I am not doing anything but find myself reflecting a lot. I sit in silence knowing God is settling my heart, preparing it to be there when she needs encouragement, counsel or a home cooked meal. Sometimes I feel guilty and even lazy when I have a day with nothing on my to-do-list but I am learning to see these days as preparation for the ones to come. And it’s not just for her, with aging parents and a classroom of teenagers, you never know what a day will bring.
There are some things I do to keep my life in check that I would like to share with you. First, I don’t keep a calendar. What? You don’t have a calendar? I am a slave to my calendar, I have to write everything down so I don’t forget all the things I have to do. This has always been my philosophy…if I have to write it all down, it’s too much and I am too busy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a calender where I list my meetings for work (because I have to be there) and for concerts I have purchased tickets for (because I don’t want to miss these events) and I keep a reminders list on my phone of things I should pick up at the grocery store or household items I am getting low on, but as a mom I have learned that down time is preparation time. Some of you are already shaking your head and under your breath are saying “Good for you, but I’ve got four kids and with sports and my husband’s schedule I have to stay organized”. I get it. But here’s the bigger point, if you find yourself saying week after week, “I am too busy, my weekend is busier that my work week”, you are too busy. Where is your preparation time? When does God refresh you so you can effectively minister to your kids and husband and care for yourself?
Back to the verse in Psalms, if God showed you your life’s end, the number of your days, would you still pack every second of it the way you are today?
Second, I use the cleanness and organization of my house as an indicator of how busy I am. Now, I am not a clean freak, but If I don’t have time to mop my own floors every other week or cook dinner several nights a week, then something is wrong. How many of us take full time jobs and spend most of that paycheck on someone to clean our house and eat out? Titus chapter two speaks of how we are to love our husbands and children and care for our household. As moms, we live the cycle of not doing enough for everyone, feeling exhausted and not appreciated and then taking on more responsibility because we feel like we are not doing enough. STOP! Your child does not have to play a sport every season to get a college scholarship, he will get into a good college even if he doesn’t take 6 AP courses and summer school, she doesn’t have to be a professional dancer to enjoy herself! I think we over busy our children sometimes to justify that we are “giving them everything we didn’t have” when actually we are feeding into the plan of the enemy to steal peace and joy from our family. Here’s another question I would ask myself, how peaceful is my home? When your children or husband walk in the door at the end of the day what do they find? Are you even home? I can remember when James and I were separated and I knew he would be coming by the house to see Avery and pay the bills. I would straighten up and often cook something just so the house smelled inviting and was peaceful. Although he rarely stayed long enough to eat, he did notice. He found that his home was a sanctuary, a place of peace and rest. I know God used that to bring him back. We all need a place of rest and peace. Our home should be that sanctuary and as a woman, that’s our job, that’s our joy, to make our house a home for our family.
This is not a guilt trip but rather a wake up call, I pray. I think you can see where I am coming from. When you wake up one morning, and think you are going to the beach for a run with a few friends but get a phone call and find out your husband if fighting for his life after a tragic accident, suddenly life looks a bit different. I pray you never get “that phone call” but learn from one who has. STOP! If you find that the only time you see your kids is driving them to their activities after school, or your husband has become just someone who “helps you with the kids” or you can’t remember the last time you all sat down as a family to a meal you cooked, pray like the Psalmist, Lord, let me know how fleeting my life is, because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.