This is the Day

We are coming up on my favorite time of year (isn’t it everyone’s?). This year, though, I feel keenly aware of just how quickly it will pass. Not just because this time of year is full of events, parties, and celebrations on top of the everyday busyness, but because time just passes more quickly now than it used to.

Yet, despite repeatedly recognizing and reminding myself of this reality, I have struggled to remain joyfully present in the rhythms of daily life. A hard day with the toddlers, a day plagued by irrational anxiety, a mile-long to-do list, a night of interrupted sleep, fear of the future…all become the reasons I give for a lack of joy as I shift to simply surviving the day. Too often I have woken up in the morning and viewed the day as a burden, as something to get through.

I don’t know when the Lord convicted me of this sinful perspective, but it was sometime in the year or two after I had babies. When you begin to view time through the rapidly changing faces of your children, life starts to look a lot shorter. It was then that Psalm 118:24 truly took root in my heart and mind:

This is the day the Lord has made;
let’s rejoice and be glad in it.


Stewarding the Day

Psalm 118:24 now lives semi-permanently on the letter board in my kitchen, beside my coffee pot. It’s the first thing I see when I get up in the morning. I want to view each day as a gift—to recognize that God sustained me through the night and gives me life and breath for another day.

I felt like I gained a fresh perspective on this recently when I was down for the count with a decently bad headache. I rarely get sick—particularly with a headache—in a way that renders me unable to do much of anything. I’m also a terrible sick person, which combined with a case of hypochondria, left me in a horrible mood. I spent the morning trying to rest—but actually rest, not just lay around. By that I mean I tried to find the peace and rest that can only come from dwelling in the Lord and trusting that He orders my steps each day.

I listened to worship music, prayed, walked around my neighborhood, took a bath, and read portions of books that I thought might help me renew my mind. I came across the entry for a “sick day” in Every Moment Holy. One passage of the liturgy read:

A day such as this, in which I endure
a measure of sickness or unease,
is a reminder that the redemption of all
things is not yet complete. It is a reminder
that this body will decline and one day fail,
and so it is also a reminder that the ways
I spend my days matter—for my hours,
revealed like veins of gold beneath a rushing
stream, are a limited resource to be
purposefully mined or forever lost.

All the ways I spend my days matter, for once the day passes, I don’t get it back. I know this, in theory. It’s why I’ve spent so much time reading about and developing habits. Just like my physical health, finances, and opportunities, the day is something I should steward well, for it will soon be gone.

My fridge is full of pictures my daughter drew of our family, complete with curly hair on the drawing of her brother—a skill she developed seemingly overnight. Suddenly both of my kids are out of diapers. There are lines on my forehead and under my eyes that didn’t used to be there. These are just a handful of the many reminders each day that time waits for no one.

My inclination is to stress about it, to bemoan time’s passing—but what good would that do? The solution is not to flip out about something I have no control over. The solution is found in Psalm 118:24.


I Will Rejoice

Tim Challies recently wrote an article called, “The House Seems Large Today.” His writing has blessed me tremendously over the last few years, but this article wrecked me. It had been a hard week and I was not being particularly grateful, joyful, or kind to my family. I was certainly not being present nor rejoicing in each day. That happened to be the same week that Challies published this article. It’s written with the wisdom that I’ve begun to crave from those who are in later stages of life, those who know only too well that life is fleeting. I desperately need their reminders.

One day, these lines on my face will become deeper and new ones will appear. Soon, my kids won’t be excited when the garbage truck drives by on Thursday mornings. They won’t want to sit by me (or on me) at every meal. They won’t run around the house in costumes anymore. The house will stay clean and quiet because, if the Lord allows it, they’ll grow up and have their own homes and families. Except then, I won’t care so much if it’s clean or quiet. Someday, maybe soon, I’ll have to say goodbye to my grandmothers who are now both in their nineties.

The future holds a million unknown possibilities, and I don’t even know what the rest of today holds. But I have a good Father in heaven for whom tomorrow, next year, ten years from now, and even eternity is not a surprise. I can be confident that God’s mercies are new every morning and His grace is sufficient for each new day. That confidence doesn’t always come too easily. To be present and joyful requires a lot of work on my part and I frequently fail at it. But as the days grow shorter (in more than one way), I know that I must become a good steward of today to honor the Lord and the time He has given me.

Today is a gift. Rejoice.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash