First, a thank you for hanging with me as I share what God has been teaching me since the beginning of this year! You can read the intro to this update here. But in a nutshell, this series is a description of where I’ve been since January (and why I’ve been away from this blog for so long!), listing the convictions that God laid heavy on my heart at the turn of the year, followed by journal entries that catalog my growth and experiences in that area. Click on the links to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. In this 4th part, I’ll share about the second resolution that has defined my practices and made life sweeter and more intentional than before! I hope it resonates with someone today and makes a difference in your life.
Resolved Two: To Number my Days
I was so surprised this past October when my husband took off work to accompany my mom and the kids and me to the pumpkin patch. He is a family man, in every sense of the word, but during a very busy time of the year when so many things are vying for his pastoral time of study in the office, I thought he would have to forgo this trip.
“You’re really going?” I asked, thrilled as a farmer on harvest day.
“Of course I am,” he replied.
“I just thought you had to be in the office a lot this week…” I said.
“Listen,” he explained, “Gideon is 8 years old. The way I calculate it, I might have four or less pumpkin patch days with him before he has outgrown it. I wouldn’t miss this. I can work on Saturday.”
I was sort of dumbstruck for a minute.
I am one of the most “cherish every moment” moms you’ll ever meet. I mean, I tiptoe into my kids’ room every single night and watch each one of them breathe. I have photo-documented nearly every day of their existence. I deeply inhale the scent of their pacifiers, for fun.
But this idea of literally “numbering my days”…as in, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc…was not something I had ever really considered.
It is just so easy to slip into auto-pilot, especially when you’ve lived in the same place for awhile. You get into your routine of going to church, going to sleep, waking up, doing homeschool, going to bed, waking up, and so on and so forth until, I don’t know, your kids graduate and leave you weeping, in shock, in your empty nest!!!!!
But carrying around an acute – not to be confused with mournful – awareness of how short our lives are, how mist-like and here-this-instance-and-gone the next our existence really is, well, I think it changes things.
It helps us to choose the best thing, for instance, taking off work for an afternoon and going to the pumpkin patch, even if that means having to work on Saturday.
And it can apply to so much more than just childhood.
I hope this idea of “numbering my days” will help me to appreciate every single moment spent with my parents, whether it is at their house or my house or on the phone.
That I will drink in the gift of being in my daddy’s Sunday School class, knowing it will not last forever.
That I will stop and look around me at our family holidays, surrounded by siblings and siblings-in-law and nieces and nephews, and be SO grateful that we have all gathered in the same room once more on this side of heaven.
That I will go on walks with my littles, knowing they may not reach for my hand or pluck wildflowers for much longer.
That I will physically enjoy my husband while we are young and even halfway energetic.
That I will spend spare time reading to my kids instead of reading updates on Facebook, because there are SO MANY books to share and I can only read so fast.
That I will sit and talk with the members of my church body, and listen to them, while the opportunity is still mine. Especially our senior citizens.
That I will invest in my young nieces and nephews and go to their birthday parties and write them letters, garnering friendships with them that will serve us for a lifetime.
That I will be mindful when we pick out our annual Christmas tree that this experience is a privilege. Eight Christmas trees we’ve enjoyed as a family…how many more? I want to cherish each one.
That I will execute enough wisdom to know when to postpone an afternoon of cleaning to play American Girl dolls with my daughters who, at the very least, will only be little girls for 5 and 7 more years.
That I will let my kids climb in bed with me, keeping in mind that there are only so many days in their life that they’ll even want to do that.
It only takes a minute to feel passionate about this resolution, and here’s why: I know how old we all are, and I KNOW that not a one of us will live on this earth, in this capacity, forever. There’s just no getting around that. As snow comes in winter and swimming comes in summer, so courtship comes before marriage, toy-playing comes with childhood and nursing comes with infancy. In other words, this day I’m living is part of a season, even if it is too big for me to see, and it might be a season I never get to experience again.
And so I’m going to keep track and plan accordingly…
just like that guy who closed up his office and accompanied us to the pumpkin patch.