I walked into the kitchen early in the morning and was delighted to find that the scent of sunscreen still lingered in the air. I spotted the now-empty orange beach bag slung over one of the kitchen table chairs and a smile broke across my face as memories filled my mind.
A verse from my quiet time the day before had seemed to leap off the page and issue a challenge to my heart: “Oh how sweet the light of day and how wonderful to live in the sunshine! Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted. Take delight in each light-filled hour.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4, The Message).
It was as if I could see the twinkle in Jesus’ eye as He invited me into the day ahead, to experience LIFE in all its fullness with Him.
“For today, show me how to delight in everything, Jesus. Show me the wonder of now,” was my prayer.
Shortly after I uttered that prayer, the phone rang and I was able to have a long, heart-to-heart chat with a dear friend.
Thank You, Jesus, for the precious gift of friendship… for leading me to these dear ones so we can share this journey through life. It is such a joy to laugh, cry, pray and dream together. They inspire me and strengthen me, especially when life is hard. I see You in them.
After the phone call, the singing of the birds and the bright sunshine drew me outside into the beautiful summer day:
Jesus, thank You for the beauty of Your creation. The fact that You have created all that we see is awe-inspiring. It boggles my mind to think that all the beauty of this earth are mere shadows of Your even more surpassing and glorious beauty. You have placed enchanting and shimmering treasures all around me that continually draw me into Your delightful and magnificent heart…always give me eyes to see.
A quick check of Facebook revealed happy photos of a young family who had been separated by war and horrifying injury but are now joyfully reunited…healing, flashing happy smiles, loving each other, cherishing the moments, looking ahead to a rich future, celebrating life.
Thank You Jesus for the amazing bravery of those who serve this great country in which we are privileged to live. Thank You for this young man’s life and for protecting him so that he could return to his family who need him so much. May they never take their time together for granted and may they live for You the rest of their days.
A text came from my son, telling me that the barbecue for the track team was scheduled that afternoon at a local beach. Could I drive a friend who needed a ride?
Julia and I headed to the school and two sad-looking boys climbed into the car.
Their band teacher had just told them that he would be retiring at the end of this school year. The news hit them hard. He is a special teacher who truly loves music and the kids in his classroom. He will be sorely missed and extremely hard to replace.
Jesus, thank You for the gift of this man, who has been such a bright light in so many students’ lives. Josh has learned so much from him. His sense of humor, kindness, and love for music will long be remembered by his students. Let this serve as a reminder that nothing stays the same for long in this world. We must treasure our good times, not taking anything for granted because seasons can change so suddenly. Help me to fully live this season that is before me now.
After dropping the kids off at the beach, Julia and I headed across the street to a charming cafe that boasts wonderful views of the lake. We each ordered an ice cream and took a seat by the window. I looked up as someone entered the cafe from the back and was pleasantly surprised to see an older lady from our church. I had no idea she owned this business with her sons.
We were able to visit between customers. I was sad to learn that in the span of just a few months, she has lost a sister, a brother, and an uncle. So much loss. Tears shone in her eyes and she practically whispered, “But God is good.”
“Yes, He is. But it still hurts,” I said softly, assuring her that I would keep her in my prayers and stop into the cafe more often.
Thank You, Jesus that You draw especially near and comfort us when our hearts are breaking; that You keep track of every tear that falls; that You listen to every concern we have. Thank You especially for the Cross and taking away the sting of death forever. Thank You for hope in the midst of pain. Let this dear woman strongly feel Your Presence as she lives in this unwelcome new reality. Fill her with hope and give her beauty for ashes.
After savoring our ice cream, Julia and I walked back to the beach.
Despite the oppressive heat, the trees offered refreshing shade and we enjoyed the breeze sweeping in from the water. I drank in all the beauty around me. Julia and I chatted and I enjoyed watching the kids swim, chase each other around, play on the playground, and crowd around the grill as the coaches prepared the burgers and hot dogs. Bursts of laughter were frequent.
Jesus, thank You for these kids. You love each one of them and long for them to know You. Reveal Yourself to them. Thank You for their dedicated coaches who have taught them how to compete with excellence, grace, and goodwill. Thank You for this perfect summer day and allowing all of us to be in good health to enjoy it.
When the last burger was eaten and the soda bottles were empty, the party ended and we headed home. Josh had homework to do, so Doug, Julia, and I went to Burger King for dinner, followed by a Walmart run. Our time together was light and full of laughter.
Thank You, Jesus for the precious gift of my family. Thank You for laughter and juicy burgers and salty French fries. As I am able to fill my cart with groceries, thank You for Your abundant provision. Thank You for always providing my daily bread. Let me never forget how blessed I am to live in this country.
That night, as the sun set below the mountains, my heart was full. Joys, heartaches, disappointments…I experienced the entire day with Jesus, interacting with Him all day long. His Presence electrifies, transforms, soothes, and beautifies… and adds a richness to all my moments.
As a new day opens before you, won’t you invite Him in to fill each light-filled hour? I’d love to hear about it!
“As the letter to the Hebrews proclaims, ‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!’ Let us sit at His feet; let us hear His heart and feel His embrace; let us gaze into His smile, hear His laughter, touch the hem of His garment and be liberated into His joy! Ultimate joy! The joy of Jesus!
He’s calling you today. He’s here and He’s calling your name and He’s saying, ‘Follow Me.’ —Sherwood Wirt, Jesus Man of Joy