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Changed


I begin 2012 a much different person than I was this time last year.

The death of my cousin David has had a profound effect on my life and I will never be the same.

A quote by author Ray Steadman perfectly describes how I feel:

” Life has a way of breaking down our neat answers. Pain, suffering, loss, tragedy—these things crash into our lives and make a mess of our theological and philosophical niceties.” excerpt from Let God Be God.

One of the definitions of the word ‘neat’ means: ” a pleasingly orderly condition.”

If I am honest, I used to look at my life that way. I obviously didn’t know every detail of what would happen, but I had a pretty good idea of how it would go:  long marriage where both Doug and I would live to an old age, healthy kids, retirement, grandchildren, then the golden years.

Not necessarily.

The truth is, I have no idea what will happen tomorrow, let alone in the next five minutes. David’s sudden and shocking death taught me that. Life can change in an instant.

We are a frail and fragile people. For all our bluster and posturing, we are “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

We live like our lives on earth will go on forever.

They will not.

Your days on this earth are numbered.

So are mine.

The Bible could not be clearer on that subject…

All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16)

A man’s days are already determined and the number of his months is wholly in Your control…he cannot pass the bounds of his allotted time. (Job 14:5)

We all have an allotted number of days in this life that are known only to the God who created us.

So, the question becomes: what will we do with that allotted time?

I know what I am going to do with mine:

1. The rest of the time I have on this earth will not be taken for granted. 

I will live the life out of every single day. I will celebrate the gift of now.

2. I will be purposeful.

Everyone ends up somewhere. But few people end up somewhere on purpose.“—Andy Stanley

It’s easy to drift through the days.

No more.

3. I will not live in fear.

Fear or faith? Those are my choices and I choose faith. Fear has no place in the life of a Christian. Will I feel fear? Yes. But I do not have to act on it. I have nothing to fear. My Savior has overcome the world. He has conquered death and holds my life in His hands. He will never leave me. His plans for me are good. His power overcomes my weaknesses and He is always willing to lead me in triumph.

4. I will rest in the fact that God is sovereign.

There are things in this life that I will never understand this side of Heaven. When tragedy strikes, I will cling to know what I know is true: that my God is GOOD.  His ways are not our ways. He knows what He is doing and makes no mistakes. I will trust Him even as I cry out to Him in my pain, knowing that He sees; He cares; He knows..and He is always at work, even when I can’t see it.

“Our infinite God will never fit into the finite little box of human understanding.”–Ray Steadman

5. I will meet whatever challenges I face head on.

“I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me.” —Philippians 4:13 (Amplified version)

That verse says it all.

6. I will let the little things go. 

Life is too short for petty complaints and grievances. They just don’t matter. I will not waste any energy on such things.

7. I will not waste my pain. 

Jesus clearly told us that  that in this life, there would be pain. (John 10:10). It is part of living in the midst of a fallen world. Any pain that He allows comes with great intention and purpose. He is always seeking deeper intimacy with me, to draw me closer to His heart. He longs to teach me His ways, to reveal His plan for my life. If I give my pain to Him,  He promises to give me beauty for ashes, to bring life from death, gain from loss, healing from heartache, and restoration from brokenness.

I will let Him teach me everything I need to learn. I will let Him tend to my wounded heart and love me to wholeness.

8. I will be content.

My prayer is that I will not  be reaching for more of anything but Jesus.

I will choose contentment with whatever He gives. As long as I have Him, I have everything I need.

9. I will leave nothing unsaid that should be said.

I want everyone I love to know it. No holding back.

10. I will follow Jesus wherever He leads me.

No turning back. No hesitation. I am His, body and soul.

******

For Christmas this year, my son Josh gave me this charm bracelet:

I love it.

At first, I wasn’t sure why he had added a watch and  such a big one at that ( I did like the fact that he had picked the watch with the most “bling” though..he does know his mother! 🙂 ).

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how absolutely perfect it was.

The watch is bigger than any of the other charms…reminding me that TIME is one of the most important gifts I have been given.

It is so precious.

..Every day is a bank account
And time is our currency
So nobody’s rich, nobody’s poor
We get 24 hours each
So how are you gonna spend:
Will you invest or squander?

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
Life means so much
Life means so much

Every day is a gift you’ve been given
Make the most of the time every minute you’re living. (Life Means So Much by Chris Rice)

This is the year that I fully open that gift.

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