Thursday, August 10, 2017
Grace For Today
I am a planner. Nothing makes me happier than having at least 5-6 separate calendars (which by the way all say the exact same thing). Not only do I enjoy filling in the events of the new month, but if I could stretch it out for an entire year, I'd be in heaven. Each summer when I buy a new lesson plan book for the school year, I love filling in every single school day. I number off the different six weeks, as well as mark all holidays and teacher workdays with a bright fun color. As much as I hate to admit it, yes...you will find my lesson plan months of April and May written on when school starts each August (eeeeekk, in lightly sketched pencil of course).
I've always made lists, charts, and graphs. Even as a little girl. I once made a chart listing every stuffed animal I owed. It seemed inhumane and cruel to only get to sleep with 1 or 2 each night, so I came up with a logical solution. Each got their own special turn to sleep with me, and afterwards received a colorful checkmark on my homemade graph to document the occasion.
I know I come by this naturally. My mom still to this day is the master list maker. She as well has 5-6 separate calendars, as well as too many lists for my poor dad to keep up with. It's inherited. No telling how far back on either side of my gene pool it goes.
There are numerous advantages to being like this; however, the older I've gotten and now with my own family to keep track of, I'm finding it almost crippling at times. I quickly get very overwhelmed each new season trying to organize everyone's separate schedules and commitments. I'm so used to looking long term, and it's hard to break that horrible habit of needing control.
This summer I came across a video from an amazing pastor/author John Piper. His message struck so deeply with me. I listened to this excerpt from one of his teachings over and over and over. He talked about 2 different passages that he felt were sovereignly intertwined.
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
"The LORD's lovingkindness indeed never ceases. For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness."
Both verses were very familiar to me. In fact the one in Lamentations had become my go-to verse during Caed's illness. But how Piper wove the two together, were just what I needed. Isn't it funny how the Lord does that? Verses we've known and memorized all our life...suddenly become new (specific to our current need).
We will all go through trials of various kinds. The Bible tells us this! It says "...do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you..."(1 Peter 4:12) It also tells us that ..."He is faithful and His mercies are new every morning." So how do these verses apply to someone like me? Someone who looks down the endless corridor of a new school year and quite honestly says, "I can't do it, Lord. I know what's coming, and I know I don't have the strength to walk it again. My mind, my body, my spirit will give way. I just can't."
God gave me this answer (through Piper's interpretation of Scripture):
I love you more than you will ever be able to comprehend. I don't like seeing you in pain. I do not take delight in allowing trials into your life. What I do desire is seeing you become Christ-like. When you are able to see past the various troubles in your life and know confidently they are not there to harm you; but rather grow you, mature your faith, and deepen your reliance on Me. In doing so, you are sharing in My sufferings. Yes, I allow tough situations into your life. I do have a certain amount of troubles planned for every one of your days. Don't add to it! Don't pile unnecessary troubles to your day that don't belong there. Just as I have portioned out those daily trials, I equally lavish upon you mercies to sustain you through them. I do not give you mercy today....for tomorrow's problems. Quit looking ahead. Of course you can't do it. I haven't equipped you to handle yesterday's troubles and all of tomorrow's uncertainties TODAY. Focus on ME. Cling to ME. Trust ME. Today. Right now. Then...guess what? Tomorrow morning when I open your eyes and allow you to breathe in a new day, all the mercies you will need for THAT DAY, will be there. Not an ounce more. Not an ounce less. When you feel overwhelmed, remember...you are trying to handle future problems with today's graces...or you have added your own troubles into the day that were never supposed to be there. I am the master mathematician and trust me when I tell you it can't be done. Just breathe. Take every minute as it comes. When you ask for strength in the moment, I will lovingly provide it to you. When you need courage in the moment, I will place my armor on you. When you need rest in the moment, I will miraculously fill you. When you need peace in the moment, I will breathe my calmness into your lungs. Cast all your anxieties on Me. Don't try to conquer them on your own. Simply worrying about them, will only add to the weight you are trying to carry.
Quit looking at tomorrow. Just focus on ME...today.
Be still and know...I am Your God and I love you!