What is today? Living with a chronic illness is today. It was yesterday, the day before that, the day before that…and it will be tomorrow and the next day and the next day. It is everyday. It is a part of who I am just as being a wife, mother, daugther, sister and friend is whether others see it or not…care or not…believe ir or not…remember or not. It will always be there. How I think of it however is not in terms of tomorrow. I cannot allow myself to think about being in pain for the rest of my life. One might think that I am burying my head on the sand. On the contrary…I simply have today. We all do. Today is what I have. What you have. A gift given to me…to you…by the great Creator and Sustainer of all life. The question is…regardless of our circumstances…what are we doing with today?
What I have learned after all too often making the mistake of allowing myself to think in terms of being in pain for the rest of my life is that God doesn’t give me grace for that. He gives me my daily bread…exactly what I need for today. He doesn’t give me comfort or peace for my thoughts of what this could turn into next year…or how I will feel when I am 60…or whether I will have the strength to keep picking up my sweet little Jackson the way I did my first 2 babies as he is getting heavier. It’s when I dwell on these things that I crumble. I am told not to worry about tomorrow…I am told to focus on whatever is true and right and lovely. I have today…I have the Lord…I have grace…I have much!
Pretending I’ve always had such an outlook would be wrong. I was living a mediocre Christian life…lukewarm at best…when I was struck with this seeming curse 9 years ago. I went from mediocre to the lowest of lows. But over time God took me one small step at a time from rock bottom…slowly but surely…to soaring on the wings of the wonders of His love…immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine. I needed to be broken…taken to the depths to be able to reach the heights of experiencing the continual blessings of finding joy in suffering. Joy…more than mere happiness…the result of gratefulness and gratitude. What makes my heart sing for joy? What makes it want to burst at the seams and shout from the rooftops? No matter what it is…great or small…it came from the Lord because of His amazing grace…something I cannot…did not…will ever earn.
I have today. What I am finding is that each today is different from one another. Today could be one of overflowing joy…yet it could be one of failure. Today could be one of peace…it could also be one of doubt, tears and pain. But no matter what today brings it is still a gift. God is always Who He says He is…He is always good no matter what today seems to be. But am I really living in this today?
I am commanded to be a living sacrifice. Do those two words go together? When we hear the word sacrifice we think death. I am to die to myself and live through Christ who lives in me. But how? We often think we need to give things up for the Lord in order to be a Christian…but He already paid the price for our freedom when He died on the cross for our sins. For instance I have felt led to “give up” eating “normally” and begin what is known as the Daniel Fast this coming Wednesday…21 days of only fruits, vegetables and water. Most say it’s radical or hard core or extreme…I say it’s a detox I really believe my body needs. I have a whole host of emerging health issues that probably do stem from the phantom diagnosis of Fibromyalsia but they also could very well could have something to do with what is going into my body. Though it won’t be easy, I need to at least start there though this fast will be much more than the mere physical. We live physically…sure…but we all know going through the motions of life isn’t really living. God has much more in store for me I have a feeling…so I don’t think in the end I’ll be giving anything up compared to what I receive in turn…and I cannot wait to hear from Him.
In addition to the fast I had felt compelled in the past few days to begin doing the dare to live fully challenge and keeping track, a running list of 1000 gifts I am grateful for in 2012 based on the book by Ann Voskamp (http://aholyexperience.com). I thought it might be too much to commit to in addition to my fast and my pain and struggle and sufferings and my quiet time and my prayer time and my husband and my children and my bible study and my small group and my house and cooking and laundry and, and, and…is being grateful for all that I have been so graciously given though I don’t deserve a darn thing ever too much? An email I received from a friend from bible study this afternoon was exactly the answer I needed. She dared our entire group to live fully and find joy in 1000 gifts in 2012. There’s even an app for it! The answer…I’m on #9…gratitude is never too much.
Will you join me? No matter what your struggle or your sufferings you have the same gracious gift as I do. Today. Do you dare to live fully? Take the 1000 gifts challenge!