The Gift of Today
by Cindi McMenamin
A mom of two daughters, ages 2 and 6 months, recently asked me for advice on those days when she has a hard time just getting up and getting going.
I remember those days, feeling life was taking a lot out of me. Feeling my child was needing so much from me. And, at times, feeling I had so little left to give. I survived those days by …
…taking some advice from Moses in Psalm 90:12. It was a simple prayer of his that refocused me on what was most important and warned me not to wish away that season of life too quickly:
“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”
God has already numbered our days, and in some cases, He allows us to know when our end is coming close so we can be careful to live those last few days or weeks or months wisely. But most of us have no idea when we will draw our last breath. So, with that in mind, asking God to help us number our days, or be aware that our lives will someday come to an end, is one way of saying “Lord, help me live in a way that counts. Give me discernment to know what will last and what will not so I can live wisely.”
It’s natural, at times when our children are young, to want to stay under the covers and not face the day, especially when you feel like getting out of bed will result in feeling run down. But our altitude (how high we can keep our spirits, or how low we can sink in motivation or despair) is directly affected by our attitude. So, we need to remember the reason we still live, breathe, and have our being.
We were created to love God and enjoy Him forever. He’s given us certain blessings that we only have so long on this earth to enjoy. So when life starts to feel like drudgery, we must “number our days” so we can live wisely. As you lie in bed, tired mom, searching for your motivation to get up and get going, here are some facts you can focus on — and some ways you can “number” your days:
- Life is short. Make these 12 hours of daylight count by doing at least one thing you’ve never done before.
- Your children are growing fast. Do something with them today that they will remember throughout their childhood.
- You aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow…for yourself or your children. What one thing can you do to make this day stand out in your mind — and theirs — as a gift from God?
- You are on a limited-time assignment. God has given you a task to raise these children and it will be over in a matter of years that will race by like seconds. Study them today. Memorize their little faces. Take notes on what you observe. Make every moment with them count.
And once those reminders drive you out of bed, here are some practical things you can do to maintain your energy throughout the day:
- Go on a brisk walk (or a fun stroller-ride for them) to get your heart-rate up. Just by exercising, you’ll be adding energy into your day, along with increased endorphins which will improve your mood.
- Watch the clock and eat a high-protein energy snack every two- to three hours. Fuelling your body, physically, will help you mentally and emotionally, as well.
- Take a “power nap” when the kids go down for their naps. A lack of sleep could be making you feel listless and lifeless. Or, just lie there and relax…talk to God or play some worship music and let it soothe your soul.
- Get outdoors. Just feeling the grass under your feet, the sun on your back or a cool breeze on your face will remind you, again, that life is short and you were created to love God and enjoy Him (and what He’s created) forever.
- Find the view — even if it’s a butterfly seen from your kitchen window or a bird perched on your backyard fence. When we see and experience life and beauty, it will focus our minds and freshen our souls.
It feels like just moments ago when I was wishing my daughter was a little older and I could have a little more time to myself. But today, as I finish writing this article, she is away at college and I am counting the hours when I will see her again.
Remember, dear mom….life is short, children grow quickly, and messy houses (and piles of laundry) can wait. Our exhaustion from the tasks at hand lasts only for the moment.
“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.” (Isaiah 40:31, The Message)
God is faithful and will equip you with what you need to get through not only this day but this season of life. So get out of bed, and live it to the fullest, treasuring the time you have with your little ones while they’re still little. You’ll never get this day to do over again.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and with others. She has authored more than a dozen books including When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, When God Sees Your Tears, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, When Couples Walk Together (co-authored with her husband, Hugh), and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her resources to help strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.