Number Your Days

numberdaysTomorrow we will watch my beautiful {step}daughter graduate from Creighton. Her major: tree-hugging (that’s what she says, but I think the diploma technically says environmental science).

She’s worked so hard over her four years of college with challenging coursework. She pushed herself out of her comfort zone to study abroad in Ghana. And she’s worked hard in class while working part-time jobs. It’s understandable, but she was more than ready for classes to be done – for school commitments to be done – and to be moving on with life.

Where has four years gone?

In two weeks, my thirteen-year-old will be done with seventh grade. He’s ready for school to be done for summer; for the fun and camps and vacation to start.

Wasn’t I just picking him up from his last day of kindergarten, his shining little face smiling at me with a crazy hat made from a coffee filter on his head?

And speaking of kindergarten, in a few short months my youngest will start the school journey. She just experienced kindergarten roundup and was so excited to pick out her clothes for the day, meet new friends, and learn letters. She loves summer, but she can’t wait for it to be done so school can start.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I held her tiny body in my arms, as her arms flailed while she was attempting to soothe herself by sucking her thumb for the first time?

Here they all are, yearning for something to be finished and over and complete so they can rush on to the next thing that life offers. I find myself feeling bittersweet about these changes and slightly sad to see phases of life coming to end. We always say time flies, a blur of commitments and memories.

The quick pace of our lives and its fleeting nature is well-documented in Scripture. Psalm 39, verses 4-5 asks God to remind us:

Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.

Fleeting. A wisp. A breath.

What a contrast to the eternal nature of our God. Psalm 90 so wonderfully talk about His steadfast, everlasting presence in verses 1-4.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
   from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn people back to dust,
    saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
    or like a watch in the night.

While the psalmist in the same chapter knows life is fleeting, in verses 10 and 12 he prays for something so essential for us mortals in this life.

Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Numbering our days. Gaining a heart of wisdom. If I number my days, I have to be conscious and present in the moments that God has blessed me with. The moments of busy-ness at work. The piano lessons. The nights up with a sick child. The firsts and the lasts. Without numbering those days and seeing those blessings, I don’t think I’ll be blessed with the wisdom that leads to the eternal.

Because ultimately, not being present in the moments I’m granted from God doesn’t allow me to be focused on God’s will for the bigger picture of my life and my eternity. James 4:14-15 says it well:

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

Today, I’m going to give thanks to God for the gifts He has given me, right here and now. I pray He grants me the strength to number my days and to gain that heart of wisdom that sees His blessings both here and in eternity.

Numbering my days,

Jen Clark

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