Did you take delight today in witnessing the twinkle in your daughter’s eyes as she squeezed three skittles into her hand? Was the encouraging phone conversation today a mental “aha” reminder of the blessing of a friend? Can you recall a moment today that you soaked up its delight? If you’re like most single parents, you involuntarily overlooked such thoughts. Who has time for twilight instances when there are so many responsibilities at hand?
One reality that kept me from enjoying the present as a former single mom was feeling entombed between the past and the future. If I thought about the past, it made me hurt. If I thought about the future, it made me afraid. In the meanwhile, I had no choice but to continue life in my gerbil cage – washing dirty faces in the bathtub at 7:30pm along with other routine activities. And though I knew what God’s Word had to say about both the past and the future, His instruction concerning the present rarely took root:
- The past – Put your hand to the plow and don’t look back. – Luke 9:62. In other words, you can’t reach for tomorrow if your arms are wrapped around yesterday.
- The future – Don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. – Matthew 6:34. In other words, why take tomorrow’s grace into today’s worries.
- The present – Make the most of each day. – Ephesians 5:16. In other words, lost opportunities may never be regained.
Friends, the day is coming. Your children will be grown and gone someday. Don’t look back some day and wish you would have been more intentional. Rather, dress yourself with “the present.” Here’s how.
Purchase a heart pendant. It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Find one in the Hallmark store. Put it on your shoulder or on your desk as a reminder of God’s love for you. Contemplate how you’ve seen His presence in your day. Did you know that the Greek definition for present literally means “facing”? God is facing us always. His face is always turned toward us. He’s always making eye contact with us. He always wants us to know we are not alone and that He’s always active in our NOW. His name is the Great I AM – present tense, not I WAS, or I WILL BE. You can take “heart” that even though you don’t see His work, it doesn’t mean He’s not there. God wills for your success. I simply adore 2 Samuel 22:36-37 – “God stoops to make you great.”
Put on protective eye glasses. Buy the kind with flaps on each side, blocking the vision to the right or left. Take time to intentionally “see” the blessings in front of you, avoiding distractions. Notice – on purpose – God’s character behind the scenes or the little evidences of His glory: the spring grass turning green, the sunrise. God’s wonders flourish all around us. Practice mindfulness. Psalm 71:14-15 instructs: But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth shall TELL of your faithfulness. How can we tell if we don’t notice? Look! And then tell your children what you see. Show them by example how to speak well of God (that’s called giving God glory). Make it your goal to make the Father’s name increase. Refuse to worry. Refuse to calculate of what “might” happen. Living in the present means seeing today as part of the puzzle piece of how God’s forming Christ in you.
Purchase a helmet. Our thoughts get us into trouble. Be cognizant about who or what is ringing the doorbell of your mind. Taken from my new book coming out March 30, 2014, The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions: “Pinpoint your thoughts. Start thinking about what you’re ‘thinking about.’ So often we float through the day letting our thoughts run wild without harnessing them. Be proactive. What are you thinking about? When you spot a thought that’s leading you away from God, call it out by name. ‘Fear, come out of me in Jesus’ name.’ When you exercise Kingdom authority, destructive emotions come under His control.” And why should we pay attention to our thoughts? They determine our perspective of tomorrow and serve as God’s compass for today.
Friend, there is only one day that is important – NOW! It is the most important because it is all we have.