April is finally here, but as I sat down to write this, soft, fluffy snow flakes were falling from an overcast sky like tiny bits of cotton candy dropped from the hand of God. I noticed on social media that some of my friends were unhappy about waking up to several inches of sparkly powder after sunny 60 degree weather the day before. But, as the song goes, my fire was so delightful, so I was content to let it snow! You have got to love springtime in the Rockies!
I’m excited about what the moisture will do for our newly seeded lawn, and I’m hoping against hope that a wet spring will mean July’s Independence Day celebration will be, as John Adams wrote to his wife, “celebrated by…guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…” Yet, I digress.
But as I sat by my cozy fire with my feet propped up and steaming tea in hand, I was reminded of another snowy day back in January; the day I made commitments and wrote them in a prayer journal and talked to God about the changes I wanted to make in the coming year. Ah, yes, it felt so good to believe I could change the world for Christ, and the first month of 2014 shown bright with hope and purpose.
And now it’s April.
I look back through that journal now and wonder where my holy ambition charged off to and at what point my firm conviction became whimpering indifference. It can be difficult to change the world for Christ amidst “getting it all done” at home while working and mothering a two-year-old. My moaning mantra for the entire month of February was, “There simply are not enough hours in this day or days in this month!” and I whined and pouted my way though 28 days of noticing the wind and looking at the waves (Matthew 14:30). March came in like a whirlwind and left with a whisper, and now it’s three days into the fourth month.
I stood up from my comfy fireside retreat and walked over to my refrigerator where I have a small piece of paper held to the freezer door by a magnet, on which is a quote from a friend of mine.
I sighed, then half-smiled. I hadn’t failed to get it all done, I had just failed to submit my plans to the Lord, place them all at His feet, and work at them with all my heart, as unto Him (Colossians 3:23). I had failed to do the next thing.
Elizabeth Elliot, wife of murdered missionary Jim Elliot, was a young mother when she was widowed. She then spent two years in Ecuador serving the Huaorani tribe members who killed her husband. When she returned to the jungle after Jim’s death, she had to learn a great deal of how to run the station that they had before manned together, as well as caring for their 10-month-old daughter alone. In an interview, Elisabeth once said of her new tasks:
“Have you had the experience of feeling as if you’ve got far too many burdens to bear, far too many people to take care of, far too many things on your list to do? …Well, I’ve felt that way a good many times in my life, and…it was a great help to me to simply do the next thing. That is a wonderfully saving truth. Just do the next thing.”
In truth, we can strive to train our children, be a helper to our husbands, keep our homes clean, and serve those around us, but though we are to seek Christ’s purposes continually, it is God who completes the work (Philippians 2:13). When our eyes are opened and our hearts are ready to receive the power of His presence and grace into the precious moments and activities of our days, we will be changed – and so will our to-do lists and commitments.
We can change the world for Christ, ladies. Unto Him and by His grace, just do the next thing.