12,995. In five days, Lord willing, I will cross another milestone, and I didn’t have a clue of this milestone until I figured it out today. 12,995—the number of days I have lived here on planet earth.
Honestly, it is not very often that I stop and look at my life through this microscopic lens. I tend to use the broader lens and think of my life in seasons. “When I was a kid,” “When I was in college” “When we were newlyweds,” “When our kids were babies.”
I’ve always been inspired by movies like Dead Poet’s Society which as a teenager challenged me with the famous phrase “Carpe Diem…seize the day.” And this past year I found myself being energized to live as I listened to the cutie patootie American Idol Kris Allen sing “We only got 86000 seconds in a day to turn it all around or throw it all away.”
If I were to guess, I am not alone when I long to have the days of my life count for something. I was shocked today when I used an internet calculator to figure out how many days I have lived. This week my life clock will roll over 13,000 days.
13,000. Seriously? In average lifespan terms, that is approaching the half way mark of days. Yet, in reality terms I might not even see day number 12,996 because I am not promised another day.
Psalms 39:4-5 (NLT)
4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
This past year I have been confronted head on with the reality of these verses. At some point in our lives we all must walk through ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’ We all have those dark times when we are faced with the choice of sinking deep in the darkness of our fear and pain or singing through the darkness as the psalmist did,
Psalms 23:4-6 (NLT)
4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
In the past few weeks, I have found myself faced with this choice once again. At the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places, I have felt my heart pounding in my chest and my eyes beginning to glaze with tears.
As my mind turns to the knowledge of my only sister having open heart surgery and my only brother travelling to what some would consider one of the most dangerous countries in the world, I have had to discipline my mind to do what I was taught to do as a child…meditate on Scripture.
Psalms 20:7 (NIV)
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Though I respect the military and all they do to protect our country and keep us safe, my brother’s life is not in the hands of any government. His life is in the hands of his heavenly Father who has numbered his days for His purposes.
Psalms 139:13-16 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Because of her heart birth defect, my sister was not expected to live to see the age of one. In a few weeks we will celebrate her 40th year of life on earth. Though we are very blessed to have an amazing team of heart doctors monitoring my sister’s condition, her life is not dependent on the skill of these women and men. Her days are in the hands of her heavenly Father who has numbered them for His purposes.
This baby sister can’t imagine navigating life here on earth without my brother or my sister.
Throughout my life, my brother has been my role model in fearlessness and faith. Through words and example, he has taught me to fear God, nothing else. My brother has challenged me to walk in faith through even the darkest hours of my life.
My sister has been my role model in love and service. Her words and life have taught me to love all people. She has challenged me to use the gifts God has given me to serve God and others for the purposes of His Kingdom.
My 12,995th day of life is Mother’s Day 2011. I have spent the day doing many of my favorite things because my husband always allows me to plan how we spend the day of Mother’s day (it works out better for me if I plan it instead of him!!!)
I got to stand with my husband and kids worshipping the Lord at church. I got to eat chips, salsa, and guacamole for lunch. I got to lay in bed reading to my kids before our weekly Sunday afternoon ‘rest’ time, and tonight I get to go on a family hike
And for the past two hours I have gotten to sit alone in a coffee shop, sipping my coffee as I type away on the computer transferring my thoughts to a screen.
When I first sat down to type, I had a choice to make. A choice I have to make every day of my life. Do I trust in my own heart and succumb to the emotional whirlwind that life can often bring? Do I meditate on my fears and my worries, or do I trust in His word and the strength that can be found in His word?
Day #12,995 my choice is this:
(my personal paraphrase of Philippians 4:6-7)
I will not worry about anything; instead, I will pray about everything. I will tell God what I need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Then I will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything I can understand. His peace will guard my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus.