Embracing Your Now

This month, I’m leading a Facebook study on my organizational book. We’re talking time, junk, clutter & kids; weeding, storage, re-arranging & work.

Together, gals are de-cluttering, cleaning and cheering each other on as they do. It has been a blast.

While I love helping women get organized, there is something I love even more.

Helping them to embrace the ‘now’.

Now is not tomorrow.

Now is not next school year.

Now is not when the kids are grown.

Now isn’t always pretty.

Now is often messy.

It can be frustrating and flabbergasting.

It can be sad or stumping.

But really, all we are promised is now.

We can’t relive yesterday or last year or high school or a broken marriage or severed friendship.

We can’t fast forward to better days when this problem is over, that person is gone, our scale number reads lower or our pay check reads higher.

It is in the now that God wants us to pause; to look for him; to invest in others; to shift our attitudes or alter our course.

Now is when we see beauty in the baked-on mess of our pots and pans because it means we have plenty of food to eat while others go hungry. So we scrape and we pray for the poor, putting feet to our prayers with a donation to the food pantry or a check to charity.

Now is when we embrace the mess others make in our lives. Strewn flip flops and wadded clothes, uniquely scented with a combination of boy sweat and home plate, remind me of the sons God gifted me with. Can I whisper a prayer for their manhood and impact as I spy their stray articles? Or must I fume and fuss and pester again?

Now is when I sometimes cry and beg and plead for God to remove my fault, correct my attitude, or forgive my reoccurring sin. Could it be in the now that He is patiently waiting for my lips to stop moving and my will to begin bending? That might make now my friend, rather than my enemy.

Now.

What is God trying to teach you in your now?

James 1:2-4 says (in the Message paraphrase of the Bible) “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

Will you dare to embrace your now, whatever it may look like? To pause; to ponder; to shift your perspective to thankfulness. To let God do the ‘maturing’ work He longs to in your life?

Could you see a glimmer of good in your mess?

If you can, will you tell us here in the comments? Describe your unique now, whether grand or mundane, and then pull a thread of thankfulness out.

It will settle your heart and migrate your brain to the place where God is waiting. I promise.

I’ll go first.

My now includes a recently crashed computer, no longer usable, a husband laid off from work for most of the summer and many undone home and writing projects clamoring for my attention.

In the midst of it, I’m thankful the hard drive can be retrieved, the lay off is temporary, and my hubby is healthy so he may return to work when they call him back. Though pressed for time, I am able to work and write with no medical conditions stopping me. We have food, a home and family and friends.

And we have a God we can worship freely as a family at home and in our wonderful church body on Sundays.

I am blessed.

How about you?

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25 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for today’s blog. I followed the link from my daily proverbs 31 email. God is so very good and so very personal. I prayed for direction this morning on an issue in my life and your blog and todays proverbs 31 affirmed that this issue needs to be dead-headed. God bless you and your ministry.
    Your sister in Christ, Anna DeVille

  2. My “now” is living apart from my husband so our youngest daughter can finish high school in the community she loves and grew up in.. I go back and forth between here (Washington State) and Illinois and I miss having a home to nest in. I am thankful that I have my fabulous girlfriends and church family, but know that in a year I say goodbye all over again. My blog is actually about God teaching me lessons every day and learning to be grateful for what’s happening now and not always focusing on “then”… (I get to spend July & August with my hubby!)

  3. My “now” is that my dad passed away at the end of May after I spent a week at home with him with hospice. Now I am trying to sort out his house, bills, belongings and my own place in the world without him. I feel lopsided – disconnected – without him. My family is well-cared for and supported, but there are some parts of this I have to negotiate on my own. And after a week of prayer and connecting with God at a new, deeper level while Dad was home with me, I don’t know how to relate to God in the loss. I know it will come in time – I will look back and see God’s hand and see things I learned – but in the “now,” everything feels strange.

  4. My now is a graduation open house to finish and get through, a slow down at my husbands business that is the main financial income for our family, helping my children mend their broken hearts and dealing with my best friend moving to another state. However, through all of this God has blessed us in tremendous ways!!! My son graduated with honors and we get to have an open house! Even though sales are slow at my husbands business we are still able to employ people and put food on our table and have a roof over our head. My children and I have best friends in the same family and since they are moving to a different state that means we have a place to take vacations!!! We can go and visit them and we will get to visit them!! We can’t always understand why things happen but there is always something good in it if we take the time to look and focus on God and His love!

  5. Great reminder to be intentional and thankful for our now, whatever that may be! I find myself getting more overwhelmed and frustrated when I’m in my now, but actually thinking too much of the future or the past – the hovering to-do list, worries of a poor interaction with someone, fears of the future. It’s when I actually focus on the now that I can give those worries to Him and just enjoy, praise, and live.

    Thank you for this post.

    Also, I have your organizational book. I so look forward to digging into it! I’m not on Facebook, so I can’t join the party, but I’m thankful for this resource you’ve given us.

  6. My now is waiting and listening to God…I often am so busy that I don’t take time to enjoy the now….so now…I sit, wait and listen for God’s direction for me. I look at things and think we can’t do…but we do…God has provided me with a home full of projects but fuller of smiles, love and laughter! So as I wait…I enjoy the now of a loving family! May we all live in the now…not the past…not the future….but the present…it is a gift…open it…enjoy it…live it!

  7. My now…
    A computer of my own to use when I want, how I want…
    A freshly made cappuchino to drink as quickly – or as slowly – as I want
    An email conversation with my sister-in-law that reminds me of the blessings of family.
    A breakfast with a sweet friend, which sets me up for a relaxed weekend
    A room to prepare for an unknown guest – the friend of a friend – the blessings of a stranger
    A house that waits for a dearly loved husband to come home.
    A home that longs for the return of the ‘flown-the-nesters’
    And a job, done with the strength God gives, full of dear colleagues and eager children.
    Just a glimpse of my ‘now’.

  8. My very current “now” is that I am healing from a sprained ankle, with all ligaments and tendons torn. So I am thankful for the increased time off my feet – a forced rest from my usual busyness (though I am still plenty busy and am on it as much as allowed). I am thankful that I HAVE feet; that they have good circulation and sensation; that I have shoes to wear; access to medical care; family members who are willing to help do some of the things that I currently cannot do; and that my ankle is on the mend at this point. I chose to drive an hour each way today to run some errands in a neighboring town without children (last day of school is next Tuesday and today was raining, so why not?). The entire time in the car, I kept the radio off and just talked to the Lord and told Him all the things I could think of that I was thankful for. It brightened an otherwise cool and gloomy day. :)

  9. This is definitely on time for me as my now involves:

    1. Debilitating first trimester nausea and sickness
    2. #1 means a messy home, the inability to cook meals for my family, no strength (and at times no patience) to take care of my 18 month old son
    3. Having needs in this season that we just do not have the income to meet

    Embracing all of the above (and more that I have not listed) means:

    1. Thanking the Lord for the blessing of another child to raise as a warrior for His kingdom
    2. Thankful that God is using this time to lower my unreasonable expectations of myself as a wife, Mom, homemaker etc. and giving my husband the opportunity to spend more one on one time with our son
    3. Thanking the Lord for increased faith in His love for us, His unfailing provision for all our needs and a new level of trust in Him.

    Thank you for the shift in perspective. Blessings.

    1. Ayla— You are expecting!?!?!? How wonderful!!!! I was severely sick with all three of my kids. I will be praying for you!

  10. My now… multitasking by downloading songs for our Luminary ceremony for Relay for Life while packing for vacation… getting my eight year old ready. Been a long day already; up early working on camp sites and will be up all night… but I am thankful because both of my grandparents are cancer survivors who turned 80 years old on their last birthdays, we get to spend lots of fun time as a family, and I have a loving family surrounding me. God is good! =)

  11. We are created for “such a time as this” as I am learning in the study I am doing on Esther and sometimes that “time” is just the now of taking care of my family, folding laundry, making dinner or playing with my kids. The “now” or “time” doesn’t have to be huge or of high ranking as it was for Esther, but God has created me for this time, in this moment to make the most of it for His glory. He could do it Himself, but He wants to be glorified by doing it through me. Wow. I am here for a purpose in this exact place no matter how easy or how hard. The purpose is to glorify HIM!!!!!!

  12. –Could it be in the now that He is patiently waiting for my lips to stop moving and my will to begin bending?–As a stubborn person, I LOVED this. Nothing better than a gentle reminder that my words are nothing if I don’t leave room for God to do his work.

    My “now” consists of working 2 jobs, 7 days a week, often both jobs in one day. Struggling to make ends meet. Trying to keep relationships balanced through craziness. As well as trying not to allow myself to become too overwhelmed by it all.

    However, I am thankful that this coming Monday, I will go down to just one job, scheduled 2 12 hour days a week, with the opportunity to pick up hours as they need someone. I am thankful for an understanding husband and the best friends a woman could ask for in such a busy period of life. I am most grateful for the blessing of the accountability partner. I have no doubt that the only way I’ve made it through the past couple months of craziness is because she prayed every day for my sanity (what little I have). Then to our Almighty Father who has blessed my life immensely, especially through the hard and chaotic times.

  13. My “now” seems to be good, right “now”! I am thankful and so totally blessed beyond words. My husband was unemployed for almost 2 yrs., but only by the grace of God, we made changes in our lives and we learned to live on less, much less. I thank God all day, everyday for my blessings. Godly husband, Five children, eight grandchildren, house to live in, clothes to wear, employment……..life is good!

  14. love your post. It is so easy to get caught up in tomorrow plans, and what the futue has that we often overlook the now. I know this to be true. I am blessed because God provides, and he has blessed me with the responsibilty to care for 4 little blessings and a wonderful husband.

    I recieved your starbucks giftcard! Thank you so much xoxo

    1. Good! Sorry it took a while to get out. I have been swamped & there is now Starbucks in my town so I had to wait til I needed to go into the city. Enjoy :-)

  15. I needed this post! We just found out that the High School Homeschool program that is linked to our local public school that our son was going to be doing, is not going to be funded by our State government. It was like I was “punched in the belly”. Right now I am in a season of unknowns and the Lord is faithful to remind me through the verse you mentioned in James as well in Proverbs 19:21, “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 16: 3-4 encourages me as it says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for his own ends.” I thank my precious Savior for shepherding me through how to Embrace the Now!

  16. I really needed this this morning. My dear husband spends money and never thinks about were it comes from. I had a talk with him (again) this morning about how everything is higher and it is not easy to pay for increased costly groceries and gas, then pay for his spending. But since my husband has had cancer 4 times and they are looking for it again…how blessed am I that I have that sweet and Godly man to have the spending talk with! Thank you Lord. And thank you for reminding me of my beautiful now!!

  17. My “now” just had to include a great big THANK YOU, Karen! Maybe I should print this one and read it daily for awhile. It’s amessage I’m slow to learn but today I’ll do my best to be in the “now” with my VBS kids and my own kids and my husband and my God. . . . good thing they all get along LOL!

  18. I started my day by pounding in a nail in the stairway that made a deep scratch on my Chuck’s hand. I have a lot of picking up and sorting out still to do after our daughter and her three children moved out two months ago. The beauty is that for the FIRST time in 45 years of marriage we are living alone, just the two of us. It is like being on the honeymoon we never had. We have a freezer full of food, lots of clothes, a home with no mortgage and two cars. Blessings abound. I am in a between time, officialy retired but still needing to do, that has gone on for some time but this allows me to take the time to connect with my Lord and Saviour and reevaluate where I need to be and go. I look out the window on a busy street and see sunlight and flowers on my porch. God’s beauty is everywhere if we will just look.

    Karen, thank you so much for opening up this opportunity to be thankful. I really needed it in my now.

  19. This is a timely message for me. My son is in need of a private studen loan in order to go to Germany in August to continue his studies. I am thankful that he loves the Lord, he has a sound mind and body and that his faith in God’s provision is stronger than mine.

  20. Thank you for the great devotion today….a great reminder of being thankful for the “now”!!! Any chance you will ever do the organization bible study on your blog? I would love it and am not a member of facebook! Happy weekend to you as we all celebrate all of our “nows”!

  21. Thank you Karen for embracing the now. It’s so easy to forget to pause and ponder on all the good things and offer up thank you. Like you said embrace the now and discover God waiting to offer His hand to guide us through. I am blessed despite everything. Have a good weekend girlfriend.

  22. Thanks for the reminder! I am thankful for the endless mess in the kitchen that means we have food and a place to eat it, thankful for the piles of dirty clothes EVERYWHERE that mean I have 4 healthy children and all have clothes to wear. Most difficult of all, I am reminded of how blessed I am by my grief…the loss of my father has torn a huge hole in my heart BUT I am so grateful to a gracious God that he did not suffer and it is evidence that I have loved and been loved deeply.

  23. I so appreciate your wonderful attitude–you are my hero!!! You tell it like it is but your faith always shines through!!! Thank you and I wish you and your family many blessings!!! Barb

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