It Was One Of Those Days-Part 1!

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I. Am. Pooped.

Sometimes I’m “too pooped to pop.”

Simply put…sometimes I’m a little more than just plain tired. I don’t know, maybe this term is vulgar to some, but I remember my Mom saying it when I was growing up. I’ve always thought it was kinda funny and it makes me giggle. It helps me down-grade the blahs and lighten up days when skies look kinda gray.

I started a new job a couple of months ago working part-time for the same chain of grocery retail stores where my husband is a co-manager. I unpack boxes and stock shelves on Thursdays, sometimes Fridays, too. I feel the need to remind you that I’m 57 years old.

In the past year, I’ve taken on some other roles, both in the church and in my local community, that have kept me busier than I’ve been in the last 8 years since we moved to our tiny town in North Carolina. Some mornings I wake up and I can’t remember what day it is. I have to lie in bed for a few seconds and think about it. Please tell me some of you have this problem, too. Yes?

No? Alrighty then. Moving on…

I remember being so physically and mentally exhausted a few weeks ago after working a nearly 10-hour day that when I punched the clock and got in my car I started to cry…”Lord, what am I doing here? How long can I possibly work like this?”

Don’t get me wrong…I love to work. I actually like to work hard. I believe God created us to work. After all, He put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and care for it and Paul mentions in his New Testament letters that he didn’t rely on others to provide for him but chose to work at his skill as a tentmaker to provide for himself. I decided early on when I first began working grocery retail that I would pretend I was going to the gym to work out.

(Since hitting my mid-century birthday, I’ve come to realize the importance of keeping my temple clean. Let’s face it, the older we get, the harder it is to keep off the unwanted weight and the extra pounds. I try to walk as part of my fitness routine, but I’ve also had to make a lot of dietary changes.)

My work is pretty physical. Between climbing up and down a 6-foot ladder to reach the top of a mountain of stacked boxes, loading them on carts out to the floor then unpacking them, lifting, carrying, bending, stooping, reaching, rearranging, blah, blah, blah…you get the picture…I am literally pooped at the end of the day.

Anyway, back to that 10-hour day when I was so tired I couldn’t help but cry…not only had I hit my funny bone that day on a metal shelf (I actually danced in the aisle, rubbing my elbow, with tears streaming down my face), but I also smashed the middle finger of my right hand, drew blood on my left forearm breaking down a cardboard box, and THEN….the icing on the cake was banging my head on a wire bracket sticking out from the wall that I didn’t see because I have no vision on my left side. I had to hold a paper towel to my head for 5 minutes to stop the bleeding. After that, came the pounding headache. My head was sore for days after.

But, here’s the thing…when I left work that night at 8:00 with a downcast soul, God gave me the most beautiful gift. I drove down country roads with my eyes on the most amazing sunset. At 8:15 I actually pulled over into a farmer’s field of soy beans, parked the car and snapped a sweet picture as a reminder of the goodness of God.

When every muscle in my body was screaming at me, God. Enouraged. Me. He reminded me,

He keeps me and sustains me.

He lifts me up and makes me strong.

He is the lifter of my head.

He never, never leaves me.

He gives me everything I need to carry on, day after day after day, no matter what I’m doing, no matter where I’m going, no matter who I’m gracing.

Not only does He paint the skies, but He colors my whole world, even when I feel all gray and washed out.

When I’m having one of those days God gets right in the middle of it and even in busy seasons when one day seems to run right into another I know each day is a gift. We don’t know the impact we have when we learn to appreciate the length of our days. To think of a difficult day as meaningless and purposeless is to lose sight of the gift. To live as though my life is short in light of an eternity with God is to keep a proper perspective and cherish each day as priceless.

So, when I’m having one of those days, I want to be the kind of person who says to God,

“Teach me to number my days, that I may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

And then, when I least expect it, He will give me a prize…like a sunset.

And I am no longer pooped.

I am renewed.

Being Thankful For The Little Things In Life

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It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Some may call it Black Friday. Not me. I’m so glad to be in the comfort of my home, sipping my Maxwell House Master Blend coffee with International Delight Coldstone flavored creamer, relaxing beside my black iron boxwood stove generating that blessed heat, and listening to the soothing sounds coming from the cage in front of my kitchen window. Muffin, my zebra finch, is serenading the rising of the sun. While the rest of my tiny part of the world is in a shopping frenzy, I am completely lost in the little things. The simple pleasures. Yes, today I’m thankful for the little things in life.

Because today is another day. A new day.

Truthfully, I am very tired.

I got a flu shot Monday. On Tuesday I got the flu. This has never happened to me before. My common sense tells me I’ll never get another flu shot again. I keep asking myself, “How could this possibly be a good thing?” I’ve been keeping myself medicated with over-the-counter flu medications because I was not about to cancel Thanksgiving dinner with my family. No way. If you read my last post, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I may not have felt my best, but I determined in my heart to live in the moment.

This hasn’t just been a physically draining week, though. It’s also been emotionally challenging. Some things have happened to cause great sadness in my spirit. Big things. Difficult things. Hard things. Messy things. Things that affect the quality of life. Not mine personally, but people I care about. Disease. Death. Damage. What do you do when your heart is broken for the Broken? What do you do when your soul is downcast for the Downcast? What do you do when your spirit is crushed for the Crushed?

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3

When how could this be a good thing? rings in my ears I am comforted by these words from the prophet Isaiah. They proclaimed the role and purpose of the coming Messiah. During Christ’s ministry on earth, He opened the scrolls and read these words in the synagogue, fulfilling this prophecy.  Now that He’s in heaven sitting at the right hand of the Father and His Spirit lives and breathes in me, I can now minister in His name and in His power just like this. To the broken. To the downcast. To the crushed. In the darkness. In the prisons. In the ashes.

That’s how I do it.

When the ugly things rear their nasty heads, I tend to appreciate the little things all the more. The simple pleasures. I refocus because I don’t want to miss what’s right with the world. I don’t want to miss what’s good. I don’t want to miss the faithfulness of my God in the ugliness of life. I don’t want to miss the Spirit of Christ in this coming season. I want to keep my eyes on Him.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.” Lamentations 3:22-27

I may not be so young anymore. I turned 57 on Sunday, but I had a few difficulties of my own as a child. As an adult, I can now see the good that has come from bearing the yoke when I was young. In the midst of the ugly, I still see the beauty of Christ and that is such a good thing. I can recall to mind so many wonderful, beautiful things that have happened and they greatly outshine all the ugly. God is so good like that. Full of compassion. Full of mercy. Full of grace. It’s not suppose to be a hard thing to grasp for the heart that truly seeks. I don’t think it’s meant to be difficult. I think Jesus wants it to be simple.

Yes, I’m tired, but honest-to-goodness, I’m oh-s0-thankful for the little things.

And maybe, just maybe, I can learn to be thankful for flu shots again because they really are a good thing. As many times as I’ve had one, I’ve never gotten the flu before…until now.

As Muffin continues to fill my kitchen with her song, I’ll determine to live in this moment and give thanks for God’s simple pleasures…drinking from the cup of His blessings, warming myself in the Light of His presence, and listening to the soothing sound of His voice.

It’s another day. A new day.

And I am still very thankful.