When I was in junior high, I remember complaining to my Aunt Fae: “I wish I was in high school.” Her response to me became one of the foundational principles that has formed my character. She said, “Brenda, Don’t wish away today. Be all here in the present. High school will come soon enough. Be all here, each day of your life.” I thought about what she said, and put it into practice in my life.
We tend to “wish for high school” in a lot of ways. When we get to high school, we wish we were in college. In college, we wish we had a job… We wish we were married, we wish we had children, we wish our children were older, then we wish they were out of the house…grandchildren…retirement…and then, we die. We could wish our life away and never live in the present.
Looking back now, living in the moment has caused me to enjoy the little things in life, both the good ones and the hard ones. I learned to face the difficult times rather than ignore or resent them. When my children were young and woke up night after night because they needed to be fed, they had a bad dream, or caught the flu and were puking every hour throughout the night, I realized that I had two choices in how I could respond: I could accept my circumstances and embrace the moment with a good attitude, or get angry and irritable about what was happening, and wish that stage of life with my children away. Those long, sleepless nights when my children cried, I rocked them and quietly sang to them, sometimes for hours. I was so tired and at the end of myself sometimes, the tears would come easily, streaming down my face, as I praised Jesus with my songs. That was all I had to give.
The hard times have become some of the most precious memories and growing times for me. I chose not to “check out” of the present and wish for the future. Instead, I chose to worship God through those hard circumstances. Those are the times when I learned to lean on Him for strength, even when I didn’t have any strength left.