By: Cynthia Yanof
If you didn’t catch Joanna Gaines’ New Year’s resolution on social media, it was so perfect for all of us in the throes of raising kids.
I think that’s why they are such a popular part of our culture—they are the quintessential, all-American family trying to raise good kids while juggling careers and all that life throws their way (not to mention their cult-like Fixer Upper following).
And, to top it all off, they love Jesus and went to Baylor.
It’s just almost too much.
In Joanna’s social media post on New Year’s Day, she resolved to “stop mourning the past” and start “living for the now.” To take in “every breath, every sight, and sound and [hold] it dearly. Not thinking about how the good ol’ days have passed us by or how the best is yet to come.”
What a great message for all of us as we jump into 2019.
Leaving so soon?
This hit home for me a few days ago.
On New Year’s Eve, my teenage daughter, Kate, and I were mindlessly laughing about how hard it will be to remember to write 2019 instead of 2018 in the new year.
And then Kate said, “Can you believe I graduate in 2021?”
Even though I’m obviously well aware of the year she’s graduating, I pretty much needed paddles when she actually articulated how close it is. It was such a wake-up call that, as I was pondering with anticipation all that comes with a new year, I was also that much closer to letting go of a piece of something I love.
(Holy cow, I’m totally tearing up as I type this and I’m in public. Deep breaths, deep breaths.)
The trap of everywhere—and nowhere
As a mom who is raising kids from two- to fifteen-years-old, I truly know how easy it is to fall into the cycle of looking forward to easier days while also lamenting those that have passed.
It doesn’t matter if you’re holding a baby in your arms right now, wondering if you will ever sleep again, or if you’re like me: struggling to come to terms with the fact that one of your babies is getting ridiculously close to graduating from high school and leaving the nest.
Parenting is an accumulation of bittersweet moments. And if we aren’t careful, we fall into the trap of being in every place—except the right here and right now.
Joanna Gaines feels our pain, and I think there are lots of us who need to join her in choosing to be truly present today. We need to decide that the best days of our parenting journey are now, simply because these are the days the Lord has gifted us.
So how do we practically live in the moment?
Living in the present requires us to trust God with our future.
For many of us, it’s hard to live in the present because we allow ourselves to be consumed with what might be the future.
What if our kids struggle? What if I have a health crisis? What if something happens to a child? What if our finances tank?
Or, for some of us, we can’t get past the fact that the good ol’ days are gone. We worry that maybe the best has already happened and it’s over.
For those of us struggling with staying present, let’s work to take our thoughts captive and focus on the Lord’s promises. If we truly believe that God holds our future and is for us, then we need to let go of the overwhelming temptation to worry about what’s to come or what may have already passed.
Here are a few places to start if we’re going to trust God with the future so we can live in the present:
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5–6, emphasis added).“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
If we are going to live fully present, we can’t let the fear of what may come rob of us of the joy that is today.
Really think about it: How different would your life look if you truly lived in the confidence of these verses?
What if we could look to the future with joy and anticipation without the consuming worry that the bottom might drop out?
What if we could look back on the past with fond memories while living in complete contentment with where the Lord has us now?
It would be the most refreshing, God-honoring, and joyful way to live in our current circumstances.
What a gift to be able to get in bed each night, knowing that you appreciated that day for what it was, with no worry for the future and no regret from the past. And what a witness we could have to those around us if we learned to rest in our Lord and not live in fear of the what-ifs.
Even now, as you finish reading this blog, stop and thank God for this moment. And then thank him for all the moments you’ve already had, good and bad. And then thank him for the moments he has preordained for you to have in the future.
In Joanna’s post, I love where she says she wants to get rid of “little distractions because I have found that these are the thieves that steal our moments and rob our days. But time, time is our most precious gift.”
Live today exactly in the moment the Lord has placed you, with joy and contentment, knowing the days are fleeting and the here and now is our blessing.
Stop scrolling and start doing. Stop rushing and start enjoying. Stop looking back and start looking around. Stop lamenting and start thanking. Stop considering and start accomplishing. Stop worrying and start trusting.
Praise God for every single twist and turn in your parenting journey and all those that are to come, remembering he authored them all.
Let’s join in with Joanna Gaines, remembering, “Right now, this very second, this is the gift. These are the days. These are the moments. And I’m gonna breathe them all in.”
Amen and amen.