Savoring the End

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Well, it’s the last day of this writing challenge/series!  I have really enjoyed it, and it has definitely been a challenge.  Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1.  Blogging every day can make it a challenge to savor the present moment.  Whew!  Did it ever.  This month has felt like the busiest October we’ve ever had, when my whole objective was to slow down and savor it before the busy (or just crazy?) newborn phase arrives.  However, it just so happened that this month I’ve been doing the bulk of the work of getting set up for baby, while juggling a few other responsibilities and also dealing with end-of-pregnancy insomnia and anxiety.  It was a challenge most days to find time to blog when the kids weren’t around, and usually that happens during afternoon naps.  Which is hard, because nap time also happens to be my lowest/most exhausted time of the day.  And some days I just plain didn’t have anything to say.  It was a challenge to be real and actually spend time savoring the moment instead of trying to keep up with the blog.  Most likely, blogging every day is not ever going to be my jam. 🙂 But it was fun for a month!

2.  The challenge to think about “savoring” every day helped force me to savor more.  I guess professional bloggers, which I am not (hah), plan their content ahead of time and write posts in advance with scheduled postings.  That’s all well and good, but for me, the reason I actually took on this challenge was to literally walk each day through without a plan for how to savor or what I was going to blog about.  Instead I wanted to be sensitive to God’s leading and to listen for Him and to journey through the process of savoring it all.  I didn’t come to this series with something to teach, but as a learner wanting to be open with others about what God was teaching me.  So, even though taking on the commitment to blog every day in some ways filled up my days with just one more activity to potentially distract me, it also forced me to be thinking constantly and intentionally about savoring.  About what it means to receive all things, each day from the Lord.

3.  Writing every day encourages a lot less self-editing and posturing.  Because I didn’t (don’t) have a lot of time to write, I found myself posting more freely.  Writing more freely, self-editing less, and just being more vulnerable instead of over-analyzing.  It has been really freeing and in many ways has made me braver in writing!

4.  Savoring the good is good, but savoring the hard is essential.  This is the big one, huh?!  I had so much I wanted to write more on this but honestly just didn’t have the time or energy to devote to it.  Of course it’s easy to delight in the fun, happy days where we’re visiting orchards, eating pumpkin everything, playing in the leaves, snuggling by the fire.

But what do you do with the days where nothing goes right?
The days where your 3-year-old fights you and argues with every single thing you say all day long?
The days when you’re so sleep-deprived and anxiety ridden you spend most of the day crying?
The days when your soul is just blue?
The days when you have ugly fights with your husband?

Yeah, all those days happened during this month, too.  What does it look like to delight in those days?  Is that a ridiculous thing to even consider?  I thought often of what Job said:  “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).  To live with open hands means to receive whatever God gives and to find a way to see His hand of good in it.  To hunt for glory in it.

When nothing goes right, to remember that He is in control, not me.
The days when it seems your 3-year old is against you teach you how tiring it is to have a child who will not trust your wisdom and love as a parent.  It can force you to repent of this sin that you yourself commit against God every day, and to thank Him for being such a merciful Father to you in your weakness, to ask Him to help you to extend that kind of grace to your own child.
When you are anxiety-ridden and exhausted, to say no to a few more things, hold loose the day’s plans, and practice casting all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.
When your soul is just blue, to just quiet and to listen for Him and to hold onto Him through it.
When you have ugly fights, to remember how sanctifying marriage can be.  That God uses our failures to bring us to repentance and humility.  That failure can be a place where the enemy gloats over our defeat and accuses us, or it can be a place of repentance and treasuring Jesus who foreknew our wickedness, paid for it in full, and washes us clean when we confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9).  What a Savior.

This is how we can practice delighting in whatever God gives.  Whatever the day brings.  We have no control over what comes to us, but we can choose how we respond to it.  We can choose how we look at it, how we behold, and we know that whatever our eyes are fixed on we begin to resemble (Matt. 6:22-23).  So we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author + perfecter of our faith (Heb.12:2) and how He looked toward the suffering He faced, and we trust that as we gaze on Him, and gaze on Him, and keep gazing on Him, God transforms us steadily into His same image, the image of His Son (2 Cor. 3:18).

So that wraps up this series!  Here’s one little family picture of us from this month:
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Happy Fall, folks!  Thanks for reading along, and I hope some of you new readers will stick around + continue with me in the journey of savoring everything He gives.

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