The Joy of One Day©

When my children were young, every summer my mom and dad rented a large house at the beach.  It became a family tradition for 11 years straight.  With my 3 siblings and their families, along with mom and dad, we could fill the place up.

In the beginning years, because of my own elation,  I found myself telling my children months in advance that we were going.   It didn’t take long for me to realize my mistake.   Suddenly they were distracted from their day.  Young children have no real concept of time.  You can’t pack your suitcase in March for a beach trip in July.    I learned to wait until weeks before, where they could count down the days and feel their excitement grow.

I watch my grands as they live their lives present, in the moment.  They have no thoughts for what will happen tomorrow and they don’t remember what happened yesterday. They have an uncanny ability to live in the moments.  They experience such a beautiful place of rest.

Children know the joy of their one day.   They give no thought to yesterday or care for tomorrow.

I heard the author say these words, “I have found joy again by being in my one day”.  It struck me as I considered what life would look like if I lived that way.

My husband and I have a story.  We started out 34 years ago, eyes glazed over, clueless about the vows we had just made.  It didn’t take long for us to find ourselves saying and doing things we never thought we’d do.  Through the years we have hurt each other. At times it’s hard not to allow old history to follow us into the day.   All it takes is a conversation to go awry and suddenly we can be thrown into the reminders of the past. Without warning, history can repeat itself and we can find ourselves stuck in a place we really don’t want to be, saying things we really don’t want to say.

What if we lived in our one day where there is no future and no past?  Paul testified that the old is gone and the new had come. We are told that God remembers our sins no more.  How would things change if we all lived as if the hard drive of our minds had been wiped clean and the past hurts no longer lingered?  What if when those conversations start to rev up we faced them not with the voices of the past but with the voices of today?  Who we are today is not who we were yesterday.

To live in the “one day” is to shut down the old voices and leave them all behind.  The damage of the past is redeemed for good when it no longer plays an active role in the present.

The “one” day means there is no past and there is no future.  There is just the present.

“Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself.”

I’ve never been much of one to be affected by the decades rolling by but this year has been different.  I will be 60.  It hit me a few days back.  “I am 10 years away from 70”. The numbers sound ancient to me until I consider Methuselah who lived to be 969.  Yet in the world’s mindset somewhere in these next 10 years I will be considered elderly.  I will never have as many years on this earth as I have already had.   Uncertainties abound if I look towards tomorrow and how we will make it financially.  Joy disappears as fear of what could happen tries to force its way in.

But it’s all just imagination because no one but God has my tomorrows.  He is the God of wonder and mystery who loves showing up in the most unusual places.  Paul reminds me, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen.”  Peter reminds me, “With the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.”

Yesterday leaves me discouraged and tomorrow leaves me afraid.  Today gives me joy because I am able to see that I have all that I need.

I am surrounded by young children on a weekly basis, both in my home and in my vocation.  I learn so much from just watching them.   They truly live in the moment with unadulterated trust.  They don’t give a care about what will happen in the days to come and they don’t keep history books on what has happened in the days before.  They simply live in the joy of their one day.  I want to live like that.

God does not say, “I was” or “I will be”.  He says “I AM.”  That’s present tense.  He invites me to live as He is, in the one day.  It is the life Christ lived on this earth.  It is the life He now lives in me.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ” Romans 15:13

©copyrighted, 2017 Julie L. Todd

It Is Finished!©

I have heard the Easter story for my entire life.   Every year throughout my childhood the song was sung, “Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes.” “He arose a victor of the dark domain and He lives forever with His saints to reign.”  “He arose, He arose, Hallelujah Christ arose.”

It’s a beautiful song but I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t fully tell the reality of what happened for me.  As I mature I am finding more of what God did during those three days.

Three days prior those whom He had come to earth to love had placed His body on a cross where He would hang to die.  He spoke the words as he neared his last breath,  “It is finished.”  I’ve heard those words quoted throughout my life.  For the longest time I believed Jesus was declaring that His suffering was drawing to a close.  It made sense to me because right after that He said, “into your hands I commend my spirit.

I do not believe that any longer.

It is in those very words, I believe, that Jesus was declaring what had happened for mankind.  In His last breaths He proclaimed, once for all, that He had fulfilled the demands of the self-righteous lifestyle.  The law exposed that I could not get it right. He was the answer to the law on my behalf.  He told me I didn’t have to, that He would do it for me.  He finished all the requirements in my place.  The separation ended.   I was liberated.

In that moment, mankind was fully restored unto God.  No longer would God be on the outside He would now dwell within. He would weave Himself into my being and be the strength and the love.  He would be the vine, inviting me to be the branch.  He would be the answer to my weary striving and performing.  He would be the way, the truth and the life.  He would be my rest.

No longer would life have to be sin and behavior focused.  He forgave them all,  past, present, future.  Forgiveness had been granted, once for all.  Each and every sin I had committed and would commit now would be forgotten never to be remembered again by Him.  The grading scale was removed.  I could be free.

An invitation was extended to allow the very life of Christ to now indwell me.  It would be my starting point, my ending point.  On my worst day, and every day I would be the righteousness of Christ.  I would be in Him and He would be in me.

Jesus didn’t just walk out of the grave only to conquer sin and death.  He walked out of the grave to allow life to begin again for me and for you.  It is the most beautiful “do over” that has ever happened.  I was allowed to become a new creation where old things were passed away and new things had come.

When Jesus said “it is finished” I was given a way to live in oneness with the God who made me to love me.  He would become my very life.

For the joy set before Him He endured the cross.  I am that joy.  He saw me.

“For God, the Father, was IN Christ reconciling the world unto Him.”

©copyrighted; 2017; Julie H. Todd