Recently, I was scheduled for a fairly intensive, yet very routine surgery. As an obsessive planner, I had all of the stars perfectly aligned in my little world. My husband is a family minister, so we scheduled all of our youth/family events around my surgery. He is also a nurse, so he made sure not to accept any hospital shifts for the two week period after my surgery. As a homeschool mom I completely planned the start of our school year around my surgery. As a full-time graduate student, I waited an extra month and a half in order to schedule this procedure for my two-week break between semesters. My precious kiddos and I spent two days in the kitchen cooking and baking, putting meals in the freezer to make life easier while I was out of commission. Three days before my surgery I made the two hour trek to my doctor’s office (occupational hazard of living in the desert of New Mexico), only to be turned away when I arrived. Apparently, for the two months I had spent making my perfect preparations there had been a clerical error on their end. They would no longer be doing my surgery.
After a little yelling and a lot of tears, I finally remembered to pray. I prayed and I prayed, and I finally remembered that God was in control. We re-scheduled with a different doctor and a different hospital for two weeks later. It was going to be a lot more inconvenient, but I would have the surgery I needed, my parents would come help, and my world would keep spinning. No biggie. Sure enough, I had my procedure and things couldn’t have gone better. I was able to return home the next day and began walking a half mile that evening, being sure to follow my doctor’s orders to the letter. Things were difficult, things were inconvenient, but we were making it work with help from our family and our brethren.
About a week and a half later I was almost off all of my pain medications, and was very excited because I planned to be back at worship the next day. Unfortunately, Sunday morning, I felt icky and my husband and I decided it would be best for me to stay home one more time. By the time he and my precious little ones arrived home I was in a lot of pain, but with his nurse hat on we were able to get things settled down, and I went on to walk a mile and a half that evening.
By 4:00 Monday morning I was so uncomfortable that I was wide awake and couldn’t sleep. My sweet husband was scheduled to work a half day at the hospital, however, and I assured him that he needed to go on and I would be fine. By about 10:30 that morning I was in complete agony and couldn’t move, I could barely even breathe. I found the exact position where I could breathe without excruciating pain, and sat in the same position without moving until my hubby arrived back home at about 2:00 that afternoon. I was in so much pain that he rushed me straight out the door with a quick peck and “I love you” to my kiddos, and we went straight to the ER. Within two hours I had gone through what felt like a million different blood tests, an X-ray and a CT scan, and found myself in the back of an ambulance making the two hour trip back to the larger hospital with a blood clot in my lung. I had not even been able to give my kiddos a proper goodbye.
In the blink of an eye my entire, orderly world had come crashing down. I knew the dangers of a blood clot, and the fear of it moving to my heart or brain hung over me like a cloud. At 31 years old, for the first time in my life I was literally slapped in the face with my own mortality. I knew that God was in control, yet so many thoughts were constantly going through my head: if the worst happened, what would my kiddos remember about their mama? What would my husband remember? What kind of an impact have I made for the Lord? Have I truly done my best, or have I allowed myself to become complacent in the daily acts of life? So often we scoff at teenagers and the immortal attitude with which they embrace life, yet I truly believe as wives, mothers, and Christian women, oftentimes we do the exact same thing.
God is good, and my situation had the best possible ending. I received excellent care, my in-laws had just arrived from out-of-town and were able to watch my kiddos, and the blood clot was in the ideal place, there was no possible way it could move anywhere else and cause any more damage. After four days in the hospital I was able to return home to my precious little ones with no more than blood thinners and a need to be cautious for the next six months. Yet I pray I remember the lessons I learned during this time.
I have no doubt that we have all experienced tragedy, either ourselves or through those we love. The sudden loss of a parent, a child, a spouse a best friend or a sibling. The diagnosis of a tragic and terrifying disease. A serious injury that resulted in a major impairment of one type or another. Yet still we constantly put things off, and become so focused on the here and now that we lose sight of the big picture. Proverbs 27:1 states, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” In Luke 12 Jesus tells a parable of a man who focused on storing riches for himself, and when he finally felt he had enough and prepared to celebrate in Luke 12:20 Jesus states, “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”
Scripture makes it clear that God expects His children to live in the present. Does that mean we can’t plan for the future? Absolutely not! But it does mean that we can’t obsess over our future to the point of neglecting the blessings God has given us today.
So, for this month’s Let It Overflow Challenge, I challenge you to join me and learn from my bad example. I want you to pause and seriously consider what you have been putting off in your own life. Are you so overwhelmed with small children that you zone out during the day, planning to have quality time with them “later” when you are less exhausted? Have you known that you need to stretch yourself by leading a prayer, a song, or teaching a lesson at ladies’ Bible class, yet you just haven’t made yourself commit to it yet? Are you needing to eat healthier or exercise more, and waiting until a “less stressful” time to really work on it? Have you been thinking about talking to your co-worker about the saving power of Jesus Christ, yet waiting for the “opportune time”? Sisters, the opportune time is now! If, in the blink of an eye, it were all taken away, what regrets would you have?
I challenge you to prayerfully make a list of the procrastinations or mixed up priorities that are in your life. Then, I want you to join me in beginning to slowly chip away at that list. With overcoming one bad habit at a time, we can become women who truly embrace life to its fullest every single day. Truly, why put off until tomorrow what we can do today? Let us live a life that is so dedicated to honoring God Almighty that there is just not any room left for doubt or regrets. Carpe diem my sisters!