Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Do the Next Thing

So often in life we wake up to find ourselves facing the ordinary, mundane tasks of life. As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I have come to realize that life is made up of a lot of uneventful, ordinary days with some highs and lows mixed in between.

When I was in high school, I thought I would pursue a degree in journalism and become a television reporter, or perhaps a news anchor.  It sounded so exciting and glamorous. As it turned out, I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ when I was a sophomore, and the Lord showed me that He had other plans for my life. After graduation, I met my future husband who was called to missions, and we married and had six beautiful children and have dedicated our lives to the call of ministry--whether in the USA when my husband was a full time chaplain in the jails, or on a foreign mission field in Mexico, and now in the Canary Islands.

People sometimes look at missions and think, "Oh, that sounds so exciting!" You get to travel around the US and in foreign countries and meet a lot of people. Yes, I have traveled quite a bit and experienced living in foreign cultures which has enriched my life tremendously. But when push comes to shove, so much of our lives is about the simple daily tasks we do, which often seems so monotonous.

The past summer I was blessed to be able to spend some time with my mother who is suffering from ovarian cancer. She has lived with the disease now for over 1.5 years, and has seen improvements and setbacks. I spent several days at her bedside in the hospital and at home.  Caring for her I came to realize how much we need people in this world who are willing to do the ordinary, not so glamorous and downright "dirty" tasks in life.

The real heroes in my opinion, aren't the superstars--sports heroes, overpaid actors in Hollywood or on television--no, they are the caregivers. The ones who wake up every day facing sick patients who need someone to help them do the ordinary tasks of life--feeding them, cleaning up after them, changing their bed linens, and all the not so pleasant tasks that go along with it. Where would this world be without these caring and compassionate people?

The challenge is facing life with courage each day as we go through the motions of doing the routine and ordinary, especially when no one notices or appreciates what we are doing. It is difficult to approach each day with thankfulness and gratitude--but I tried to remind myself that at least I wasn't in the sickbed, incapacitated or suffering with cancer.

If you find yourself dreading another day of "the same old same old," take time to remember that you are not alone. God can give us strength to face another day of dirty diapers, loads of laundry, dishes in the sink.....whatever it is that you tire of. Where would this world be if no one was willing to care for the young, the elderly, or those who can't care for themselves?

I saw this poem today on Facebook, and the author is Unknown, but it might give you encouragement as you face your day today.

Do The Next Thing
From an old English parsonage,
Down by the sea,
There came in the twilight,
A message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend,
Deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me,
Teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours
The quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration-
DO THE NEXT THING
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment,
Let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity,
Guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows,
Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus,
DO THE NEXT THING
Do it immediately;
Do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence,
Tracing His Hand,
Who placed it before thee with
Earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings,
DO THE NEXT THING
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
(Working or suffering)
Be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence,
The rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance
Be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee,
DO THE NEXT THING
-Author unknown