Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:21-23 (NLT)
When You Need to Make a New List
I’m a lifelong Sunday School girl, and I grew up singing the old hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.“ There’s one line that lingers in my head these days as the mornings come crashing down on me, and with them that old, familiar ache of fear, or worry, of not being able to control the future:
“Morning by morning new mercies I see . . .”
I was thinking about that line when I woke up today.
Most mornings when I wake up and stumble to the bathroom to put in my contact lenses and step on and off the scale and then head to the kitchen to figure out how to prepare breakfast without using the leaky sink, I’m not thinking about Christ’s mercies.
I’m thinking about my to-do list.
I’m thinking about my worries and how my hair has more gray in it than I remember from last month. I’m thinking about what we’re going to do if it turns out there isn’t actually a spot for my daughter in the preschool we’re counting on once fall rolls around. I’m googling YouTube videos to figure out how to fix the leak underneath our kitchen sink.
My mornings don’t involve a list of God’s mercies; they involve a list of my own worries.
I’m very good at it.
I’m an expert at the quiet panic that paces around my insides as the boys rush by and our little girl tells me she misses her friends.
I can rattle off all my very specific fears and worries without even having to think very hard.
There are all the boxes we still haven’t unpacked since we moved last month. The shed and the kitchen are projects I’m not sure when we’ll get around to tackling. There’s the old white minivan with the flat tires that require pumping every morning — the same minivan who long ago said goodbye to any hope of air-conditioning. There are the fish ponds we’re not sure yet how to take care of and the mouse who must have moved in while we were on vacation because the brand new bathroom mat I bought has long shreds chewed off it — shreds that now trail up and down the halls.
I can sit in the house of my dreams and miss it all because I’m so busy counting worries.
And then that old hymn rolls around in my head and today, instead of obsessing over the sink, I start to hum the tune I’ve known since childhood. And it reminds me of the God who has loved me since long before that.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided —
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
That “All I have needed” part is what makes me stop. I come to a complete standstill. Right there in the middle of my kitchen with the slightly slanted floor.
Do I really believe that?
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Do I live like I really believe that?
I look out the window, and I can hear the cicadas. There’s a lawnmower in the distance and three very loud kids right here in front of me. And slowly another list starts to take shape in my mind.
These kids are my kids, and they’re growing up into the most fascinating tiny humans. They share their weird and quirky interests with me. They invite me into their fears, and they trust me with their insecurities. At night they lie back to back with me just because it makes them feel safe.
Just last night we built Zoe’s very first big-girl bed. She’s been sleeping in the same crib her big brother first used; it’s made the trek with us from South Africa to Michigan to Virginia and now to Maryland. And last night we moved it out of her room and I watched her climb into the bed that will rock her to sleep every night between now and teenagerhood.
I add that to the list of God’s faithfulness.
Along with the stories my boys tell of new friends at soccer camp. The neighbors who fed our fish for two weeks while we were gone. The brand new friend who comes over to fix my sink (turns out the pipe wasn’t broken, just a washer was loose). So, “learning basic home maintenance” goes on the list too.
And, of course, there are the big things like a home and clothes and warm food. But I’m waking up more to the little things — the ordinary glory of kids’ backpacks and their excitement at finding their feet in this neighborhood. Walks to the mailbox holding onto a tiny hand. Fresh chocolate chip cookies. Bike rides. New markers. Coloring books. Clothes warm out of the dryer.
His faithfulness is new every morning in a hundred different ways. On the stormy days as well as the mild ones. It’s the one thing that doesn’t change.
I so desperately want to become an expert at believing that.
What can you put on your God-Is-Faithful list today?Leave a Comment
Lisa-Jo, thanks for the reminder that there is more than one type of list. I love my to-do lists to make sure I get stuff done, but recently I’ve started my gratitude list too (though I don’t work on that one regularly). Yesterday was a great day full of sunshine, so I thanked God that I got to see my 6 year old take delight in kicking the seeds off dandelions. Such a simple pleasure, but so beautiful to see! I would never have thought of praying for that specifically (I didn’t see it as a need in my life as such), but God knows that there are times I need to slow down and appreciate nature. God is indeed faithful.
Michele Morin says
What grace-filled words for a Sunday morning!
I’m thanking God for the church family that I get to worship with today — having sung that great old hymn with them countless times, I’m thankful for this reminder of its deep truth, Lisa-Jo.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I really needed to read this. I woke up with confusion and worries about my adult daughter. I believe I did all the “right” things – brought her up to love the Lord and His goodness, spent time with her exploring, with wonder, God’s world, played tea-party, read countless books, was there for every game, competition, conference, performance, was there when her world caved in or was cruel, tried to demonstrate a servant’s attitude….and yet I have not seen or talked to her in 8 months. I know she is hurting and wants to blame someone or something for her disappointments. I seem to be that someone…and it hurts. She’s alienated longtime friends from church (though she still goes). I watched my son go down a prodigal path, but in God’s mercy, see Him returning and being wooed back to God. But, a second child? This isn’t how things are supposed to go. I am trying so hard to focus on His mercies and not count the worries, but some days it gets to me. I know God is her ultimate Father. He is able and He’s got this under control. I need to let go and trust. I need to pay attention to my walk with God and let Him work with His relationship with her. I know all these things….but some days it’s just hard. Thank you for letting me share my heart. Staying focused on His mercies and counting my blessings….God is good all of the time!
Kay Lake says
Today, I’m thankful for you, all my sisters at a distance through (In)Courage, and my local church family. You are all great!
My grandmother, who passed away in 1947 when I was 2 months old, had 13 children who lived to be adults. She always prayed that the Lord would wait one more day before returning so all of her children could be saved and their feet set upon the path of righteousness. As far as I know they are all with the Lord right now, my father being her youngest. God is faithful, hang in there!
With Love and Blessings to All, ~Kay Lake
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thank you Kay…
I’m so sorry how this is taking such a toll on you.I can only imagine what it must be like. I really wish I had some words of wisdom to offer but instead I will just pray with all my heart that all will be well, and that you, and your daughter will be reunited. I forgot the name of a song I wanted to share, after I find it I will post it.
I hope that your day will be a blessed one,
Bev or anyone who might interested this is the song I mentioned: Tell Your Heart to beat again by: Danny Gokey it really is beautiful.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thank you Penny for your prayers….and I will listen to the song!
Beth Williams says
Awesome news about your son. I’ve been praying for you and your family for a while now. It is great that God is changing his heart. Prayerfully soon God will change your daughter’s heart. May God give you patience and persistence as we wait for her return. I pray you will be encouraged and comforted in knowing that it is never to late to come to Him. I will keep praying for you all!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I know you have been praying for my son and I know you will pray for my daughter’s heart to be softened….thank you for being such an awesome prayer warrior on my behalf.
Love and ((hugs)),
Brenda Emmons says
I have a friend who is going through the very same thing. It seems so random and out of control but we can take comfort in the fact that God is a God of order and not chaos. My daughter is a recovered heroin addict who God has delivered and redeemed over 12 years ago. I think the one thing that God did for me was His emphasis on transferring the worry and wait into a living relationship with Him. One not on paper but written on my heart. Once I began asking what God wanted me to learn about Him and myself, I focus shifted. It would be another 2 years before she was clean but it was a time when I learned more about myself than any other time. He became a God of my heart instead of a God of my crisis. I couldn’t help but notice that what you said you already know and have is what you need. That is the essense of the beautiful line: “All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.”
Faith always finishes!
Lisa-Jo, I grew up singing that same hymn… Only that as an Argentinian I sang it in Spanish
I learned it in the church my grandmother attended… The same grandmother that turned 84 just a couple of weeks ago, and was rushed to hospital and put in intensive care with a really dark diagnosis… Unbelieavable, she is doing great, still in hospital but now in a normal room, and doctors just can’t explain how…but God!!!
I’m thankful for that miracle, but I’m even more thankful for the inheritance of faith…
The lyrics of that old hymn sounding even more actual today than then
A sun filled morning
No bad dreams last night
Music filling the kitchen
Living alone I look for many thankful things everyday so the negative does not overtake me…God is so faithful!
carol leboeuf says
Thank you for (in) courage I have been reading daily, always perfect timing!
We get stuck in worry like velcro, I hate it, I have been working hard on this issue, sometimes I worry about worrying, it’s crazy! My body tells me when I am worrying, it shows up in physical ways, my thorn in my side, I can only surrender one day at a time and try to live in the moments,
Soooo needed to hear this! Thank you!
Mary c says
Lisa-Jo thank you for you message and reminder “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and also to those who have commented & shared.
I am learning each day we have a choice as to what we think about and how we think about it.
It is life giving to have read what others have written. Bev sharing about her adult children spoke to me as a gentle reminder that I to need to focus on my walk with God and trust our adult children’s life’s journey as I pray for them, family & friends & others to live knowing God is Faithful.
With Gratitude & Love, mary c
Thank you for this reminder! The Lord is so good and gentle in reminding us of His great love! This is exactly what I needed to hear as I’m sitting in my “dream home”, just like you, full of boxes, construction dust, leaky faucets, and slanted floors and not enough money or time for all the repairs. But, this is where I have to choose to remember God’s wonderful promise of faithfulness to us, of His mercies and grace for each new day! This is where I have to fix my eyes on Him!
Christy Dunnam says
Oh my gosh! This was so good! Thank you for the reminder to look for and acknowledge His mercies. It’s hard when you’re in the thick of a storm but so necessary.
Thank-you for this reminder of appreciating God’s faithfulness in His mercies. When there’s things I can not grasp I consider them God sized. So as this new day begins I am thankful for His mercies. The chance to hug my husband and son, for the sunshine, the hummingbirds buzzing around our home, being able to take my son, and grandson for a nature walk yesterday, and that I can start vegetables in the planters my husband recently built.These I can grasp.
I hope that you all have a blessed Sunday……
And getting to talk to my sweet mother in law on the phone this morning.
Rebecca L Jones says
I recently went back over some hymns, the words that stood out were ” just to rest upon His promise. ” It is so sweet trust in Jesus. Isn’t it? I have a messy house today, and a leaky sink and I’ve got you beat Lisa Jo, no mouse but a toilet that wobbles, hope that spray sealer works.
Beth Williams says
Everyone gets stuck in “to-do/worry List” world. It is so easy to see all the bad around us and wonder how/why or when it will be fixed or the trials end. Sometimes we just need to step back and make another list. A list of ALL the good mercies God has given us-every little item we can thank Him for. Good Christian hymns, family, friends, house, car, food & on & on goes the list. If I feel down or out of sorts I will sit down & type out my thankful list or listen to Stephen C. Chapman music & praise God. That helps me to see the good in this life while not worrying about the bad. God is in Control & He will fix it all in His timing.
Blessings ! P.S. Congratulations on a great book!!
carol leboeuf says
I agree Beth, thank u!