I sit on the front porch, relishing the North Carolina green that surrounds me, magnolia trees beginning to show off with blooms up and down, the morning air still crisp from a rain the night before.
The girls are noisy rowdy in front of me, wrestling over sidewalk chalk, lost within a world of superhero princesses, unknowingly writing a story for themselves that sings with creativity and courage and imagination and good.
And I am fully here with them. I have a thing for the everyday ordinary.
If I only have the eyes to see, grace saturates each day and carries us through the good and the hard and the mess and the chaos.
But still, I find myself going there too: The news reports of yet another crisis, a step ahead to next week’s problems, holding tightly to next year’s worries that might or might not play out. I am here right now with my right-now people, reminding myself to take in the grace because I don’t want to miss this, but I am also there, worrying, fearing, fretting.
It happens in the day and it happens in the night. Sometimes in the middle of heart-stoppingly joyful moments, but sometimes too, in complete silence.
Sometimes my anxiety stems from something as simple as the mundane details of life, but it can also paralyze me as I whirl around worst case scenarios, envisioning how I would respond should something happen to me or one of my people.
Small or big — it doesn’t matter, my worry finds a way to lay claim to any situation.
I become unglued and unraveled and undone, and I cannot gather up my frayed pieces quickly enough. There is not enough deep breathing, not enough words I can whisper to pick up my pieces, to cover me in peace.
As I process it all — trying to be here but mostly there — I realize something about all of these future worries, tomorrow’s struggles, worst-case scenarios that I hold so tightly to: They are false images. They’re not real. They’re just dusty representations of how it would actually be because my imaginings don’t show God’s presence covering me, within me, around me, strengthening me then just as it is now.
It’s why God reminds us so often to simply stay here now. He gives us strength anew every morning, grace for this moment, manna for this day. He knows that one day is about all we can handle so in His gentle guidance He constantly shifts our gaze back to this day. It’s a day-by-day, moment-by-moment collecting of His peace, His presence, His strength, keeping us dependent on Him and continually turning our face toward His, drawing upon His resources rather than our own.
And no matter how hard we try to pick up our pieces, it is this that gives us peace — His presence, standing guard.
In those times when we feel paralyzed by fear, by worry, and drawn away from our right-now moments, let’s remember that fear doesn’t get the final say. Love does.
Love is the one thing that holds us steady. We follow a God of hope when everything else seems to be crumbling, the God who sees when we feel invisible, the God who sings over us as we have no words, the God of justice who fights for us as we are still.
We need not worry about the future: He is good now and will be good then.
Join me as we approach our sweet and present Jesus with the bold confidence that He is with us in this, guarding us, covering us as our strength and our song. May we all fight the urge to race ahead to moments that aren’t ours yet and instead see the grace that covers us right here, right now, with our right-now people.
Because here are some things that I am sure of:
No matter how long the night, the sun always rises.
Light always drives out the dark.
And love always, always wins.
Have you walked through a hard season or dealt with worry and fear? What did you learn through it?