On the Cusp of the New Year: Which Part is You and Me?
Popping open the lid from the sugar cookies container, I choose the most-iced versions of the two-inch sugar cookie men.
At the dining room table, I pour another cup of coffee and bite a cookie figure in half. Clicking an ink gel-tipped pen into ready, I’m still processing yesterday’s time here.
“Teach me to number my days aright…?” Was that it? It’s the section of verses that my mom had been mulling over, Bible open to, at a friend’s funeral four years ago just months after my dad’s funeral. Her black-haired pixie cut head had been bobbing and bowed as she listened to the pastor talking, but nodding at the verses from the slim blue Grandpa’s Navy Bible on her lap.
Sitting here in my dining room now, I can remember her and the verses vaguely, but I want to see them up close, to hear them read out now. I pour more coffee since the last half has cooled already, and slip my right hand down unconsciously to slide the far wooden plank back into place under me, a loose screw complicating this art cupboard-turned-bench for me at the table.
It was Psalm 90 or 91…
Pulling my burgundy-covered Bible to me, I pull the zipper in a familiar sound. It catches at the usual spot but then continues.
Flipping pages, I find the chapters, scanning. Psalm 90, there it is, verse 12. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
I pause to grab two more iced sugar cookies. We’re going to need more icing. Are they even two inches? They look smaller.
Hi God, I write it just like yesterday, and pause to smile at him, love him, and relax shoulders at the awareness of him here with me now. I love you, and gratitude and worship are my instant responses to this awareness of his presence. Thank you for trees, draped snow, a white sheet of clouds, for happy family noises around me, for coffee, and You.
I pause, breathe deeper, stretch shoulders wider, straightening and loosening my back and neck all the more, smiling again at him, giddy at the kitchen table, the praises numbering off in my head still.
God, I want to number my days well. The years flash by, the seasons spin too, and soon it’s 2022. Help me to love you all the more and to love others better all the more.
My goals and To Do lists, which were written out yesterday, are still written in my memory as well. Tallies tumble into columns of Today, This Week, This Semester, this Summer, and I breathe it again, this prayer between my God and me.
“Teach me to number my days aright…” I want to make each day count — to be fully present and love people well, and also to make progress towards goals.
I hadn’t remembered the second half of the verse. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
That’s a neat byproduct, God! The outcome of intentionally slowing, deliberating, planning and choosing how I spend my days and moments will lead to a heart of wisdom, God? Help me. Teach me.
Underlined verses in my Bible a couple lines down grab my attention.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).
Verse 17, an inch lower on the page, seals the true source of anything in our lives and goals, grabbing the attention of this Enneagram Three in me. This culmination of wanting to learn to number our days aright, in a chapter on humanity’s brevity, ends with this:
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us –yes, establish the work of our hands,” and the chapter ends.
On the cusp of a New Year, reflecting backwards while dreaming and planning forward, these verses from an ancient Hebrew Psalm ground me in God’s wisdom and heart.
Hi God, and I pause to feel his warmth and love wash over me, rippling down my spine anew. Good morning, God. Help me to number my days aright, seeing their brevity and choosing wisely how to use them. Help me love you more, love others better, and to use my moments and days wisely, using the skills and joys you have put inside me, worshiping you through my actions, attitudes, and words.
Help me number my days aright, give me your heart of wisdom. Thank you that you satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, that you give us your joy that is unfettered by circumstances, and that you, ultimately, are the one who establishes the work of our hands.
We love you, serve you, and live intentionally with our days, numbering them aright, and you make the rest happen in your timing and strength, for your glory, and our joy. Amen.
I find myself smiling again, and roll back my shoulders, the calm and resolution seeping in anew.
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Jennifer speaks often at MOPS/MomsNext groups, at conferences, churches, retreats, camps, home school co-ops and more. She loves getting to know people and making new friends.