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“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV

In five days and a couple of hours, we will change time. Fall back. Loose an hour.

In a few days children will be dressed up as pumpkins, ghosts, and disney characters. Carrying pumpkin buckets and collecting candy.

Thanksgiving comes in thirty days.

The winter solstice will arrive in fifty-five days. Christmas in fifty-eight.

These are the days that seem to roll towards us like a steamroller. Busy days. Days where our focus becomes unfocused. Dazed and confused going round in circles it seems. Entangled with relentless “to do” lists and a heaping pile of endless things to do. Time, money, common courtesy, Christ-like love, and patience in short supply.

I’m counting the days. I dread the time change. Dread days with more dark than light.

And Christmas, these days it makes me feel less than adequate. Coming from a time where want and more were instilled into our generation and those that followed.

And winter. Let’s just say me and “Old Man Winter” don’t exactly get along. I’m already freezing and it’s not even really cold yet. Most folks are just now moving into their comfort zone and I’m in fuzzy socks.

2015 arrives in sixty four days. After the craze and daze of the holiday season, most of us can finally let loose with a collective sigh. And I can begin to count the days to spring. One hundred forty three, in case, like me, you need to know.

As I count the days each one brings hope. Hope for warmer weather. Hope for more light than dark. Hope for new life. Children swinging. Blooms and bumblebees. Warmth.

I count these days. I feel hopeful. Lighter. Somehow, I’ll make it through all that is hard for me.

And as I count, I read of one who is counting too…

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As I’ve been counting days, worrying, and generally wallowing in self pity, I’ve been reading this book. The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts. And. I. Am. Shamed.

Shamed and ashamed.

“I spent the holiday season this year after my second and third diagnoses looking deeply into the faces of the ones I love most. I longed to remember what it was like not to count my days, to be lost in the bliss of ignorance of how much remains. With every action I wondered, ‘Is this my last meal of mostly brown shared with people I love, like, and desire close? Are they counting my Thanksgivings? Did they feel bound to accept my invitation because of cancer’?” excerpt from The Hardest Peace

She is counting her days. Her last days.  With her husband, her precious four young children. Family. Friends. Grace is weaved all through her story. Her heart is laid bare with the hard of life.

Kara Tippets asks the hard questions in the hard place. Questions like, “Is Jesus really good in the awful of cancer, fire, heartbreak, and devastation? In the face of all that is broken, is God Good?”

“Trusting God when the miracle does not come, when the urgent prayer gets no answer, when there is only darkness~this is the kind of faith God values perhaps most of all. This is the kind of faith that can be developed and displayed only in the midst of difficult circumstances. This is the kind of faith that cannot be shaken because it is the result of having been shaken. Nancy Guthrie~Holding on to Hope

I’ve held this book close to me. Like a dear friend. Her words, her hard presses in. My hard seems a bit easier. As I count days through the hard with hope of spring to come, she is counting days till the end, with the Hope of Salvation. Knowing her story won’t end, but will only just begin. Kara is honest to tell you in her book, this is not the story she would have chosen. However, it is the story The Author has chosen for her.

I’ve underlined, highlighted, ear marked, and folded over many pages. I’ll continue to follow her story, as her days wane.

Her story reminded me as I was counting the hard days, I had forgotten to count the gifts.

~pudgy little toes with a smidge of dirt on the end, days of “Indian Summer”, slices of pink painted across the sky, hugs and smiles from precious grandchildren, Saturday mornings, coffee with my man…his breathing as he sleeps next to me~

In my counting of the hard~there was the neglecting of the gifts.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn