In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God\’s grace that he lavished on us
with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery
of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in
Christ. – Ephesians 1:7-9 niv

As children, my brother, sister, and I looked forward to visiting our
grandmother during the sweltering days of summer. Dad would drive along
the winding gravel roads, with me getting sicker by the moment, until
we finally came to her small house, deep in the hills of Kentucky.

Every evening she\’d cook a big supper over the wood stove. We ate green
beans fresh out of the garden, chicken, cornbread, and crispy fried
potatoes – browned in the cast iron skillet.

After we ate, I\’d help Grandma wash the dishes using spring water
warmed on the stove. With the kitchen cleaned, we\’d head out to the
front porch to ‘sit a spell.\’ Without electricity, we had no television
or even a radio. The sound of crickets chirping and the croaking frogs
lulled us into a slow and easy time of relaxation.

Fast forward to today. After work, we barrel through the drive-through
at the chain restaurant, scarf down a meal, and head home to catch the
latest drama or soap opera. We scan a hundred or so emails, answering
the jangling phone now and then. Was that ring coming from the home
phone, the cell phone, or the internet phone? We look over our
unfinished ‘to do\’ list.

I thought when I got older my life would slow down. Not so! If
anything, I\’m busier than ever, and I know I\’m not alone. Several weeks
after my sister-in-law\’s Retirement, I talked to her, and she
summarized her days by saying, “I don\’t know how I had time to work!”

With our days flying by, it\’s easy to forget what\’s most important.
What\’s #1 on your ‘to do\’ list? Before my feet hit the floor running in
the morning, I do my best to start the day talking to the Lord,
thanking Him for another day to love Him, serve Him, and tell others
about Him. I strive to read and study His Word. As my example, I look
to Jesus. He knew His life\’s mission, His purpose. He set goals, and
made each day count. As His days dwindled, He never let up. Sometime I
get so caught up in the busyness of life, I lose sight of my goal, my
purpose – to serve God and share His love.

In the first chapter of the book of Mark, we read where Jesus had an
extremely busy day. He taught at the synagogue, cast an evil spirit out
of a man, and then went to Simon and Andrew\’s home where He healed
Simon\’s mother-in-law. That evening the whole town gathered at the
door! “Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out
many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew
who he was.”

The next morning, Jesus got up very early in the morning to pray. When
His disciples came looking for Him, he said, “Let us go somewhere
else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I
have come.” He already had His ‘to do\’ list. He knew His purpose.

I don\’t really want to go back to the days of no electricity or running
water, but I do want to slow down long enough to establish godly
priorities. Whether young or old, we live in a busy, fast-paced, and
stressful world. We need God\’s help. Let\’s ask God each morning to help
us as we plan our days, and slow down long enough to listen. Read His
Word to determine His will for your life. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus
promised when we come to Him, He will give us rest. When you feel
overwhelmed, call on God for refreshment, and the strength to cope with
the busyness of life.

I think tonight I\’ll turn off the TV, the radio, ignore the multiple
phones ringing, and relax like I did on Granny\’s front porch.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for life and all its challenges and joys. I
pray for wisdom to plan my days according to Your purpose for my life.
In Jesus\’ Name I pray, Amen.

Children's author and inspirational writer, Donna J. Shepherd, looks at everyday life and finds God's fingerprints everywhere. From bird watching to the Beatitudes, Donna's writing touches the heart with wisdom and humor while feeding the mind with daily portions of God's Word. She is currently a columnist for The Dabbling Mum and a staff poet for The Inspiration Station. Her articles and poetry have appeared in Reminisce Extra, Just Between Us, Guideposts for Kids, Penwomanship, Sisters in the Lord, and many more. Her devotionals appear in Daily Grace for Women, Devotional Reflections to Nourish Your Soul (Honor Books), and Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms (Warner Books).