God has been speaking to me a lot about ordinary time, in contrast to special seasons like Advent and Lent. Slowly but surely I, extravagant Ellen, am learning the importance of how to accept a humdrum day. Why is this lesson so important to a Christian wife, mother and Nana? We live most of our life in ordinary times doing the mundane things. The only difference is we are trying to focus on doing all we do for Jesus.
One of the expressions that I often say to young mothers is, “Diapers and dishes is what God used to grow character in me.” We have a very creative God who uses ordinary means to produce extraordinary fruit.
A lot of people think they are only walking in God’s grace when things are going well. Peace reigns in their hearts because there are no storms on the horizon and not a cloud in the sky. I have learned that God’s grace is sufficient in all seasons of life. It seems to me that grace is most evident when a storm is brewing. In fact, character also grows most when things are not going perfectly. It is in the tough times when you have the opportunity to witness to all God’s faithfulness.
One day while in prayer Jesus spoke to me in the depth of my soul. He said, “When the storms of life come, and they will, run to the adoration chapel.” It was a word I never forgot. It is in the adoration chapel before the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus that I enter into His Holy presence and feel His peace.
No one is ever completely prepared for a storm to come their way, not Houston or the entire state of Florida. A sunny shower is welcoming, especially if you packed your umbrella. On the other hand, a storm in life is a whole different ball game. We do not always come out the winner and it can sometimes be devastating. Sometimes we are just called to pick up the pieces and begin again.
It is in those times of our life when the torrents of rain are falling on our life, ruining our plans, that running to Jesus is the only thing we know to do. Jesus always hears us and helps us to see the sun peeking through the clouds again. He often uses people to be our sunglasses to see life more clearly. In the midst of the healing process, patience with yourself and others is essential. It takes time and often an attitude change to open your heart and let the “Son Shine” in!
It was such a time as this in my life that God sent a stranger to bring the “Son Shine!” It was not an ordinary day, nor an extraordinary one. It was a day when black clouds covered my eyes from seeing God’s glory all around me. I was attempting to do ordinary things by kick-starting my ordinary life into forward motion. Ordinary life seemed almost impossible that day.
To cheer myself up I chose to make it an errand day. Errands are always my favorite chore! First stop, the post office to mail some packages. There was a sweet older lady in the line behind me with a welcoming smile. As vivid as this moment was to me, I, a people person, do not remember her name or the conversation. I only remember what she did. She took the time to listen and care. We walked out together like long-lost friends. As we parted, we hugged and then she prayed for me. A smile replaced the frown I had been wearing upon my face for weeks. I gave her my card and continued on my way. The storm had passed momentarily. She had brought the “Son Shine” of His love. I wonder if she knew it. Often God uses us and we are unaware.
A few weeks later I received a package in the mail. Enthusiastically I opened it up, too excited to check the sender. Once I gazed upon the gift, I knew exactly where it had come from: the stranger at the post office. What was the gift? The gift was a book resembling a prayer journal. The real jewel was the words pasted on the inside cover. They were from “Emma’s Happiness Book” by Betty Steele Everett. I treasured that gift. It came at just the right time in my life. I began a daily practice of writing those things that made me happy each day. This practice helped Emma get through the loss of her husband. This happiness book helped to get me through a tough time in my life. By counting my blessings each day the dark clouds seemed to go away. Once the journal was full of happy memories, I placed it in my memory box to keep. The stranger’s kind deed will be remembered forever.
Why don’t you start a happiness book of your own, or send one to someone who needs it most. Remembering the positive things that come your way each day is another way that God grows a grateful heart. A thankful heart can make an ordinary day seem extraordinary. The way I see it, if there is not a storm brewing, ordinary seems just fine.
When I lived in Florida my favorite rainy day expression was, “The Son is shining at least in God’s people.” Is the Son shining in your heart? Are you happy that God uses people, sometimes even strangers, to bring a touch of His love to calm a storm, or part the clouds that are hiding the grace in your day? Pause in prayer because sometimes you may be called upon to bring the “Son Shine.” Other times you may be the receiver of His “Son Shine!” Bringing the “Son Shine” to whom God needs you to takes a listening ear, a caring heart and obedience. Who will you bring God’s love to this day?
Copyright 2017 Ellen Mongan