As they walked in our front door you could tell they were exhausted and broken. Weariness oozed from them like an open wound. This was the first time in a long time they were able to take a break from the care of their son and get some well-needed respite. After a few minutes of orientation, they went into their bedroom, quietly closed the door, and took what we called a Rip Van Winkle nap. They desperately needed to have life and love poured into their dry and broken souls. It was good that they had found David’s Refuge.
The next day the mom asked Brenda, “How did you do it? How did you care for and love David, knowing he was going to die?” Brenda shared with her a lesson that changed how we lived our lives. She said, “We live life one day at a time!” Today was all we could handle. Today we did the best we could to love, live, serve, and care for David and our other two boys. Tomorrow would just have to wait. We discovered painfully that when we became preoccupied with or overwhelmed by tomorrow that we couldn’t live life to the full today.
The next year this same family returned to our home for their second David’s Refuge weekend. When they walked into our front door you could tell something was different. Without thinking, I asked the wife, “What happened? You look great!” She said we put into practice the lesson of living one day at a time. She said her stress level went from a ten to a two, which resulted in her son’s stress level dropping the same. This resulted in a more peaceful home, a stronger marriage, and an incredible growth in their son’s abilities.
What we didn’t tell our friend is that we plagiarized Jesus when we shared the secret of living one day at a time. In a well-known passage in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is teaching about anxiety and how to battle it. He said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” We thought, if it works for Jesus, it should work for us. So we attempted to change the way we lived, but it was hard! We wrestled every day wondering if tomorrow David would have a seizure, would tomorrow be the last day he could walk, would tomorrow be the last day he could communicate with us. Living one day at a time was harder than it sounded.
Thankfully God knew we needed a little help. In a short little passage found in the Old Testament, we discovered this amazing promise: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” He said Warren and Brenda, don’t ever forget how much I love you. In fact, I love you so much that every morning before your feet hit the cold floor in your bedroom I will give you everything you need for today. I will shower you with my love. I will bless you with My mercy. I will give you the strength to make it through another IEP meeting. I will give you what you need for today, but not for tomorrow.
One day we had a particularly difficult day with David. He had fallen and hurt his knee, a friend who promised to call him didn’t, and he struggled to the point of tears to communicate something to Brenda. It was a day we desperately needed three scoops of God’s mercy. Unfortunately, Brenda and I were overwhelmed by another future “potential” seizure that would land David back in the hospital and we worried about how sad it would be when David would one day be confined to a hospital bed. It would have been a day we desperately needed ten scoops of God’s mercy and love. And therein lies the problem. God had given us exactly what we needed for the day, three scoops. But we were worried about tomorrow, which needed ten scoops. We were seven scoops short! This resulted in anxiety, worry, fear, and exhaustion. Living one day at a time is one of the most effective ways to destroy the anxiety and worry that so easily overcomes us.
How many scoops of God’s mercy do you need today?