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Marking Time

by SHIRLEY RALSTON WISDOM Balancing ministry, family, & life God’s guidance & direction Hearing God & Understanding His Will Quiet time with the Lord Re-entry Self-care Serving joyfully Abide Reflecting God
Marking Time
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“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. LORD¬¬–how long? Turn and have compassion on Your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days. Make us rejoice for as many days as You have humbled us, for as many years as we have seen adversity. Let Your work be seen by Your servants, and Your splendor by their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish for us the work of our hands–establish the work of our hands!”
Psalms 90:12–17

The trucks were gone. All that remained were me and the moving boxes. They contained all the possessions of our journey abroad. ‘Six years…where did the time go? Didn’t we just leave?’ Those boxes triggered memories that caused me to feel disoriented, like I had just emerged from an alternate timeline. Had I been watching too much science fiction? 

My life as a global worker was over. So much had happened while we were away. Four graduations, two marriages, and one precious grandchild, plus the passing of my parents. My son had been deployed to Afghanistan and had safely returned. All were markers of the rapid passing of time and the brevity of life. The familiar words of Psalm 90 came to mind, “Teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Those ancient words, penned by Moses, convey timeless wisdom about the preciousness of our days on earth. Scripture describes them with imaginative similes: We are a mist (James 4:14), a mere breath (Psalm 39:5), swifter than a weaver’s shuttle (Job 7:6), like a shadow (1 Chronicles 29:15). Moses asks for God’s compassion, for satisfaction in His hesed, his faithful love. He is thankful for the humility brought on by adversity. His deepest desire is for God to establish the work of his hands and for Him to receive the glory.

I feel Moses’ urgency when I read his words. Age and experience have given me that same sense of urgency about the value of time and wisdom. Like Moses, it is also my deepest desire for the Lord to establish the work of my hands and to make Him known. 

The boxes of possessions from our overseas life were reminders of counted days and wisdom the Lord had imparted to me during those years. Wisdom He means for me to pass on to others. Whatever season of life you are in, and wherever you may be serving, take care to count each day as a new opportunity to gain a heart of wisdom from the Lord. 

“We will not wake up ten years from now and find we have passively taken on the character of God.” –Jen Wilkin 

Closing Prayer
Lord, You are faithful to provide us with Your wisdom so we can navigate this earthly life in a way that brings You glory. Help us to correctly discern the many issues of life that come before us, according to the perfect wisdom from Your Word. Give us opportunities to share what we know with others, and in doing so, bring glory to Your name. Amen.
Book: All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment by Hannah Anderson I really enjoy Hannah Anderson’s writing because she is honest and straightforward without being brash. Her storytelling is lovely. This book is a refreshing look at discernment. It leads the reader to joyfully discover Godly wisdom.
Book: Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin Jen Wilkin understands the need for women to go deeper into scripture. She offers a more mature study of God’s word that is quite different from what we’ve grown accustomed to in women’s bible studies.
Question for Reflection

Life is often taken up with the “tyranny of the urgent.” Are you able to find the time to carefully count the days and practice biblical wisdom in your daily life?

Shirley Ralston
September 06, 2021

When I was raising children, our lives were so busy that I didn’t notice how fast time was passing. When we moved overseas, I thought it would only be for a couple of years. Time flew by, and before I knew it, it had been six years, and I was an empty nester! I know I could have done better at carefully counting the days, but then again, I am confident the Lord was right there with me the whole time, pouring wisdom into my needy soul and marking the days with me. Now I share the wisdom I gained during that time with other global workers when they return to the U.S.

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