It will probably not surprise you to know that the #1 New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. According to various surveys, only 1 in 10 people will make it past March before returning to their old habits.
While there is nothing wrong with striving to live a healthier lifestyle, what if we looked inward this year and made our focus on the spiritual rather than the physical? What if this year, rather than striving to achieve a weight loss goal or make other resolutions that are likely to fall by the wayside, we choose to appreciate the gift of life God has given us?
James 4:14 reads, “…For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
While it is true that children of God will live eternity in heaven, life on this earth is short. It is also precious. And, it is a gift.
Tragic Sunday Morning
My eldest daughter and her family live in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Her dear friend, Joann Ward, attended the First Baptist Church and was there the day of the shooting. Yes, she is the woman who shielded three of her children with her own body and told her oldest daughter to hide. Two of her four children lived, including the oldest daughter and her son.
Although I never met Joann personally, I know that the first time my daughter was introduced to her, she called me and said, “Mom, I met this woman named Joann, and I just really like being around her.”
From what I hear, Joann had that impact on many people. She appreciated life and she appreciated others, and somehow people sensed it. She was all about family, friends, and her children—especially her children.
The morning of the shooting, I was leaving church, unaware of what was happening in Sutherland Springs. I live in an entirely different town, more than 200 miles away. As I walked toward the car, I pulled my cell phone from my purse and turned it on.
Immediately, text messages from my daughter binged my phone, one after another—texts about a church shooting, an active shooter, and body counts. The second I called my daughter, she flooded my phone with sobs and wails. “Joann’s babies are dead!”
In the flurry of information and misinformation, she had no idea that two of her friend’s children had survived, but her friend was among the fatalities. It was a truly tragic day, and one I will never, ever forget.
A Different Perspective
Since that tragedy, my daughter has had to explain to her own little girls that their two friends cannot come over and play because they are in heaven with their mommy and Jesus. She’s had to look out the window of her vehicle and watch as multiple graves were dug for one family. And, she’s had to drive by the church where numerous crosses still stand, including crosses for her friend and her friend’s two little girls.
Through it all, however, my daughter has gained a greater understanding of what is important in life—children, good friends, supportive family, neighbors who run to help other neighbors, and a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. She has learned that life is so very fragile and tomorrow is never promised to anyone—even the best and brightest among us.
This year, instead of making resolutions that will probably fall by the wayside in a few weeks, RESOLVE to appreciate the life you have been given, appreciate your loved ones, and appreciate the short time you have on this earth.
This life is a gift from God, fleeting and fragile, but oh so beautiful. Handle it with care.
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