by Linda Rooks
“Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.” Psalm 25:4 NKJV
Each time I prayed for Marsha, I remembered her last words to me when we spoke on the phone. “I just went to Moffitt and they’re letting me try an experimental treatment,” she said.
I felt encouraged. She sounded encouraged.
But, of course, that was Marsha’s nature—always positive. Even though doctors said her cancer was too advanced and there was nothing more they could do for her. Even though they gave her only a few months to live . . . .
In the midst of my busy schedule I thought often about calling and checking up on her. But as my to-do list grew longer and more urgent, time slipped away. I’d even been too busy to check my Facebook notifications. Wow!
A few weeks after my last conversation with her, I finally got around to checking in with Facebook. At the top of my news feed, I spied a post from Marsha’s daughter. I caught my breath and felt my heart constricting.
Marsha had died the day before.
In addition, Marsha herself had posted a week earlier, telling her friends about her deteriorating condition and encouraging us not to fear for her. “I have my hand on the doorknob of heaven,” she said. She had posted, and I had missed it.
I cried. I grieved. My heart was broken. Recognizing my failure to follow up on those nagging reminders to call Marsha, I was filled with regret. But I could not change what happened.
Thankfully, I knew she was now safely home with our loving heavenly Father and free from pain, but the incident caused me to reevaluate my priorities.
What was more important? My projects? Or my relationships?
Sometimes, the good things we choose to do in life multiply to such an extent that what is good begins to crowd out what is better—or best. We fail to realize that for everything we choose to do, we simultaneously choose not to do something else. In our twenty-four-hour day, time is limited. We can’t do everything.
When we routinely concentrate on what seems urgent, things that don’t cry out with insistence or immediate deadlines are put to the side. For me, keeping up with friendships is often the first casualty. Family relationships can take a backseat too. We can be so busy trying to do our best at work, helping at church, or working on a project, we neglect to give our children the attention they need. Or we may be so engrossed in solving our children’s problems, we forget our husband has needs too. One day, however, those innocent oversights may transform into grief and regret.
Perhaps that’s why we need to start each day in prayer. One of my friends recently told me that before she gets out of bed each morning she asks God not to let her miss whatever He has for her that day. Now, as part of my morning prayers, her plea to God has become mine as well.
Staying sensitive to God’s leading at the beginning of each day, throughout the day, and before making commitments can help us shed the frustration of crowded schedules, depleted energy, and mediocre or even heart-rending outcomes. Most importantly, when we stay tuned into the promptings of our Living God, He can keep us on a clear path of His intended purposes.
“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17 NKJV.
Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her book Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation continues to bring strength and healing to those who need an encouraging friend in the midst of marital breakdown. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband reside in Central Florida and thank God for the many reconciled marriages they witness through their ministry and the classes they lead.
Join the conversation: In this crazy-busy life, how do you set priorities?