Sitting to tie my shoes, I turned to confess to my husband, who was fully reclined in his leather chair. “We’ve been doing this for how many mornings now, and I think I’m still waking up just a little bit bitter.”
It’s 6:08 a.m. on a Saturday.
Our new normal.
Clearly, I didn’t think this new puppy thing all the way through.
On the bright side, at 13 weeks, our cute little buddy has been fully potty trained and sleeping through the night for weeks now. But mornings are still coming too early for this mama, especially during summertime. Like clockwork, at 6 a.m., the boy is ready to get up and greet the day.
Me, not so much.
I wanted my husband to commiserate with me. I wanted sympathy. Instead, I got these words: “This is your life. Accept it.”
Al-rightly then. Good talk.
As I walked out the door for my morning walk, I chuckled at my husband’s compassionate response. “This is your life. Accept it.” Over and over, I repeated his words in my head. Then, I turned my thoughts to prayer.
“I guess it’s true, God. This is my life. I guess I should accept it.”
Then the words came again, but this time with a spin.
“This is your life. Receive it.”
And suddenly, my husband’s straightforward response became a tender message from God.
This early morning wake-up call didn’t have to be a consequence I had to accept. Instead, it could be a gift I could receive. I could either wake up every morning just a little bit bitter, or I can wake up and receive my day and all that comes with it as a gift. I can push against my story (and the God who rules over it), or I can lean into it (and Him).
The choice was mine.
Pick up your cross.
As I continued to walk, my mind returned to words from my friend Catrina 8 years ago, right after her young husband died from cancer. Unfortunately, I can’t quote her exactly, but she said something like this …
When Jesus said pick up your cross and follow me, I think our cross might be our stories. He’s telling us to deny ourselves (and what we thought our lives would look like) and pick up the real (and often painful) stories of our lives – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and follow Him.
Maybe she’s right.
“This is your life. Receive it.” That’s not so hard when we’re talking about waking up earlier than we want in the summertime. But what about the other stuff – the parts of our stories that still make us just a little bit bitter, the details of our stories we try to push away. Is the message still the same?
Currently, my dear, this is your lot. Will you receive it?
Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.