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Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

Living Fully Present

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

I wake before the sun has peeled back the night and there are a thousand things on my mind. It will be a full day. My to-do list is longer than my forearm. I’ll need to teach the boys. Bake cookies for a gathering. Run one son to the doctor for allergy medication. Run two others to swim-club practice. There’s a phone call that I need to make. Some housework to get done. The dirty laundry is stacking high, and I think Lonny may have started stretching his feet into a small son’s socks.

I’m watching the clock before my feet hit the cool, smooth floorboards.

It’s then, two seconds out of bed, that I hear it. I don’t hear it with my ears, but I hear with my heart. It’s tender and strong. Powerful and loving and true. “Be fully present. Fully present in your day.”

I sit for a moment and wonder what this means. Of course I’ll be present. Fully present running like wild on this very full day. But I make myself be still for a moment, and then I begin to understand...

Today will be busy–like most days are. There will be a lot to do; that, most likely, will not change. But I can take the time to pray and ask the Lord to order my day. I can ask him to help me separate things out and focus on one thing at a time. I can depend on his grace to give me wisdom to know what to keep and what to let go.

But most of all, I can be fully present to the beautiful hearts around me. Taking time to listen well. Taking time to touch. Looking into eyes and looking for opportunities to reach into a life. Living each moment, with focused attention, letting the mile-a-minute pull of life go free. I think about Jesus and his gentle redirection of Martha. I think he was asking her to live in that moment. Sit. Listen. Learn. Love. The list and work and busyness will always be there. This moment will not.

I want the Lord’s teaching to soak into my life, too. I don’t want to miss irreplaceable, in-front-of-me-now blessing because I’m reaching and racing for the next one hundred things.

I want to experience quiet connection with those in my life, being intentional and fully present for the grace and goodness that will belong to this day.

Thank you, Lord, I whisper as I slide from the bed and head for the coffee.

It’s still going to be crazy. But the Lord has given me peace.

And I believe that living fully present is going to be a very precious thing. 

Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.

Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications.  She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward.  But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.