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Family Grace
By Shawnelle Eliasen

Winning the War of Worry

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

The boys are in our backyard pool with a few of their friends. There is laughter. Joy. The rowdy sort of glee that comes with having a good deal of boyness in a somewhat small space.

Boys splashing in a pool.They swim and splash and make the water nearly slosh over the pool walls.

I’m on the swing that my husband Lonny built. It’s my perch. My watching spot. But today, as I sit in the sun, my thoughts wander. And soon I find myself in a worrisome place.

Summer days are numbered.

Change is near.

I never deal with change well. It may be my strongest spiritual struggle. Change brings uncertainty, and that translates to fear. Close-at-hand autumn will move us, as a family, into new territory.

Our oldest son Logan will return to Wheaton to finish his Bible degree. What will come next? Grant will begin his senior year in high school. What will the future bring? The three youngest boys and I will begin our homeschool year. Will what I teach them be enough?

Sometimes I draw worry into my emotional heart as naturally as my physical lungs draw air.

Yet, I know, as I contemplate, with still-summer sounds wrapping around me, that Jesus tells us not to worry. In fact, in His grace, he encourages us to live just one day at a time. Each day will bring what He’s prepared me for. Each day will bring what, in His strength, I can handle. The rest is a burden I place upon myself.

A self-willed yoke.

A weight He’s told me not to bear.

I’m still thinking about this when I’m hit with a cold water spray. Droplets fall like cool spring rain.

“Sorry, Mom,” a son calls. His water gun is pointed high, and he’s wearing a grin. Several boys poke their heads up from the water, hair slicked back smooth as seals.

I decide that I want to live today.

I think of the water gun in the shed behind me. I’m going to join the boys in their fun. A sneak attack will be just the thing.

This war with worry? I’m going to win it one day at a time.

It’s what the Lord commanded.

And peace floods my soul as I obey.

Teach me to live one day at a time, Lord. To appreciate and work within the here and now. Help me to trust and to leave the details of my tomorrows to you.

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.