By Cynthia Ruchti –
That’s what I said over the phone when in conversation with someone who shared my rant over the four-volume to-do lists sneering at us both. Looking for a spark of hope in the murky fog of responsibilities, I cheered the caller with the line, “Our lists remind us we have meaningful work to do.” Nervous little laugh. Then came the soul-heavy recognition that the Lord had just spoken, not me. And not through me but TO me.
My mom’s final days on this earth, almost a year ago now, were marked by struggle and a pathological inactivity that often rose with a greater ferocity than her pain. She mourned her loss of strength and the steady decline of her ability to breathe, but of greatest concern was the loss of something meaningful to do.
She’d battled congestive heart failure and all…yes, all…of its complications for many years. She understood that physical activities would be sloughed off like dead skin cells. One by one, she gave them up—traveling, gardening, cooking, pulling her great-grandchildren into her lap. Eventually even reading—a great holdout of joy in her declining years—was taken in brief one or two minutes snatches before she tired.
Diligent to the end to pray for those she loved, for her church family, and even for her hospice caregivers, all other avenues of meaningful work disappeared. No to-do lists. No responsibilities except for the labor of breathing.
Not having more than that on her list broke her heart.
Reflecting on the depth of her disappointment, I’m thanking God today that there’s more than one thing waiting for my attention. A robust list. And whether today or tomorrow or next week, they’ll all get done, by God’s grace.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for cheering my heart with this wave of gratitude. Even when the list threatens to choke me, it won’t. And it is evidence that You have given me an abundance of meaningful work.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17 NIV).
Today’s devotional is by Cynthia Ruchti, writer/producer of THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME radio ministry and past president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Cynthia’s debut novel—They Almost Always Come Home—and “The Heart’s Harbor” in A Door County Christmas novella collection released in 2010. Cynthia writes stories of hope-that-glows-in-the-dark (www.cynthiaruchti.com).