Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life. (Genesis 25:8, NASB)
I was lying in bed this morning, my Caroline tucked in close to me, and I was rubbing her head.
She had come down a few minutes before to snuggle. It was early, 5:30 a.m., but the sun shone through my bedroom window, gently easing me awake. As I rubbed her soft head, I kept thinking about how much I love her and how she is growing up so fast. Six years old. Four years ago I wrote about how a little one needs her mother, and those words are just as true today. She still needs me, pulled in close, surrounding her with comfort and love.
And I do this. I let her get into bed with me in the early-morning hours because I don’t want to miss it—this precious time, this cuddly, sleepy, warm, tender time. I know it is only for a season, and one day, it will be gone. But I have the here and now; I have today to take it in and enjoy.
And this is how I want to live, taking in these moments so that I can look back on my life and not regret that I missed them.
Every day I get the opportunity to start new; every day I can begin again. Maybe I missed it yesterday. Maybe I got too busy or I got sucked into Facebook, or I just didn’t want to play with my kids. Those are the moments that keep me up at night. Those are the moments I need God’s grace to cover me so I can start over. I need His help every day.
This loving, this mothering, this living that I’m doing requires sacrifice and work, and I need daily reminders of this truth, or I will let the days carry me off, one rolling into another. I don’t want to regret my days because I don’t want to regret my life.
Here’s the thing about regret: We can’t escape it because we can’t escape sin. We will have things and times and decisions we will regret over the course of our lives. The key to really living, to living unregrettably on the arc of it all, is not to have no regrets; it’s to know and choose to begin again. It is to be fully awake to our decisions. It is to choose the direction of our lives the best that we can with who we are and where we are. It is to trust God, walking forward in faith, knowing that He delights in us as we delight in Him and the good things He gives us.
We can live in such a way that at the end, we can die satisfied with how we lived.
Satisfied, not perfect. Abraham died satisfied with his life, but we know that he sinned and made poor decisions in his life. He didn’t live perfectly, but He followed God by faith, and he did live a well-spent life. He died satisfied.
When we sin or fail or botch up something again, we can decide to move forward, learning from it all, and beginning again and again and again. This is how we keep on.
This is how we live a satisfied life.
To read more of Sarah Mae’s writing, check out her new book, Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure—Right Where She Is.