January 10, 2018

Day by Day by Sharon Espeseth

I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.

Through my readings and in Father Johnny Rohit's recent homily, I've recognized more clearly how much Mary the Mother of Jesus is a role model for us in living Day by Day.

The angel came to Mary, saying, "Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you." She was perplexed and wondered what kind of greeting this was. "Do not be afraid, Mary;" the angel continued, "you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus." The angel told Mary how great Jesus would be and that he would be the Son of the Most High.

Mary asked only one question: how would she, being a virgin, bear a son. Other than that, she said, "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." (Luke 1:26-38)

Baby Jesus was born shortly after Mary and Joseph had arrived in Bethlehem where the innkeeper gave them a humble, quiet spot in a shelter for animals. Out on the hills with the shepherds, who were watching their sheep, the excitement was astounding. An angel appeared to them and announced great news. A Saviour, the long-awaited Messiah had been born in Bethlehem.

A host of angels was singing, "Glory to God" and announcing "peace on earth to those on whom (God's) favour rests." The shepherds hurried to the City of David to see Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus and they shared with them what the angels had told them about the child.

Mary treasured these things and pondered them in her heart.

Mary and Joseph quietly received the news and further explanation about their son. We don't hear Mary or Joseph asking, "How do you know all this? Why would God have told you before telling us that our son would be the Messiah. Instead, we read,"Mary treasured these things and pondered them in her heart."  (Luke 2:1-20)

Listening and pondering . . . I have much to learn about these aspects of my faith.

Today, we want to see around corners and get a clearer picture of how our lives will unfold. We plan and we try to make the future happen the way we think it should. Most of us like more input and control in how our lives unfold--so much so that we make goals before, or without, consulting God. Then we wonder why life doesn't turn out so well.

Mary and Joseph understand that God would take care of them if they but surrendered themselves to His will. When God told Joseph in a dream to take the mother and child to Egypt, Jesus' earthly father didn't ask questions. He obeyed.

The Holy Family's Flight to Egypt

At three score years and a generous decade, I'm reconsidering my goals in light of what God is showing me and/or not showing me. I remind myself to consult God's word, to pray and to listen to what He has to say on the subject of my would-be accomplishments.

I haven't always waited for his guidance. Maybe that's the reason my unfinished goals are sitting like cold pots on the back burner. Taking one day at a time, Mary surrendered her will to God the Father. I must strive to do likewise.

I have a couple writing projects hibernating. I will work on them, but I don't feel as anxious or driven about these plans as I used to be. May I, instead, offer each day to God. Along with the Psalmist, I pray, "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

In our modern-day society, we all seem to need "to-do lists," appointments and dates on our calendars--or on our phones--for basic organization. Beyond that, I'm learning to be more flexible. Just as in financial planning, we may need a contingency plan for our goals.

Dealing with current health issues in our family, my writing and other plans can be pre-empted with short notice. These days, I refer to these wise words that are posted on our fridge:

"Peacefully do at each moment what ought to be done. If we do what each moment requires, we will eventually complete God's plan, whatever it is. We can trust God to take care of the master plan when we take care of the details.
                                                                                     Saint Katherine Drexel               

Taking one day at a time, Mary surrendered her will to God the Father. I can learn from her.

Corrie ten Boom, who wrote and spoke about her World War II experiences, said she'd learned that it's better to ask God for His agenda and then she would sign off on it, rather than the other way around. She has also said,

When friends ask Hank and me how we are doing, I find myself answering that we are learning to live "day by day." Recently, I've found comfort in the beautiful hymn, "Day by Day," which I treasure as part of my Swedish heritage. Born out of personal tragedy in the drowning death of her father, Carolina Sandell Berg wrote the words of this song and many others.

Sandell Berg's lyrics, set to music by others, were influential in the revival that swept through Scandinavia in the 1850s. The faith of my grandparents later sprang from this great revival. In their youth, they brought their strong, Bible-based faith with them to Canada. I remember my grandfather reading the Bible and praying, in either English or Swedish, to a large crew around the old oak table.

I was not able to put the website here, but I'd love to share with you a lovely version of "Day by Day." You may find it by googling "YouTube-Day by Day sung by the Antrim Mennonite Choir."


  1. Thank you for this beautiful post, Sharon. Listening and pondering have become critically important in my life as well!

  2. You're welcome, Karma. I definitely got the impression, from your recent post, that you are listening and pondering. InScribe Writers Online is a good venue for reminding one another of our need to listen and ponder. Thank you as well.

  3. I always enjoy your candour, humility, and wisdom, Sharon. may God guide you 'day by day' this year in your writing and in your other areas of life.

  4. Thank you, Tracy. And I pray that God will guide you this year as well.

  5. You're so right that we often go about life without consulting God and then wonder why things don't turn out so well. I'm guilty of that. Great post. Love your wisdom.

  6. Mea culpa! (Through my fault.) We have all sinned in this and in other ways, but God is gracious to forgive our sins and lead us in the right direction. Amen!

  7. A flexible plan, day by day is a good idea. And praying about our plans is wise. God is in control and has great plans for us. Thanks, Sharon.

  8. I agree, Shirley. I didn't mean to say that I'm abandoning my writing projects, but I am trusting God more to help me fit them in, or not, as he has planned for me. Thanks for you encouragement, Shirley, and all of the rest of you. May each of us be at peace with what God would have us do. Amen.

  9. VERY wise and WONDERFUL words Sharon. A sentiment I am striving hard to adopt every day. I spent 30 years as a prodigal trying to make my way in this world and getting nowhere of value. I now want nothing but what He has planned for me. His plans will always be infinitely better than my own. I have so much to learn and stumble often, still a little blind and deaf from those 30 years of ignoring the Holy Spirit perhaps. But I KNOW that if my heart is for Him, then He will make my crooked road straight, and my road will lead directly to Him. It's a journey we take, but one we must make with Him everyday, day by day, to ensure we don't get lost along the way. Praise to the Lord that helps us on this road and never turns us away.

  10. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a thought-full, Carman. The Christian faith is a journey that begins with the step of accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, You have most certainly done that, Carman.

    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," is a quote from a Chinese philosopher who lived a few hundred years before Christ. The emphasis in many languages, and perhaps many faiths, puts emphasis on the "first step." As important as that is, we all know we cannot stop there and so we strive to move further along in the journey.

    I am amazed that sometimes when I need a boost to move ahead in my life and faith journey, a portion of scripture or a book will arrive in timely fashion. One such book is a small volume, "Secrets of the Vine: Breaking Through to Abundance" by Bruce Wilkinson, which is based on Christ's lesson: "I am the vine. You are the branches." (John 15:1-8) I wrote a blog on this called, "Echoes of the Vineyard" in May 2016. Blessings to you and yours.


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.