Last Updated on March 20, 2018

When I think back over my life, one of the things that I regret is that I didn’t soak in the season I was in at the time. I feel like I have rushed through life packing in way too much. So much of the past seems like a blur of sleep deprivation, dirty diapers, five teens at once, four weddings in three summers, and now 13 grandkids with two more soon to arrive.

It’s all gone by so fast — too fast. I wish I had soaked in each precious moment. I’m a planner by nature, however. I tend to live in the future, planning next week, next year. Too often I’m on to the next thing and I fail to really live in the present, soaking up what God might have for me in the moment. Consequently I think I’ve missed out on a lot. I have not been attentive to stillness and quiet. I’ve not really soaked in the moment, and sadly I wonder what I have missed.

A friend recently challenged me to let my life be “not so much about doing for God as paying attention to what God is doing.” So in an attempt to live more in the present and pay attention to God, I select one character trait of God to focus on each day. During my weekly runs, I strive to block out thoughts about my to-do list, concerns for a child, people who need prayer, etc., and instead simply think about God in the context of the trait for that day. Today my character trait was that our God is always “fully present.”

I took time to notice the fading blackberries, the diversity of bark on different trees, the smell of cut grass, marveling in the ways in which He is fully present and the amazing comfort that brings. This focus takes discipline for me because my mind tends to run to other things so I must keep bringing my thoughts back into an awareness of His presence.

He has been there in the past and He will be there in the future, but at this very moment He is most fully present. And I don’t want to miss out on this very moment.

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  1. Inspiring! Someone just gave me a new journal. I'm going to dedicate that particular journal to doing just what you've described…focusing on the character traits of God. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Rebecca W. says:

    Thank you for the reminder to stop and smell the roses and notice what God is up to. My mother in law says a lot of those early years of motherhood are a blur – I think a lack of sleep and nursing every 2 hrs. around the clock definitely has something to do with it! In reading your books I’ve always come away feeling that you did savor the moments and enjoy each stage of your children’s lives. You have definitely encouraged this Mom many times!thanx -Rebecca in SC

  3. Thanks for the encouragement, Susan. NOT a planner by nature, but I do have a running to-do list in my head. I have tried to give myself grace, though, to spend focused time playing with my baby girl and really enjoying her. The house is not falling apart. There will ALWAYS be more things to do. I will not always have this sweet baby. I even go in and watch her sleep a few times before I go to bed trying to soak it in.
    This also makes me think of the book, “Practicing the Presence of God.” Maybe I’m better at practicing the presence of my family than the presence of the One Who is fully present. Time for a re-read?

  4. susan yates says:

    Thanks Amanda! I think “practicing the presence” is something we’ll keep learning at every season of life. I’m still learning it in the Empty Nest! I love it that you watch your baby sleep. That’s a great discipline and a blessing. Thanks for writing!
    Susan Yates

  5. susan yates says:

    Thanks so much for writing Rebecca. You are in the exhausting phase of life! Bless you friend, and may that baby sleep longer!
    Susan Yates

  6. susan yates says:

    Thanks Tiffany. That’s a great idea for a new journal discipline as the year gets under way! May God bless you as you worship His character.
    Susan Yates