five.

Our life is more than a little stressful right now. All things good, all things new, all things vivid and painful in such sweet ways. I feel like I'm loosed of burdens I've been carrying for far too long and fears that have wrecked too many moments. I tend to live in the past or in the future. I'm not so good at the present, especially when the present is going well. I don't believe I deserve it, or I believe that all the good things will be taken away. So I dwell on the scary possibilities, or mistakes of the past, and I often really fail to soak in the goodness of now.

So tonight, when my head is spinning topsy-turvy with all kinds of dreams and doubts about the future, I'm challenging myself to the present. Here are five present things that I love, that I don't doubt, that whisper to me of a sweet Savior who loves me dearly and promises me goodness and mercy all the days of my life {Psalm 23:6}.

one. This song by Thad Cockrell: "When You Are Not Enough". We sing it in worship at church. I always cry. It ends with this prayer that won't leave my head or my heart.

grant us mercy. grant us grace. grant us wisdom. grant us faith.

two. Spring, that double-edged sword. Long lunches at the park, late afternoon drinks on local patios, long conversations late into the night with beers and in our hands and our feet in the grass. (All of which necessitate a probably dangerous level of antihistamines in my system, hence the double-edgedness of this siren season.)

three. The church is a mighty and powerful thing. Prayer is a stunning thing. Healing is our Savior's good work. Old friends and people from across the globe have joined hands and hearts over the accident of an old friend, and God's mercy is humbling and beautiful. The brokenness of the world has slapped me in the face, made me question so many things, and led me back to the truth. It's the only way this makes sense. Keep praying.

four. My cat. She's the best. It doesn't matter what shape I'm in, what mood I'm in, what has happened or hasn't happened in the course of the 9 hours I've been out of the house. All that matters is that when my key hits the lock around 6:00 each night, I'm home. And that makes her unspeakably happy. There's not much of a better feeling than being so loved by a sweet, cuddly little kitten.

five. Community is a mighty thing, and we are up to our eyeballs in the very best of it - from work to church to family to our dear friends, we are outrageously blessed to be challenged, fought for, prayed over, and encouraged every single day. It's not always easy. It's usually very hard. But it's beautiful.