Parenting can sometimes be completely overwhelming….and thoroughly exhausting….and utterly confusing. Parenting can hurt your heart and drain your spirit. There have been times in my life (and there will be again) when I was overwhelmed – sometimes with grief, sometimes with confusion – over a situation with a child. The challenges before me seemed so difficult and I felt paralyzed. To make matters worse, my prayers during these times often felt empty and ineffective. During these difficult seasons I frequently turned to this poem found in the book, A Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot. The author of the poem is unknown, but Elisabeth writes how the poem brought her mother solace and guidance during difficult periods of her life. If you are feeling overwhelmed today – if you are struggling with fear or indecision – I pray this brings you some comfort.
Do the Next Thing
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
In quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration, “DO THE NEXT THING”
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing.
Leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance by the psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.