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I’m sure you’ve already guessed—this duo of blog posts doesn’t have a whole lot to do with ducks. It’s more about accepting the complete package we call Life, no matter what the separate pieces and parts look like, regardless of whether the day dawns bright or drear.  (And after a roller-coaster week of the usual tasks mixed with a whole lot I wasn’t expecting, I’m finally getting back to this.)

It’s also about decisions—how every day I’m given the option to believe, or not believe, in God’s goodness. To discover the beauty of His design for my life, whether my pillow is stuffed with downy fluff, or I’m maneuvering my tentative steps around the manure piles. Because if I’m gonna raise ducks, I’m gonna get both. Cuteness, cuddly softness, natural bug patrol, noise, work, mess—all of it.

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Our Lord’s mama sang praises to her God in response to the news: the Messiah was coming—from her womb!  The young woman couldn’t possibly have had any idea what the privilege would entail, the misunderstanding, the suffering she would endure, or how her heart would reach near crushing before she spoke the last Goodbye to her firstborn.

For richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health… Absolutely no way exists to see into the future, to know beyond this present day what thirty, forty, fifty years of a marriage and family will look like… who our children will become, what shape their families will take… or why we’re left childless… dealing with budget woes,  job changes, business deals gone sour… always wondering if our income will keep up with the increase of expenses… how our own parents will spend their last days… what our next address will be… what might be required or thought of us when physical strength is gone, when memory fails, when we have so little left to offer.

Whether burdened or blessed, abounding in plenty or suffering need, as Paul wrote, bound by chains: Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  –  Philippians 1:6

Even on my worst days, I am beyond blessed. On the monotonous days, I have abundance, freedom, opportunity, ability, so much to be grateful for. But on my worst days I’ve been known to complain. Forgive me, Lord.

Life is a package deal. Ever since the Fall.

In rearing kids, would the moments of heart-bursting pride impress so deeply if they didn’t come with seemingly endless sleep-deprived days and nights?

In cultivating a garden, would the artichokes or roses bring as much pleasure without struggling against the elements, against the curse?

Or in shaping a team, constructing a place, nurturing another being, would we find near the fulfillment without the aching of exertion, without pushing our way against the flow of all that works against our potential for success, for victory over quitting before the work is complete?

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Maturity accepts the unexpected, the chaos, the sweat, the pain, the mess—knowing and believing God can bring beauty from even the worst, the most strenuous circumstances.

Rejecting the myth of greener grass, can I persevere, finding contentment in my work, discovering fulfillment as God works in me?

Do I believe my own words, based on eternal words, beliefs written here, taught to others, meant to encourage, while battling the temptation to pursue personal convenience and temporal comfort?

We all have them—moments of bravery, moments of doubt, times when the work is easy, other times when the sheer magnitude of what we’re up against overwhelms.

How we fill our days really isn’t about the ducks, or the bank account, or the place on the map we call home, the occupation we fill, the position we hold, the name on the door or the sign, or anything else we cling to in carving out an identity, a niche…

This life is about preparing for the next life—when all our efforts for Him will be rewarded by Him.

If we’ll just keep at it.

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