Check numbers. 

That’s all it was about. Check Numbers.

In case your third grade Math curriculum didn’t cover this base, check numbers are a (relatively) simple way of quickly checking the answers to math problems without having to go back and rework the entire problem. 

I promise this isn’t a Math lesson — don’t get antsy on me.

A sweet little nine-year old of mine and I were gathered at the homeschool table, going through the steps over and over again. We practiced finding the check numbers. Adding them to each other. Using them to check the problems we’d worked.

When the game in the math lesson was too complicated, I made up a simpler version where we just practiced the process over and over. We kept score and Blake won. 

At the end of it all, it felt like an hour well spent.

I hustled to the kitchen, a few minutes late to get started making lunch.

A few minutes later, Blake sauntered in.

“155!” I shouted, just like I had in the game we’d played fifteen minutes earlier. “155! What’s the check number??!!”

He furrowed his brows and lifted a hand to his forehead — the way he does these days when he is asked a difficult question and he just can’t get his brain to help him with the answer.

After a pause and a few more eyebrow furrows he responded:

“What are check numbers again?”

My heart sank for a moment. We’d spent an hour — an entire hour — just practicing check numbers. 

Fifteen minutes later, Blake didn’t remember — couldn’t remember — what I was talking about.

It would have been so easy to feel frustrated. Defeated. Overwhelmed. Discouraged.

Instead, I decided to smile. 

If I could take a step back and distance myself from the situation, it was almost funny, right? 

You probably know that last year we almost lost that nine-year-old. A brain aneurism almost sent him home to Jesus sooner than any of us were ready.

He’s a walking miracle. That he can read, jump, run and play is a gift. That he is able to do Math at all, that he still remembers the multiplication tables he learned before any of this happened is nothing short of glorious.

So the very thing that would make me want to throw my hands in the air in desperation? It’s also the thing that makes me realize how very blessed we are to have a day together to practice check numbers. 

Even if that concept won’t stick and we have to try again.

Sometimes I give myself a moment to wonder — what sorts of things has God spared me from? How many almost-losts almost happened, and where, but for the grace of God, might I be?

I think someday we’ll find out — and we’ll be overwhelmed when we realize how miraculous every breath we get to take truly is. Just how much each day is a gift.

When we have a brush with death of any kind, gosh, aren’t we suddenly grateful in a whole new way to breathe, to feel… to be alive?

One Psalmist prayed it this way:So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. {Psalm 90:12}

In the midst of these complicated moments, when unemployment, scarcity and fear loom in the doorway, when sickness and loss lurk in the corners, we will gain a heart of wisdom by counting these days as gifts. 

Here’s what I’ve learned in a nutshell:

The Big Picture: 
It’s hard to hold the idea that every day is a gift in our minds when life is hard or things go wrong. We forget every moment is a gift, and I think maybe it took me nearly losing a kid last year to gain this perspective. I’ll forget again and need to be reminded again, and so will you. We aren’t promised tomorrow, and it would behoove us to hold onto that thought!!

The Baby Steps:
When an hour seems wasted, or a deficit seems overwhelming, try counting up instead of down. Calculate how many days you’ve had already. I’ve lived well over 13,000 days! Nearly 14,000 gifts. Nearly 14,000 opportunities to grow and change and learn and breathe and be. You GET to be here and live this day! Your perspective on its giftedness is really up to you!

So let’s count our days, take a step back to remember the big picture, and, when we can, try to laugh instead of crying. 

Considering so many of the might-have-beens, today is a good day.

I hope you’re encouraged today, friend.
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Also — just in case you missed the Ten Simple Ways to Share Your Faith With Your Kids freebie I shared recently, you can find it on the brand new Parenting Resources page I ALSO created for you! Find all the good stuff at