a. carmichael: grey days

When I was 16, I spent two months in India. It was my first overseas trip, my first independent travel, and my first length of time away from home. A special friend gifted me with this small book before I left — a compilation of letters written by one of our heroes, missionary to India Amy Carmichael. (Do you read this blog, Erin? If you do: this book is the most well-worn on my bookshelf, save for my first Bible. It has been read over and over and over. Thank you.) May I recommend it to you? Small little snippets — deeply inspiring, convicting, and full of love for the Savior.

I remember the first time I read a particular page from this book for real. I was sitting in the library at school. The windows behind me let in the dull gray light of a wet, dreary day. I was taking a break from the monotony of study on a totally routine day. This booklet had made its way, again, to my devotional rotation, and so I pulled it out, ready to read anything that had nothing to do with polytonality.

I read, and the words burned in my heart:

All sorts of days come and go — they go, that’s the best of them. Don’t let the dull days pass without giving you what only dullness ever can give. It isn’t the days of high tension that try us most, and so give us most; it’s the days that seem all grey and dull. They test the quality of the gold.

Of all the truths I stumbled upon in my singleness, perhaps this one has helped me most on the path of motherhood. Learning to value gray days. Realizing they do happen. And realizing that the question asked of me is, Will I be found faithful? Even on the days that could easily be discounted, wasted, seen as not really counting — will I serve 100%? There is the ability, when you’re single (or at least childless) to get a “gray” moment and immediately squirm your way out of it — go somewhere, do something, you know. Add some spark. Live from high to high, drama to drama, event to event. I know. Hey, it’s more fun. But learning to just do my best and plod on when it was an active choice was phenomenal training for this role in which I now find myself.

Certainly there are plenty of dull moments, if not entire days, of dullness in this current season. I’m not trying to be negative; there simply are. Sometimes I think I must have done something wrong to have landed such a dreary day, but no, not always. Sometimes they’re there because there is gold that needs testing: my faithfulness and steadfastness of heart.

Most of all, it’s reassuring to know that God can be found, even on days when there’s no prayer meeting scheduled, no cell group meeting at your house, no emergency that requires ten hours of speaking in tongues. He’s there, watching for my response in those moments that don’t seem to matter. Smiling when I choose diligent service. And encouraging my heart with His songs of delight.

So whatever season you’re in, don’t discount the gray days. Sometimes they’re the best ones.

3 Comments a. carmichael: grey days

  1. stephanie

    Danica – a good word spoken in due season for me this morning. I’m a Carmichael reader [particularly fond, though, of Elisabeth Elliot’s Biography of her ‘A Chance to Die’] but have missed this one.

    I have 4 kids – 10, 6, 4, 7 months – I’m a pastor’s wife, I’m a homeschooling mom – and i have found many days, particularly recently, to be grey. Thank you for this admonition to make them matter for eternity in my life and in the life of my children.

    You have been prayed for today!

  2. Dottie

    Danica, This is such wonderful advice (and wisdom). I only wish I had the wisdom you have when I was raising my children, especially in those young years when the days sometimes seem soooo long!! I hear real “contentment” in your words/life and that is a BIG one to have, especially when this world tells us that we should have “so much more” in our lives (and I’m not just talking about money and materialism). Your honesty, along with the other, is so good to hear, too. We have so much to be thankful for and it’s good to hear that, even on those “dull” days, we need to realize that they are just as important to the Lord and are important as to what we choose to do on those days for Him!! God bless!


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