This is a post where I stop and get a little reflective. I am sharing some pictures that I took a few days ago. They have absolutely nothing to do with this post, they're just pretty.
This morning, I'm thinking about the last 23 years. It's my birthday month and for some reason this one feels a little different. I've been thinking about what's happened over the course of my life so far.
In short, 23 years look like a lot of things.
They have looked like LEARNING. I have always been a person who watches, asks a million questions, and then acts. Sometimes it takes me a while before I ever do something right. Sometimes I don't even try and sometimes I fail.
They have looked like LOVING. I have done life with a lot of people. Some have died, some have just gone down a different road, and some are here to stay for a while. Wherever they are, however long they've been away, they are on my heart and mind. I have them in my memories and those memories mean a lot to me.
They have looked like SIN. I have done wayyyy too many stupid, foolish, wrong things. It's great to have it all together - I never have. Never.
They have looked like being SAVED. My Mom saved me first. She was young, unmarried, and very uncertain. She chose to give me life whatever it would end up costing her. She chose to keep me in her life whatever it would end up costing her. Then just nine years later, God saved me again. I was young, unhappy, and very uncertain. He chose to give me life knowing what it had already cost Him. He keeps giving me life knowing what it has already cost Him. I was born and I was born again. When those days roll around, I am actually pretty grateful.
They have looked like being LED. I am a follower. Wherever I go, I look to God for wisdom and security. I am not afraid to look to the people around me for extra doses of advice. The scariest thing to me is ending up without someone to be there to lead me.
They have looked like being being HURT. I sin and so do other people. When we sin against each other it hurts. Words and actions are some of the most powerful things that exist. Tears and pain have been very familiar.
They have looked like FIGHTING FOR JOY. I am really not very good at this. Still, it is something that I am very grateful for. God has for me a perfect, lasting, satisfying joy in Him. Fighting for it and sharing it with those around me is actually really awesome.
They have looked like HELPING. In as much as I am a follower, I am also a helper. God has made me with a tendency to see life in black and white. I am constantly summarizing situations and words in order to get to the bottom of it. I love being able to see a need and help. My goal is that as I help, I can somehow point people back to God and help them to know Him.
They have looked like DREAMING. I have always been a dreamer. I knew where I wanted to live, where I wanted to go to college, and what I hoped to do. All of that changed about three times as I began to see more of God. I'll admit, the last few years have found me a little less likely to dream and a lot more likely to just settle. I'll be honest, I have zero dreams for life after 23. In my head, this is as far as I have ever thought. Here I am. The book is BLANK. God has a plan and I'm ready for Him to turn the pages...
23 years have looked like a lot of things. They have looked like being born, being born again, and moving along towards being made into someone that lives to make Him known. The rest of it has been the filler necessary to bring me to these places. "And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us..." Acts 17:26-28
There is a bigger picture behind these 23 years. The picture is God Himself. These 23 years will turn into whatever number God has decided to give me and they will blend in with the years before and after me.
God has good news in the fact that He created the world and rules over the world and is on a mission to share Himself with the world. These years of mine are just a piece of the declaring and demonstrating of that good news.