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looking back, looking forward

I woke up yesterday morning with my darling seven-year-old son’s face literally in my face. He simply could not wait one more minute for me to wake up.

“So, Mom, are you happy about being forty today?” he asked.

“Yes, honey, I am.  Why do you ask?”

“Well, because I really like it that you are old now!”  He said in all his sweet innocence.

Old?  I had to laugh.

And just like that, the fabulous forties began!

I cannot even begin to tell you what a blessed day I had.

Having a big birthday sure does make one ponder life–all that has been, all that is to come.

It’s crazy to me how fast the past ten years have gone.  It almost feels like yesterday that I celebrated my thirtieth birthday when we were living in Perth, Australia.  My precious husband always does such an incredible job of making my birthdays so memorable and amazing.  He is totally awesome!  Yesterday, he outdid himself.  From the time I opened my eyes and found my sweet Cade in my bed, to the time I fell into bed last night, Anthony surprised me and went way out of his way to ensure that I knew with every fiber of my being that I was loved and treasured.

I could not help but count my blessings.

My many, many blessings.

And ponder.

And think about how exceedingly thankful I am that God has sustained me for forty years on this earth.

Each year is a gift from the Father.  What I choose to do with my time here on earth is what counts.  I know that to be truth.

As I have reflected on the last ten years of my life, I could not help but feel tearful.  I can honestly say with all my heart that my God has been good to me.  Has it always been easy?  No way!  I could tell you all many of the reasons why it has been difficult and immensely challenging.  I could share my hurts and my losses.  And I could ponder the painful moments and wonder why in the world God allowed them to happen.  But you know what?  I would not change any of those experiences for anything the world! 

If I had to choose the easy road–the one where I would not need to put my complete faith and trust in my Savior–or the road where I am forced to fully rely on the Lord with everything that I have…that’s the one I would choose.  A hundred percent.  Because it’s been in those valley seasons of my life when I have truly seen His hand at work, His heart which is for me, His faithfulness which reaches to the skies, His grace which knows no bounds, and His mercy which my heart cannot fathom.  Those valley times have grown me, strengthened me and helped me to understand the lengths, the depths, the heights, and the sheer magnitude of His astonishing love for me, a sinner saved by grace.

I have made so many mistakes in my life.  I have fallen on my knees so many times in repentance–trying once again to do things differently a thousand times over.  But one thing, I can stand on the highest mountaintop and proclaim in my loudest voice that…

God has been faithful!

He has never, ever let me down.

Through every trial and every valley He has gently taken my hand and shown me the way.

He is trustworthy.

He is dependable.

He is good.

So, so good!

I am so excited to begin a new chapter in my life. I have a heart of expectation to see what God has in store for my family in the months and years to come. My prayer is that I will always be able to graciously accept to walk the paths that He has already chosen for me.  Chuck Swindoll once said, “Nothing passes through our hands without first passing through the hands of a loving Father.”  I love that. 

All things must pass through the hands of our God before it reaches us.  I pray that I never forget that–in the good times, and the not-so-good.  It took me until the latter part of my thirties to finally understand His sovereignty…but I think I get it now.

“For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth.”  Psalm 33:4-5

It is with great anticipation in my heart that I look to the future.  I’ve given the Father my word…my answer will always be YES!  No matter what.  Each and every time He calls me by name–each time I hear His Word speaking to my heart saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)

I pray that I will always have the guts, the courage, the faith, and the trust in my God to say…

“Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)


Bring on the fabulous forties!