Grateful on my 43rd birthday...

There’s really not much fanfare for making it to your 43rd year of life.  But I have lots to celebrate.  So much to be grateful for.  God has been so good to me and I want to make sure to “count my blessings” as the old hymn says.

These are some things that came to mind today as I thought about the grace of God on my life…
-       I’m very grateful for my heritage.  My extended family is very rare, and unspeakably special for that reason.  So much of what I enjoy is the fruit of my family sowing seeds of goodness into my soul even before I can remember.  It’s hard to put a price tag on a spiritual heritage and inheritance.
-       My marriage is atop the list of things I’m thankful for.  After 20 years we are continuing to explore new territory in each other’s lives.  There is so much inside of our hearts that we are still uncovering as trust deepens and time lengthens our relationship.  It’s not always been easy, but it’s been the most rewarding venture of my life.   She is my greatest earthly delight.
-       My children are my pride and joy.  The five of them range from age 5 to 18 and they each carry a glory all their own.  I find such deep meaning in teaching them and learning from them.  It is especially beautiful to move from the stage of forging a foundation to forming a friendship.  I treasure each one of them.
-       The calling of ministry has stayed fresh within me.  With every mountain and valley, there is such pleasure and privilege in helping people find and follow Jesus.  To be let into the deepest joys and sorrows of so many lives and entrusted with the secrets of people’s souls is a high honor.  I’m so grateful for my faith community.
-       My home is my shalom.  It is a place of peace, a haven of hope, a bastion from the battle, and a refuge from the refuse.  To come home each night to this beautiful piece of earth and to walk in the door of my undeserved home is among the greatest feelings in the world.  There is truly no place like home.
-       My woods continue to transport me to another world.  Though I only possess 3 acres, it is 3 acres more than I ever thought I’d have.  I have oak trees that I can hug and not even some close to touching my own fingertips.  Giants towering above the land since the early 1900’s.  There is something about the beauty of the flora and fauna that exist on my property that causes such worship in my heart for my Creator God.
-       I love my wood stove fireplace with all my heart.  It’s always been a dream of mine to cut my own wood, gather it, split it, stack it, dry it, and burn it to provide heat for my family during the winter.  That dream is a reality after all these years.  There is nothing like wood heat, especially when you are chilled to the bone.  Our family gathers around it in the morning and at night laughing as we share stories.  It’s like Little House on the Prairie. 
-       I love the friends God has brought my way over the years.  Old friends and new friends continue to anchor my soul and bear witness to life with me.  Witness-bearing and Burden-bearing are critical to the health of my heart.  Without someone to attest to what I’m experiencing as well as joining in the struggle to live well, it would be a lonely life, indeed.  I don’t take friends for granted.  ‘Two are better than one and a cord of three strands is not easily broken’ as God said.
-       I love God’s Word and the sure foundation it gives in the shifting sand of the current of culture.  There are so many ideas and opinions, it is so good to have absolute truth to tether myself to and trust with all my heart.  There is much of it that is still a mystery to me, but what I do understand gives me more than enough to live up to.  Thank you, God, for your written revelation!

These a just a few things that come to mind as I pause to say thank you to God on this day.  More than anything, I am thankful for my salvation…that I am known and loved by God not because of any merit of my own, but because of the grace he has shown and the chasm he has spanned in sending His Son to die for my sins and raise for my redemption.  His forgiveness and freedom will continue to propel me for as long as I live. 

Here’s to another year in the books.


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