Birthdays are a big deal to me! Maybe it’s because I come from a large family and it was the one day of the year that was focused on me and because I love being the center of attention (That’s right, I admit it!) or maybe because my mom made such a big deal about our birthdays. We always celebrated it on the exact day of our birthday at 7 pm and all the family would come over. My last couple of birthdays before my mom died, she would come to the edge of the steps at midnight and wake me up and sing happy birthday. Maybe I love birthdays so much because they represent a new beginning. I tend to really love change. My birthday is in a couple of weeks and it is so close to the New Year that the whole new beginning thing has a lot of meaning for me. But today is not my birthday, at least not my physical birthday. Today is my spiritual birthday, which is probably even more special to me.
Twenty-five years ago today, December 29, 1985, at the age of 15, I committed my life to Jesus and following Him. Yes, I am one of those radical, born-again Christians!!! I tend to be introspective on occasions like this. I had it pointed out to me by my Pastor that you see God’s glory by seeing where He has been. Moses prayed that God would show him His glory. God answered by putting him in the cleft of a rock and covering it so all Moses could see was God’s backside. You see God’s glory by where He has been. As I look back at the past 25 years and I have seen where God has led me, I am awed and amazed! And truly see God’s glory in the great adventure that is my life. My life has been the most amazing, fun, fulfilling, and at times, hardest life that I could possibly imagine. Life completely changed for me on that night. Kind of like how it changed for the world when Jesus was born. His birth was so monumental it split history in half…(BC and AD). For myself, my hopes and dreams completely changed! All for the better! Before that night I wanted to go to college and simply make a lot of money and move out of my hometown. After that night, I knew all of that had changed. I did go to college and I did live out of state for about 9 or so years but I am back in Vermilion (LOVE IT) and I make no money! J And I love my life. We are starting an internship program at our church for young adults who are interested in ministry and finding out what God has for them. I get the honor of helping pioneer all of that. I had two of the interns in my office today, going over expectations and one of them said “I wish I didn’t have to work at all….there is so much I could do here at the church” and the other one said “ I wish I could be at the church all the time because I know God is going to show me what He has for me!” Listening to them reminded me of why I do what I do. I work to live; I do not live to work. Work supports me so I can do all that God has called me to do. And that has been how I have lived the past 25 years. God provides every step of the way.
Our theme at church for 2011 is “Greater Things”. Pastor Jim has been speaking on the great things God has done in our church in the past and that greater things are yet to come. It resonates with me. Great things God has done in and for me over the past 25 years, too numerous to count. He saved me, healed my relationship with my mom before she passed, provided my whole way to college (through my generous church family), my dad and brother were both right with God before they passed, I served for a wonderful 5 years in VA on staff at an incredible Church of whom my friendships made there will last an eternity, countless people saved, placed me back in Vermilion for the past 9 years serving amazing people in the Church and in the community just to name a few of the great things God has done. And yet within my spirit I know that there are greater things to come! That the best is yet to come, that the next 25 years will blow the first 25 out of the water! And it is all because of Jesus and what He did in a 15 year old, messed up teen-ager as she followed Him wherever He led.
A quarter of a century of following Jesus and being transformed (hopefully) into His image has made me the richest and fulfilled of girls! On this spiritual “birth” day of reflecting on where I have been and how far He has brought me, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, joy, and expectation! Grateful for where He has led for what He has done, and the crazy life He has given me; joyful because He is my strength and life is good; and expecting Him to do even greater things with the rest of my life! Because when you strip everything a way, I am still a lot like that 15 year-old teen-ager, a girl in need of a Savior.