Another birthday. Whatever! Don't look back--Look ahead!

I’m taking a good look at the year ahead, another year older for me. 40 to most people is such a big deal, but honestly it’s just another number for me. I stopped caring about my age somewhere back in my thirties. I just don’t look back, I don’t miss my younger days because I have come so far, learned so much and changed so much. I have great memories of years past, and there are moments I miss and time seems to move a whole lot faster as I get older, but if I had a choice to go back—I would not. It can be said that as we get older life is appreciated so much more, isn’t that true? Well, it is for me. How interesting it is to consider when we are younger we are in such a hurry to grow up, but when we get older we want so badly for everything to slow down. So, here I am, at the age that I am and how do I see myself?
I am a proud, independent, self-sufficient, passionate woman who has found joy in God’s blessings to me as a wife, mother, sister, and friend. God is so good, and I don’t deserve any of it. My heart is for worship ministry and women’s ministry and I find such joy in both! I am so thankful for the opportunities He has given me to lead and to follow in these ministries because it has changed me, made me a better person and I hope He is pleased with me because of it! I find more and more that I am so much like my Dad particularly as I get older. I have perfectionist tendencies in that I can’t stand disorder and all is right with the world when everything is in its place. I find my day can be shot to hell if I come home and things are out of place. Just ask my family. I am sure that their impression of me would not be very pretty because when I get on a tangent, well, I go all the way! I realize there are things I should save that energy for, greater causes, but it’s the simple things like an empty sink, an empty laundry basket, and no “man piles” around the house that give me joy and enable me to sleep at night. If I had my choice of what I’d like to do for my birthday, the ideal, dream day for me? Send me to the airport, put me on a plane to the Bahamas and give a lovely cottage by the ocean. All I need is a beach chair, a cold drink with a pretty umbrella in it, and a great book. An entire day just for me—time to myself to do nothing but soak up the sun, sigh repeatedly with contentment and enjoy having no responsibility but for myself. No watch, no schedule, nothing to do but relax.
I realize at this point in my life, what I’ve accomplished and what God has done is so good but I am also painfully aware of how much work there is yet to be done. The burden is great, when I consider what is happening in our community, our world, and how the things I considered to be unthinkable twenty years ago, are now common to this day and age. I am watching my children’s generations grow up with very little interest in church—yes, it is true! Too many of our kids are finding that what our churches offer them is convenient for a time but in the grand scheme of things they’d rather do something more worthwhile and extraordinary with their time. I see how desperately they want to make a difference, but what are we doing in our churches to really meet them where they are? We can only take so much credit for what we are doing inside our walls for the sake of Christ, but the point of what we are doing is to get outside those walls and do what is necessary to go where they are. It isn’t about programs, activities, what we can do to bring people in but what we are doing to pour the love of Christ into their hearts! If we are really doing what Jesus called us to do, we will be spending less time inside our church buildings and more time on the streets and in the homes, in the lives of the people who need Him so desperately! It is not such a radical concept! Oh that we would be more like Christ! I am proud to be the child of a pastor and grew up both resenting and appreciating being in such a position, but ultimately it has taught me to appreciate this: It isn’t about how many times we grace the steps of our churches, how many ministries or programs we are committed to, checking off a list of things we should be doing to be considered “good enough” by our church leadership. It is about our hearts and our time. What is your motivation for what you are doing? Who are you in Christ? What are you doing with the time He has given you on this earth? There is no scale that matters but God’s. We cannot allow any of man’s preconceived ideas of what we are doing or who we are as Christians be what defines us! So, here I am, at the age that I am and determined more than ever to make a difference in this world for no other reason but to please God! I know He loves me and I know He is proud of me, even when I stumble and fall. Thank goodness He understands me since He created me, He has given me far more than I deserve in terms of grace and mercy. What an amazing, awesome God we serve! I hope to live a very long, healthy life but I cannot wait to stand before my Lord one day and hopefully hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Be inspired today, my friend. Be bold, be selfless and do the unexpected today for the sake of Christ. He is counting on us to do what is right in a world where so much is going wrong.

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.
Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
(Matthew 7:12-14 The Message)
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