Saturday, December 28, 2019

57

Tonight, at my desk

Today I’m 57 and I will love this year.

Because my birthday comes so near the end of the year, I take stock of my life the same way all of us do at the year’s end. Because this coming year also represents the beginning of a new decade, it’s easy to reflect on the last TEN years. A lot of us are comparing pictures of ourselves—pictures taken in 2009 and others taken in 2019—and we see time is seldom kind, especially after a certain age. I admit that I love comparing pictures of me in 2009 to one of me in 2019.

Ten years ago, Mario and I were living in Johannesburg, but travelling all over the continent of Africa. Our beautiful dream of working with a network of churches spread out all over the world had come true, and we were becoming more and more familiar with existing churches all over the continent of Africa.

I found a picture today of me in 2009. I was part of a team that was visiting an orphanage in Upper Egypt. I remember that I felt fortunate to be part of the team, but it was sweltering that day, and I had just had surgery, only one day before. Here I was, fresh out of the hospital, and I was back to work because I didn’t want to miss anything.

The work we were involved in was lovely, as were the people we worked with. I often missed my family, I often felt stifled, and I desperately wanted my life to matter—and I really wanted God to be proud of me. My dissatisfaction started to show—I was thirty pounds overweight in this picture.


Looking back, I want to hug this girl. I want to tell her to take it easy and maybe reconsider her definition of living for God. The woman I am today is truer, less guarded, more surrendered and less tense.

Shortly after Mario and I returned to Sacramento, I collapsed. I slept for a year, I tell people. I re-evaluated my life and my purpose. I visited family, and I wrote like crazy. I toyed with the idea of going back to school and getting my college degree. I finally took a deep breath and started in January of 2015. In June of 2020 I am scheduled to graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. I really look forward to the completion--I've done seven years of college in five years.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll read a similar blog, written by me ten years from now, about wanting to hug the 57-year-old me and tell her everything is going to be okay.

Every year, I read the corresponding Psalm with the year I am turning. Today I am 57 years old, and Psalm 57 encourages me that God has steadfast love, and faithfulness that reaches to the clouds. With this assurance, I can rest.

And I will love this year.

~



Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
My soul is in the midst of lions;
    I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!
They set a net for my steps;
    my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
    but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!
Psalm 57 English Standard Version (ESV)


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