Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Mere 30

It's funny.  I'm not sure what to say... just that I felt a strong desire to write tonight.  You see it's my last night of my twenties and I just might be one of the few women in the world that is beyond thrilled to be turning 30.  It's not that things were terrible or horrendous in my twenties, it was life and God graciously helped me through it.  It's more like I finally seem to get it a little more... the game of life that is.  Will I ever understand it all?  Of course not, but when God gives me words like that from Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"  How could I doubt that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be?

We all have a story... multiple stories to be exact that make up our life here on earth and my first 30 years are full of them.  The good, the bad, the ugly... every single moment plays a part in the path and the direction God set out before me long before I even took a breath.  How amazing is that?  Sometimes I lay awake in bed pondering that.  It sounds strange, but to think that He who created me, He who breathed life into me knew long before I ever did all the times I'd say "yes" or "no" or which direction I would go with my season(s) of life.  Praise God!  It may feel like a mistake sometimes, the choices I make, but I thank God He is gracious and loving, slow to anger, and compassionate that He is there to get me back on track.

Over the last few weeks I've been able to look back on the last decade and see how the choices I made seemed to put my life on hold.  How so many times in my twenties I was constantly waiting for something.  I focused so much on the future that God only knows what I missed in the present.  My hope going into my 30s is that I'll be able to be in the here and now and yet excited about the unknown of the future... not fearful.  And also that I wouldn't be so hard on myself about the past, for the past helped get me to where I am today.  It is because of my past that God is going to use me to minister to the lives of others.  At least I hope so.  But maybe all my past will be used for is a way to be a better listener to my nieces and nephews and God willing... my own children someday.

As I prepare to say good-bye to one decade and hello to another I take great comfort in Zephaniah 3:17

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


free - not physically restrained, obstructed, or fixed; unimpeded

Too many things I can't do too well,
afraid I'll try real hard, and I'll fail--
This is how it's been.
Till the day You pounded on my heart's door,
And You shouted joyfully,
"You're not a slave anymore!"

"You're free to dance-
Forget about your two left feet
And you're free to sing-even joyful noise is music to Me
You're free to love,
'Cause I've given you My love,
and it's made you free*

It's funny how God does things, how He seems to work everything out.  It's really no surprise to me (looking back) that Ginny Owens would perform with the worship team at Watermark Community Church this past weekend.  Not only that, but service started with her performing "Free."  How fitting for this season.  About three months ago a good friend of mine showed me a popular YouTube video of a whale being cut free from a fishermen's net.  In showing me the video she was implying that I had been set free, free to be me, free to find the one God has for me to share my life with.  In the early stages of grief I adamantly argued with her, telling her that I didn't feel as though I had been captured or restrained like the whale had been.  I think that maybe in that moment I just didn't get what God was trying to explain to me through my friend.  Now it's all starting to make a little more sense.  You see, I wasn't restrained, not by anyone else anyway.  I was restrained by my own false belief and self-hatred.  I had fixated myself on how things should be or should've been that I was completely missing God's gentleness and love towards me.

Now here we are a few days into a new season and I laugh because I realize all the arguing I did with God over the last few months has led me into this very sweet season of redemption and hopefully finding ultimate freedom in Him.  I've found myself in this predicament before, when will I ever learn, I don't know.  But I thank God He is patient and kind and loving and merciful (just to name a few characteristics).  There's been a strange peace that has fallen over me the last few days, one that I can't really put words to, but I won't make excuses or downplay my joy.  I find myself dancing again, singing again, and remembering the very things that make me uniquely ME!  All I can say is that He is with me and I with Him... even in what seems to be the darkest times.  He hasn't forgotten me, He hasn't abandoned me.  I look forward to what this season has in store, I have a feeling it is going to be something quite unexpected and amazing!

Free from worry, free from envy and denial
Free to live, free to give, free to smile*

*Free by Ginny Owens

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Birthday Celebration for an Angel

This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are
And our God is in control

Though this first taste is bitter
There will be sweetness forever
When we finally taste and see
That our God is in control
And we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
And we will finally really understand what it means
So we'll sing holy, holy, holy is our God
While we're waiting for that day
~ Steven Curtis Chapman, Our God is in Control

Happy 4th Birthday Billy!!!  Oh how greatly you are missed.  I've been thinking about you a lot lately and missing you just the same.  It's hard to believe you would have been 4 today.  It is truly an honor to share my birthday month with you and your younger cousin, Will.  I spent 25 years with November all to myself in our family and then in 2007 you and Will came along and I finally got to share my birthday month with someone, 2 of my favorite boys to be exact.

So much of life has happened in 4 years.  I often wonder what Heaven is like and what you're up to.  Your sister Avery once asked me who makes birthday cakes in Heaven.  My response to her was that we would have to ask God when we get there.  She is a great big sister, she loves and misses you as we all do.  And your younger brothers are hilarious and so full of life and personality.  I imagine the three of you would have given your sweet Mama a run for her money.  I look forward to the day that Nathan and Jared fully understand who you were to them.  You would have been an awesome big brother.  Your Mama reminds me constantly (though not intentionally) what God spoke to her before you were born.  That you would be light and life to those around you... and you are, even today in your absence here on earth.  You've been a constant reminder to me to love, cherish, and fully grasp every moment here on earth for we are here but a short while.  

I long to see your sweet face once again and hold you in my arms, but until Jesus comes back or God calls me home I will wait for that precious day.  This may not have been what we wanted or what we would have planned, but I trust that God's hand is on all of this.  I've seen how he continues to heal your Mama and Daddy.  I see the light and life that is within them as they reach out to other families and help them through the grieving process of losing a child to SIDS.  You left a legacy that not even a little guy like you could comprehend, but only our big God.  

I love you and until I see you again I send you big hugs and kisses!

Aunt Cristyn