As I have been waiting for my thirty-first birthday, I have been pondering my last thirty years. Most people would think about their next thirty years on their thirtieth birthday, but if you asked me then I would not have been able to tell you how amazing the first chapter of the next series of my life would be.
If I am honest, I would not have believed myself without experiencing each page nor would I have believed myself at twenty-nine. I would have told myself that it’s too far-fetched and out of reach. I believed I was meant to be stuck in the life that I made as an accumulation of poor decisions from my early years and into my adult years. A life of an on and off again relationship with Jesus resulting in a poor intimate connection with him. Each day a piece of my soul withered away like a flower lacking water and sunshine until one day the days turned into years and the only thing left are dry, crippling to the touch, and parched roots.
As I spent many years feeling like I was falling into a vortex and eventually sucked to the bottom of the pit that was so hard to find a way to escape; I realized that there was only one solution and only one way out. There was not a place to run as I had backed myself into a corner with a decision of life or death. I had already been living a life that led to death, could I really choose this path again?
Psalm 63 1:4 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
No, I couldn’t imagine living my life like this anymore. The feelings of despair, hopelessness, and sadness were too much to bare. Always wondering what the meaning of life is was too daunting and I just felt lost in this big world. I never felt good enough to be loved by Jesus or even worthy enough to be in his presence, but I found him, still waiting on me and saying, “Are you done running?”
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Even though I spent most of my life running from my childhood, bad decisions, the pain, the loss of loved ones, the grief of my dad’s passing, depression, anxiety, years of anger (Yes, Ephesians 4:26 is true! Ironically, 4/26 is my birthday), loss of faith and the belief that if God was really there, then he should have done something to not let this happen.
When I surrendered, God redeemed every moment, every feeling, every why I ever asked, and every tear. He used the bad moments and the good moments of the last thirty years (yes, amazing and life-defining moments) to grow my faith and bring me to my purpose. The process wasn’t easy, it was hard, it was ugly, and it was painful confronting everything I ran from and all of the things of the world that were in me.
There were many prayers that consisted of, “God, I’m trying to hold on. Just make yourself real to me in the way I need so I can keep going.”
I learned that if it is God’s will, you do your part, and you seek him through every moment, he will see you through.
It was only through Jesus’ strength and power that I was able to get to where I am and he began to remove the lies that the world said about me and instilled in me. Through him, I found what he said about me, learned his characteristics, and began to desire to be more like him. He knows I am human and that is why we have Jesus. Jesus knows how hard it is to be a human in this world and he stands in front of us before our Heavenly Father. It doesn’t mean we get a get out of jail card, but it means that even though there are going to be times we fail, there is grace and mercy. You just have to pick yourself up and keep trying to do better.
My thirtieth year I lived in the midst of God’s plan unfolding, making the impossible happen, and chains being broken. It was the year that I finally was able to look back with so much awe and say,
“Wow. Everything had to happen the way it did so that your perfect plan could happen at this moment for my good.”
As I look back, I can see how God was always there. Even when life was bleak and I chose to do it on my own, he was there. When I chose to be stubborn and do things the wrong way, he was there with a plan already mapped out to guide me back home. Finally, one day I realized that God’s plan is far better for me than what I can do on my own. I have nothing to fear because he knows my unknowns and has crafted a perfect life for me. Once you realize that by tasting his plan, you will desire for nothing more.
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.
As I was studying God’s word and talking with him this morning, I realized that God knows we have to be able to relate through experiences to sometimes connect the dots. This is why it’s important to study the Bible and learn about the life experiences of the people in that time. He wants us to know that we can be redeemed no matter how far away we are and that even in our deepest despair, He has a way and it’s always good for those who love him.
I realized that just like the people of the Bible, I am part of a redemption story. My life just like theirs is dysfunctional, but it’s relatable.
I didn’t want to write this because I felt that it was too raw but it’s necessary. We need to find ways to be more relatable so that we can help others. I hope that you find my story relatable through the dysfunctions of the events in my life, but most importantly, I hope that you see you are redeemable and anyone can be used for God’s glory if they just choose to do life with Jesus. There is always hope and there is always a breakthrough. I have no idea what is in store in my next thirty years, but I know that it’s going to be amazing because my unknowns are known by the most loving, gracious, and Sovereign LORD. Until then, I’ll be chasing after him on my adventure with Jesus.
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