Some years, the number feels weightier than others.
No longer young. Not yet old.
70 years, more or less, are appointed to man, so what is 35 if not an in-between number?
I feel that this year—that “between-two-ends” feeling. I’m right here, in the midst of the whole grand picture, and I see my life as the pages of a book, being written and slowly filled.
Coming today to this unfamiliar half-way point, I can’t help but wonder—how does my story read so far?
For there’s a bit of substance here now… there is a beginning to be sure, but more still. There are quite a few stories compiled already, and more than a few lessons learned.
Some chapters have been pure joy, while other pages were written in tears.
But day by day, hour by hour, the pages continue to turn and fill slowly up.
“For you yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone…written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of the human heart…”
2 Cor. 3:2-3
Standing back today, I take a look, and ponder my story.
Does it read well? Is it full of grace and beauty? Are others who read the words of this book inspired to turn another page, drawn by something or Someone greater than the vessel itself…or do they move quickly on, turned off by the vain and uncomely prose they find within?
Each January, rain, sun or snow, I mark my birth-day, and another year of life with a long, quiet walk alone with my Creator. Today’s birthday walk took me deep into our snow-covered woods, an hour before the sun slipped from the sky.
I go, as I do each year, to pray and to listen.
Down the path, around each bend, over familiar streams—now icy but still moving—I force myself to slow down as I ask Him to quiet my spirit.
I don’t stop walking until I reach the high woods that look over the whole white valley. And here in the quiet, I raise my face towards the glow of the setting sun—and I whisper to Him—to my Maker.
I ask Him to assess these pages—to read each one of this past year, to scrutinize not just the days, but the hours and the moments too…however painful this dealing may be, I ask You Lord to search my heart…and those pages which did not speak of your worth… those which may have instead brought you shame, those which stole glory due your name, those I squandered or greedily took as my own as if I deserved anything, Lord, I confess them now, and I ask that you would cover them with your grace.
Acutely aware of my own sin and frailty, I wonder through streaming tears…
35 years, but how many were lived for Him?
In this quiet, my heart cries out—
Use the failures of the past and the brokenness of the present to shine forth your holy light, that you might be lifted up.
Take these unwritten pages, I give them now to you. I ask that you would unite my heart to fear your name alone (Ps. 86:11).
Oh Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I might present to you a heart of wisdom (Ps. 90:12). Renew me Jesus. Refresh me by your Spirit. Write your words upon my heart and mind (Ps. 119:11) that I might know your truth and walk in it each day. Direct my coming and my going, my resting and my serving.
May the words of my mouth, and the mediations of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps. 19:14).
Mark my days with an urgency for your kingdom work. Fill my spirit with a supernatural joy and work in me a heart of tenderness. Give this body the strength and energy needed to do that which you would have me do. Remind me always that any sufferings I will be required to endure are designed to draw me closer unto you, my Savior.
Thank you for my life Lord!and for the privilege of serving your church. For the joy of laying my life down for my husband and children and my neighbors. Fill me and equip me for this task as only you can.
Then homeward bound, He speaks to my spirit from His Word: My daughter, I have made your life to be an open book, but know that I am the Author and the Finisher. (Heb. 12:2)
What you offer unto Me, I will fill, and fill to overflowing. What you believe Me to do, I will not only begin, but I will finish. (Phil. 1:6)
Thank you, my Jesus.
What else is there, but to say, I am yours Lord.
Take my life and let it be
And for you, dear friends…
May the God of your hope so fill YOU with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound AND be overflowing [bubbling over] with hope.