Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What a Difference a Decade Makes!

As today is my 50th birthday, I can't help but reflect on what a difference a decade makes!  Looking back over the first half of my life, it seems I can measure it decade by decade with each milestone birthday.

Here I am on my 30th birthday (receiving a gift from my sweet niece, Caitlyn, who is now soon to be married!). 

This was perhaps one of the happiest day of my life.  I had been released from the hospital that morning and was technically on bedrest (aka "stay-seated-at-the-party") as I was pregnant with my amazing Mackenzie and having complications.  After three years of infertility treatments and then life-threatening pregnancy complications, I had feared I would never be a Mom.  But on this day, January 31, 1992, I somehow knew my baby would be born and that everything was going to be ok. 

Looking back now on how many tears I cried thinking I was "barren", it tickles me to realize what God had already planned for my nest...

My thirties were happy, idyllic, and very, very hard.  I found myself a single parent, and I made so, so many mistakes.  I chased after the wrong things and the wrong people.  I wanted to do good in the world, but my flesh always got in the way.  I kept looking for some person to rescue me, when all the time God was the one who kept pulling me out of the mire.  I searched for "religion" but never found a relationship with my Creator. 
Finally, my 40th birthday rolled around...

Although I had many friends, a good job, 2 beautiful kids, a nice house and a "boyfriend", I didn't have what I needed most.  God.  And it was on this day that I decided to give it ALL to Him.  I am not sure how I really got to that decision except that I just got totally fed up with chasing after status and appearances.  I had no peace.  I needed peace above anything else.  I realized nothing of this world was going to make me happy and I was finally able to STOP and give it all to HIM. 

And since I made that decision, God has opened up my life in ways I NEVER could have imagined.  First of all, He sent the right guy to my front door...I didn't even have to go looking for him!

Next, he brought me to a fellowship of believers where I met Christ in a whole new way, and He filled me with the gift of the Holy Spirit.

At age 45, I asked to be baptized by immersion, telling God He could have the whole second half of my life...

Then, He called me to Africa.  How could I have ever known EVERYTHING He had for me there.  In that place, He broke my heart for the orphan, and I have never been the same.

(Yes, I am holding a live chicken.  If you have ever been a missionary to Africa, you have been blessed with a chicken.)

And shortly after that, He called me to be the director for Orphan Sunday...a movement that would touch orphans ALL OVER THE WORLD by God's grace!

And then, He led me to my three amazing Ugandan kids.  WOW. 

And through all of this, I have witnessed miracle after miracle.  So many that I already know the title of my next book: "My Life In Miracles".  There is not enough room on the internet for me to express the Goodness, the Richness, the Beauty of God's love for me and all He has allowed me to experience in the last decade. 
Some of these miracles are documented on this blog...more will have to wait to be written.

If you are asking God for a miracle in your life, try giving it ALL to Him.  I hope you don't have to get to the crummy place that I was at 40 to force you to make that decision.  I hope you don't have to get anywhere near that place!  Just give it ALL to Him...it's all His anyway.

And just watch the miracles unfold.