Sunday, October 26, 2014

October Recap

It seems a bit early to be thinking about a recap for the month of October, but by next weekend, it will already be November and time to fall back an hour.  So before October gets away, here are a few things I want to remember this month.
Words are so life-giving, especially for one whose love language is words of encouragement.  As part of my birthday celebration, my friend Susie created a decorated ring to hold the cards I received.  I keep it hanging on my bedroom door knob so I can read some when I need to refuel my love tank.  The art of writing may be a dying art, but it shouldn't be.  Words like these from friends, and the powerful words of Scripture, can encourage over and over again after being written only once.
My friends Krista and Jeff invited me to sit at one of their tables at the Young Life Banquet.  The speaker this year was Bob Goff, the author of Love Does.  I never dreamed I'd be able to meet him, but he has to be one of the most approachable New York Times bestselling authors ever.  Who else puts his real cell phone number on the last page of his book and actually answers his phone?!  He lives a life of loving others abundantly and has a huge heart for protecting children around the world.  His stories about the work he's doing in Uganda gives goosebumps.  He's truly a hero.

Another hero is Noah, as well as his wife.  As I've been studying Genesis, I've been reminded of the incredible example of obedience that Noah demonstrated.  God didn't give him a blue print like he gave Moses for the tabernacle; instead, God gave Noah only a basic outline.  Noah's main task was to obey, even if it meant building something that likely seemed unnecessary; after all, there had never been rain prior to the flood.  And as was pointed out in our talk this past week, Noah's wife is to be admired for being his helpmate and supporting him throughout this process as he undertook this huge building project (possibly in their front yard) for DECADES.   

This has been one of the hottest Octobers on record here.  It also has been a rough month for Texas football.  So, I'm looking forward to cooler weather and to hopefully getting a couple of wins in the last four games of the season.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Perspective: Celebrating 40

In preparation for turning forty, I wrestled with how to celebrate this milestone birthday.   For many years, I’d “threatened” to plan a big party that would serve as a wedding reception in case I wasn’t married by forty.  I was hoping that my threat would convince God to introduce me to my husband so that I could have a real wedding reception—one where all my friends and family would gather together in one place with me to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness.  But as I’ve learned over the past thirty-nine years, you can’t force God to do anything, and I don’t end up liking anything I’ve schemed for.  And so I had let go of the idea of having a big party. 

Then, some sweet friends of mine plotted together and offered to throw a birthday lunch, a birthday dinner, or a birthday tea for me.  Being a gal who loves all types of teas, tea rooms, and anything that remotely resembles a proper British afternoon tea, I chose the latter.  My mom was already planning to come for the weekend, and she agreed to stay an extra day to attend the tea with me. 

I couldn't have asked for a sweeter celebration; it was beautiful in every way, and there was so much love in all the details that three hostesses thought of.  Sarah, Krista, and Susie did an amazing job. 

I didn't even notice right away that the painting on the mantle was for me; my friend Susie painted it, and it now proudly hangs above my bed. 


Mom also helped me comply with the obligatory work requirement:  bring your own birthday cake.  She whipped up this four-layer pumpkin cake with a caramel and pecan topping, which was devoured in the blink of an eye on Monday afternoon.
On my actual birthday, I chose to have a quiet evening at home and read through cards and notes sent by my family and friends.  It was a perfect birthday for this introvert who enjoys reading encouraging words.

My mom wrote that it is time to enter my promised land, just as the Israelites did after their forty-year journey.  I've read that the number forty was used by God to represent a period of testing or judgment (the length of time necessary to accomplish some major part of God's plan in His dealings with various portions of mankind), and I'm so very ready for His plans to be realized in my life. 

Forty hasn't really sunk in, mostly because forty feels different when you aren't where you expected you'd be and can't set goals to get there.  But in so many ways that I could never have imagined, the Lord has used the past thirty-nine years to show me that He is faithful and good; He has surrounded me with such godly family and friends who have encouraged me, who have walked with me, and who have pointed me back to His Truths, which never change.  That, in itself, is worth celebrating - milestone birthday or not.