It’s my birthday week where I’m headed towards the boring side of the thirties I suppose. Ha. Except, I’ve always been on the boring side at any age. Always too cautious, fearful to hurt anyone, fearful to do anything wrong. I’m definetely not an adrenaline junkie. (And somehow I end up in places like we did when we inched our way off the deadliest road of Colorado high in the mountains,  in a lowrider van! And I being on the edge of the cliff in the passenger side felt like I was practically hanging off that cliff, praying the whole time we wouldn’t bounce off on a rock or the rain storm wouldn’t come, or an oncoming car didn’t show up on that single lane, tiny edge! The moment it felt like we literally could have died,  disappeared off the edge of a cliff and no one would have even known for quite some time! Like how in the world do you end up in a place like that?!)

I can’t help but think what a gift it is to start another year of life in Washington. Here’s the thing, I don’t think it’s hit me yet. None of it. Up until today, it felt like I was going to pack up my suitcase and go back somewhere. Like it’s just another vacation. But all our things are here as of today,  and the house looks chaotic. I listened to Piper speak on one of his episodes, and he says he doesn’t like chaos. I don’t like chaos. I want to put it all away, where it needs to go and sit and look out in contentment. Tidy it all up.  Because it’s starting to feel so much like Fall, and there’s nothing like cool air, coffee, and a lit candle in the house. Ah, but that isn’t the case. Boxes everywhere, half unpacked, still so much to go. And since it’s September and school has started, I can’t wait to just put up all the books and school things and start our own schooling for the year with the kids.

Anyway, I can’t think of an emotion or feeling that I haven’t felt this past year. Perhaps, I’m not the only one on earth, with what has happened all across the globe. To an extreme perhaps like never before in my own personal life. I could say a gazillion things on just that. But I’ll skip on all that and just say, what stands out most is seeing the guidance of God. There’s no way to express it or write it out. It has to be felt, seen, and experienced perhaps from where I stand. If there was a moment I fretted, panicked, worried, or felt fear, and if I felt like I had to do something, take it into my own hands, do what I wanted to do or thought I should do, God would redirect. It came to a point where he stopped me, literally, overnight. And to counter it all there’d  be peace, such reassurance, and joy. To see that to such an extreme is bewildering. God is in control. Always. I have no doubt of that.

Back to birthdays and gifts. If I think over my whole entire life, I can think of one thing that stands out above the rest. The best gift I’ve ever received -a gift from God. About ten years ago, when God showed me what it means to forgive. (This is a very bland version btw)  I thought I was already quick to forgive, one who forgave easily, but it was to a whole new level. When I had every reason not to, every argument against it, all the excuses to say I will not, I don’t have to, I don’t want to, I won’t! Kicking and screaming inside. And there, it was as if Jesus was saying, “you must, you have to, you’ll see, you’ll understand…” The pressure became so great!  Everything around me became about forgiveness. It even seeped into my dreams. And then when I surrendered, I forgave, it was as if all became still and my eyes were opened. ‘Oh, that’s what you mean.’ All the time that I had asked, “what does it really mean to be like Jesus?”  felt like it was answered, and in forgiving, most of all. A crash course, an intensive class in a short span of time. And what a class it was. Painful, eye-opening, life altering. A 360 turnaround. Where you’re headed in the same direction but as a new person all together. Perhaps life defining, set up for the rest of my days…

When I think of forgiveness I think of Jesus on the cross. Hanging there. He was sooo young! (it struck me afresh how young he was, that it brought me to tears!) And he hung on that cross so that I could be forgiven. Before I even asked, he had already done it. There’s this struggle with forgiveness. Perhaps to accept it, perhaps to grant it. I’m sure there’s people who think, “Well I haven’t really done anything. I never killed anyone, I never stole, I never…I don’t need forgiveness” And then I’m sure there’s people who think, “But how could I be forgiven? I did this! No one could forgive me! No one must know!” And yet, Jesus died on the cross so that each one, from their petty stray thought to the brutal of murders, could be forgiven. Yes, I might have not stolen nobody’s fortune, and never murdered, but the things God has forgiven me for, they’re easier to hide. And oh how we love to hide. If I get angry, if I react inappropriately with my children…I have a whole list of the things I need to be forgiven for daily! There’s no way I could walk through a single day without sinning in one way or another!

In learning to forgive it’s as if there was  a newness in understanding what Jesus had done himself. It also made it easy to understand acceptance of forgiveness. And if Jesus died taking all the centuries of all the horrid sin of this world, then how can I not forgive?! The verse in Ephesians 4:32 had become a living verse. A guiding verse. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” All of life we turn around and either have to forgive or be forgiven. Because if we’re not in one position, we are already in the other. Constantly.

So as strange of a gift it might seem, it was one never to be forgotten. These days, I don’t need much. I don’t need anything. We live spoiled, easily grumble, even surrounded in all of the comforts of this world. So many live with less. Less health, less wealth. All I can do is be thankful and grateful, and enjoy what God has given me at this time of my life. So here’s to another year of life.


I should probably stick a photo in here. This blog was supposed to be about photography. heh. Maybe one day…