Last week I turned 30 years old. I must be weird, because instead of being anxious about it, I was actually quite excited. It’s the start of a new decade, a fresh start. Jesus started his ministry at this age, and from what I’ve heard, the Jewish tradition held that this was the decade of “full strength”. I’m excited to see what God has in store for this year, this decade.
Just before I turned 30 I had the opportunity to go on our team’s annual retreat, our Spiritual Life Conference. It was so needed. So encouraging and refreshing, both spiritually and physically. It was nice to get out of the city and enjoy the fresh air and green landscape of the tea fields of Kenya. I even had a chance to go horseback riding!
But mostly, I was so grateful for the reminders of God’s grace. I think we forget sometimes, but it’s so good to take time to remind each other of the extravagant grace of God, the reason we do what we do. I was reminded also to simply abide in Christ, to rest in Him and wait for Him. This is something God has been showing me lately, but without the distractions of every day life this past week, I found I actually heard Him.
And I desperately needed to remember those words. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing myself to those around me, to listen to the lies telling me I’m not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough…that I am simply not enough.
But my Jesus hanging on a cross tells a different story. It tells me that He sees my worth, He loves me so much He died for me and even today He is interceding for me. He shows me that I am enough because He is enough. He is more than enough.
There is a song we sing here that is one of my favorites called “Wewe Watosha”…the translation is literally “You are enough”. And that is my prayer for this year (and beyond), to declare the God is enough and to rest in that completion.
This I know: God is good, and thus far He has brought me, and I know that He will continue His good work in me until He brings it to completion, the day that I see my Lord and Savior face to face. Oh what a day that will be!
Today, I feel full to overflowing with joy and thanksgiving to my God! And I’m going to share that joy with you by listing 30 things that I am grateful for (in a very incomplete and random list, in no particular order):
- Life. Both my physical life, the very breath that I have, and especially my life in Christ, that fullness of life and joy found only in Jesus Christ.
- The gospel of Christ. What an amazing God, Creator of all things seen and unseen, who would send His Son, would come down to this earth to live among us, among our filth, would die a horrific death on a cross to bridge the gap that we had created in our rebellion. All so that we could be with Him forever.
- My parents. What amazing examples of “Christ-followers”. And what incredibly loving, fun, adventurous, smart, servant’s hearted people they are. I’m so grateful God knew exactly what I needed.
- My sister and brother-in-law. Adventurous, talented and funny.
- My brother and sister-in-law. Fun and goofy and so kind.
- My grandfather and grandmother. The stories they told, the jokes they made, the lives they lived that pointed back to Jesus. An ending to this chapter of life that made much of Jesus and reminded me of how I hope to finish this race. And the example my grandmother continues to be in her passion to share the Good News, with every breath she has.
- The Spencer’s. The love, laughter, tears, adventures, lives lived in community, music made, hearts stirred towards compassion, gospel lived, grace extended…words could not express how grateful I am that God saw fit to let my path cross with theirs for these 30 years.
- So many friends I could never possibly list them all here…the laughter, tears, adventures, encouragement, prayers…I’m so glad God calls us to live in community, and that He chose you to walk alongside me in this journey.
- The Church. All around the world, it is so beautiful. Lafayette Alliance, the encouragement and support they have all been. Good Shepherd, for welcoming me and making me one of your own.
- Every album by Michael Card. The gospel truth saturating my soul as I enjoy exceptionally good musicianship. Still my favorite after all these years.
- Books. To read words on a page that make history and stories and adventures come alive…
- The Bible. The very words of God, written for me to read and to know…
- The gift of the violin, the music it has made, the places it has taken me.
- Coffee. ‘nuff said.
- Sunshine and warmth and the brilliant blue sky.
- The way the sun sparkles on the snow and the feel of the crisp air in my lungs (when I’m actually in a winter-weather place, that is)
- Colors…all of them. The fact that I can see and distinguish between colors. And autumn, when the world explodes in vibrant color…making the trees look like “a bowl of fruit loops” as my dad likes to say.
- Chocolate. Does anything else need to be said about this deliciousness?
- Skype. Keeps me in touch with the people I love around the world at the press of a button. So very grateful.
- Photography. The fact that we can forever capture a memory, a moment in time with the snap of the shutter is amazing.
- The fact that I have two legs that work…for walking, running, jumping, hiking, dancing…I don’t want to take that for granted.
- Education. I am so very grateful for this gift of education, something so many of us (myself included) take for granted so often.
- Freedom. To live, to worship, to dream, to speak…
- Camping. Fresh air, campfires, birds singing, sleeping under the stars, the smell of the woods…so many adventures and memories through the years
- Mountains. The majesty of them, the lessons they have taught me, the memories made.
- Water. Clean water to drink, indoor plumbing, rain watering the earth and making things grow, lakes to swim in, puddles to jump in…pretty much all water. Love it.
- Horses. And horseback riding through the woods and corn fields of New York…or through the tea fields of Kenya
- The “basics”. A roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back…things I take for granted every day.
- God’s protection. In Kenya, in America, when I’m traveling, when I’m worshipping…so grateful that nothing crosses my path that didn’t first go through God’s hands.
- A new day, a fresh start, God’s grace and mercy poured out for me.
Now, go and write your own list and live in the fullness of gratitude, “eucharisteo”.