In just two short years there will be sixty candles decorating my birthday cake. Sixty lit candles, an assortment of blue, pink, yellow, green and white ones dug deep beneath the frosting, each representing a year of my life. Sixty years of candles burning and flickering its flame waiting for me to make a wish. Sixty lit candles whose wax slowly drips down its sides as the birthday song is sung in family unison before all sixty candles are blown out. Sixty candles for sixty years, celebrated with cake, ice cream, gifts and coffee.
Sixty candles reflecting sixty 365-calendar days of opportunity to touch lives, give love, receive love, notice someone, matter to someone, make a difference, through God be the difference, make the day count, show up when you’re counted on, a birthday wish this sixty “365-calendar days” reads like an adventure novel.
Let it be said of me one day when there are no more lit candles to blow out on my birthday cake I at least attempted a fraction of this kind of life.
Even though I’m still believing for decades to hug and embarrass my children, holding on for years of sweet good-morning kisses with my husband, and anticipating a lifetime of love to give to my grandchildren, sometimes we need to take a serious pause and ask God if our lives embody the dreams and plans he set aside specifically for us.
With jam packed calendars that have no lane to slow down in. When ignoring the clock rarely enjoying the 24 hours we’ve been blessed with because frankly, our lives are over booked. Sometimes we need to fasten our seatbelts and slam on the brakes of our busyness because we need to have a conversation with God and ask him, “Are we measuring up to that “good and faithful servant?”
God reminds us to number our days.
God holds out that yardstick of our life to remind us it measures a mere breath.
We are a mist, we are a vapor.
The calendar years pass by so quickly.
Let it be said of me I numbered my days.
Let it be said of me I measured my time here on earth.
Let it be said of me I recognized that tomorrow wasn’t guaranteed but treasured the moments I could hold onto in the now.
Let it be said of me at least most of the time, I didn’t waste the seconds, minutes and hours God had given me.
Looking back over my sixty years, I wish there was a “do over” card I could throw down on the hands I played unwisely in the past. I wish life allowed me to “white out” those mistakes and rewrite the pages of that legacy I will one day leave as an inheritance.
I wish I could go back in time and have a few conversations with my younger self. I’d love to share with her the discoveries of my heart, those realizations I’ve found to be true. I wish I could leave for her “crumbs in the forest” so she wouldn’t lose her way in the midst when life flips upside down. Even though I can’t turn back the clock for that little girl of my younger self, I can drop for my children and grandchildren my “crumbs in the forest” that one day it would be said of me my life mattered at least for them.
I’d tell my younger self that your walk with God will be worth it. That while the road shared with Him will take you down hidden paths of despair and doubt all for His glory for which you can trust Him, the hops and skips through the wild flower fields of bliss and happiness will be many, and God will hold tight to your hand through them all.
Yes younger self, your walk with God will be worth it.
(Church directory with the family)
I’d tell my younger self that God fashioned you beautifully and the mirror doesn’t lie as you were designed in the image of the Creator. Down the road during those heart-wrenching seasons of abandonment when you want to believe something must be terribly wrong with the mirror you sadly look into, God will turn all this for His good. Hold tight your reflection into the mirror of God, as He will use those emotions of “shattered glass” to help other girls and women value their worth during a time of brokenness.
I’d tell my younger self there’s always a reason to smile, even when you hate that patriotic dress your grandmother gave you to wear or when you’ve lost so many of your baby teeth at the same time. Smiling doesn’t mean your life is perfect, without worry or free from pain. But smiling displays a strong confidence that your God’s got “this”, whatever “this is”, a deep belief you’re God’s got you. Don’t ever lose your confidence when your report card has a few A- and not straight A+. We all have room to improve. Keep smiling when you’ve lost your confidence to try out for cheerleading. Keep smiling when your best friend (and only friend) is your sister who lets you pal around at school. Keep smiling when lunch time in the library gets lonely. Keep smiling because throughout life you’ll never be alone with God clinging to your side.
I’d tell my younger self to keep from comparing yourself to others, especially to your four other sisters. So you’re the middle girl and feel like an imaginary child. So your baby sister gets all the attention as well as the oldest. God will always see you and pick you out in the crowd. He will notice you and smile with every look of your face. Don’t compare, but celebrate the individual you.
Lastly younger self, I’d tell you that God has great need of thee. God has wonderful gifts he wants to use through you for reasons beyond your imagination. Don’t begrudge or belittle your gifts. Take hold your gifts. Hone your gifts. Be generous with these gifts God wants to use to touch the lonely, the broken, the lost and the weary. Your life will matter to more than you know. Your influence will reach generations beyond your life. Live today with passion, with purity, with purpose. Live like you matter because you matter to God, you matter to others, you matter to the life you have been given.
Because sixty years and beyond will pass you by faster than the time it takes to blink your eyes.
When my days here on earth are done, may it have been counted for my family, counted for others, counted for Christ. When heaven welcomes me at the gate,
Let all this be said of me.