“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I turn 24 today. I don’t know about you but every birthday serves as a day of reflection for me. Who am I? Where am I going? What have I done with my life over the past year? Am I really 24 already? The time has gone by so quickly, it seems I can hardly catch my breath before I’m blowing out another cake supporting one more candle than the last. But as this season of contemplation draws near, this year has been made particularly special by an early birthday present. On Sunday, my mom gave me a scrapbook that took her 20 hours to complete. In it she chronicled my life from birth to my wedding day and filled it with pictures of vacations, family, and friends throughout the years. I was humbled and nearly brought to tears over the size and breadth of the gift, but as the days have passed, what I’ve found even more humbling is the story of my life… the story of the life God has given me.
My parents came to know the Lord in their teens. They were discipled by people in the church and met at a Bible Study in High School. At only 19 and 20, they decided to marry and start a life together. Being so young, things were not always easy and often times financial struggles would befall our family but God was always faithful; faithful in answering our prayers and faithful in fulfilling His promise to be our provider. My parents put my brother, sister and me through Christian school and we all attended and completed college. We never knew what it was to be in need because we always made due and enjoyed the simpler way of doing things (even now my mom won’t buy Ziploc sandwich bags because “they cost more!”).
So I guess the thing that most overwhelms me, as I flip through the pages of this lovely childhood, is the goodness of our God. In all of His grace, God placed me in a family that loves the Him. He blessed me with parents that continually seek Him and, through them He showed me how to grow in a relationship with Him. He has always provided for me (sometimes even miraculously) and continues to protect me from the evils of this world. I can’t explain why He chose to love me so much and I don’t understand why He allowed me to receive His grace, but I gladly accept it, knowing that my fate would be dark and bleak if not for Him.
This is truly the great love story of my life… that my Creator chose me. He chose me in my sin. He chose me despite my rebellion. And He loves me so deeply that He allowed His Son to die on a cross for me. I am humbled and yet, I’m in awe. All of my life I have been loved by the One who created me. He knew me when I breathed my first breath and He will hold my head as I take my last. No, I can’t comprehend this love but I do know that it is there for all of us.
My challenge for you today is to remember the love your Creator has for you. He cherishes every moment of your life and thinks that you are the most beautiful and wonderful of all of His Creation. God loves you and He will and never let you go.