Sunday, March 5, 2017


"Our lives are not accidental, but are carefully purposed by God to bring glory to His Name." -Larry Stockstill, One Year Bible (June 14).
Jeremiah 1:5-"I knew you before I formed you in your mothers womb. Before you were born. I set you a part as my spokesman to the world."

Today marks 27 years of life for me. 27 candles. 27 June 19th's. 27 mile markers of where I've been and who I've become.
I'm not really sure why I'm writing about it. In fact I wasn't going to but something kept drawing me to the idea. Something wouldn't let it go.
I think it was after a conversation with my cousin who happens to also be my birthday twin that my perspective began to change. If I'm being honest, this birthday was the first one in maybe awhile that I wasn't quite as excited to see come. There are a number of different things that could have contributed to this feeling but at maybe the heart was the fact that it didn't seem like it was going to be special. It seemed like for the first time in all my life, it would be just a birthday.
And that probably sounds crazy to most people, but the fact is: I love my birthday. I don't just celebrate it the 19th but all of June leading up to it. I celebrate my half birthday. I start planning my for it months out. Needless to say, I am a little birthday crazed.
So after both confessing we had lost some of our birthday enthusiasm this year, my cousin and I made a pact to look for something wonderfully out of the ordinary about on our birthday this year. We were going to choose to find the special.
And you know what? I did find it.
God used a handful of people to show me that birthdays aren't special because of what you do but who you spend them with. My birthday this year has been full of wonderful surprises because of the people in my life. The friendships and people and places I've invested in the other 364 days of this year came back abundantly more than I could have imagined.
And I think that's what God wanted me to see. To share. Life is not about numbers or dollar signs or status or big events. Its about people. It's about investments in the right places. It's about living each day to the fullest potential. What you put into life is what you get and I haven't always deposited in the right accounts. It is when I dare to give a little bit of myself that I get much more in return. My hands can never be empty when I count my blessings. There quite simply aren't enough fingers to count them on.
When you look at life that way, it starts to change things. Because you don't just see today as one day but as a bridge to many others. You start to see that the things you do today stretch into the future beyond what you could know. May we see people for what they are-special and life changing and what makes all the difference!
This birthday taught me how to look beyond what's in front of me and into a much bigger picture. How to be thankful for all things and how to live life in a way that matters.
I thought I'd end this birthday blog with 27 thoughts that life has taught me thus far. May they inspire and may I keep on learning:
  1. Above all else love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. Love Him in everything with everything.
  2. Be confident in who you are and whose you are. Trust in anything else is fleeting.
  3. The first step is often the hardest, but take it because it can lead to great places.
  4. Failure is not making a wrong turn, but rather never having tried at all.
  5. Surround yourself with people that encourage and challenge Your walk with Christ- "Show me your friends, I'll show you your future"
  6. Standing up for what is right in God's eyes isn't always easy or popular but it is always right!
  7. Invest in your family. Thank them. Forgive them. Be there. Love them and call them while you have the chance.
  8. Don't rush ahead of God; wait on His timing. It is always perfect and always better.
  9. Don't always look ahead to what is next. And don't be stuck looking at the past. Plan for tomorrow. Learn from yesterday but Live in today.
  10. Life is absolutely all about the choices you make. Choose wisely.
  11. Everybody has a story-take the time to read them.
  12. Guard your heart carefully, from it flows everything.
  13. Find at least one thing to be thankful for everyday. A heart of gratitude can change your whole perspective.
  14. Find joy and share it with others. Encourage like they've never heard a kind word.
  15. We are called to be the light-let's illuminate the world by our words and our actions and by everything about us.
  16. Invest in others-your legacy will last longer than anything else in this world.
  17. Remember life without laughter is no life at all. A cheerful heart does good like medicine.
  18. Travel whenever you can-open the world to yourself. But don't forget there is no place quite like home.
  19. Believe in possibilities, for with God all things are possible.
  20. Dream big and aim so high that you have to look to God to make it happen and then trust He will.
  21. Hope is an anchor for our souls. Always hold onto it. Always cultivate it. Never lose it.
  22. Know God has a plan for you. Walk through each day knowing it is a good plan full of hope and a future.
  23. God created you in His likeness and He has something only you can do. Embrace who He made you to be!
  24. Work hard at whatever comes your way. It will take you far in life when you do a job well done over just a job.
  25. Measure others not by what they can do for you or what they are worth in the worlds eyes but by their heart.
  26. Do not let fear stop you from becoming all that God has for you. Fear is only as powerful as you let it be. Do not be afraid; you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
  27. Let love in. Choose love. Be love. Show love. Love others. Love who you are. And love as God first loved you. Wholly. Unconditionally. Always. Love makes life worth it.
Thank you to everybody who made 27 quite wonderful! Between staff cinnamon rolls, a collection of Star Wars inspired presents, flowers and a hand-drawn card, a frappe filled Saturday morning, red lobster biscuits and homemade chicken nuggets, heartfelt cards, a Father's Day Sunday service, a butterfinger crumble cake, phone calls and texts and special birthday wishes, cotton candy blizzards and so much more, I think I'm gonna really like this number. You guys made it extra special. Thank you!!
-Only Hope

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