Happy Birthday to Me! and Malcolm X, Kevin Garnett, Joey Ramone…
…and Ho Chi Mihn, Pete Townsend and last, but not cute, Grace Jones!
Today I celebrated birthday number 33! While my joints feel the effects of 33 years of too much stress my spirit has never felt more alive. I have a core of friends and family that love me for who I am, I have two incredible jobs, two precious children to love and develop, and I have the most wonderful marriage a person could hope for. I think back to mid February of 1996 when I effectively alienated everyone that meant anything to me and I was forced to evaluate the abysmal choices I’d made to that point and purpose to do something different going forward. At 18 years old my life was marked by deceit, selfishness and foolish pursuits. To shorten this epic, I recommitted my life and decision making to pursuing Jesus Christ and the will of God. I didn’t get it perfect but I sensed more of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my heart and the things I thought were important before that time didn’t seem as urgent or relevant any longer. At my lowest, I never felt God could forgive me for my transgressions or use me to do anything for Him or anyone else. I thought I was eternally sidelined. That turned out to be a lie from the pit of Hell. I realize now that the brokenness I experienced in my youth was fertile ground for God to begin His work of restoration in my life. I believed I could plot my own course to success and joy but that left me outcast and irrelevant. Living for Christ has afforded me joy, respect and purpose. I credit all that I am and all that I have to God and God alone. I firmly believe had I continued life under my own guidance I would not have a story of celebration to report today.
Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I will abide in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).