catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 1 :: 2010.01.08 — 2010.01.21



Last year I turned fifty. I blinked-and my next birthday came and went. The days rumble by, like a runaway locomotive. No matter how much I beg to slow the pace, it doesn’t change. I’m stuck, racing clickity-clack down the track of life.

Since the big 5-0, I’ve done some serious thinking as the scenery flies by. What’s important? What really matters? What will be of value when my train rolls into the station with eternity just beyond the gate?

As I zip across the border into another year, this seems to be a good time to gather around me the “souvenirs” of the past months. These bits of wisdom have made my journey doable, memorable and worthwhile. They remind me where I’ve been and what I need to remember.

1. I want to believe what’s true. Not a philosophy, creed, or religion that seems reasonable. Not necessarily what I grew up with. Not what makes me feel good. Not what’s popular. Belief in a certain premise doesn’t make it true. (The majority of fifteenth century Europeans believed the earth was flat.) Rather, I want to believe what is already true and real. In the end, what I believe is reflected in how I live.

2. Questions to ask myself when a family member or friend is in crisis:

  • What is my role?
  • What role do others play?
  • What is God’s role?

3. There’s often more than one right answer.

4. Friendship: a catalyst for growth, courage and change. I often told our daughters, “Good friends help you do the right thing.” With two writing groups, a small prayer group and a great mom, I find myself surrounded with women from various age groups, denominational backgrounds and personalities. They challenge me to a deeper trust in God. They offer a broader perspective to balance my tendencies. They push me to reach my potential. I call on them for advice or prayer. And vice versa. We help each other do the right thing(s).

5. Less is more. Max Lucado said it best in his warm children’s book titled You Are Mine: “You’re special-not because of what you have. You’re special because of who you are….”

6. Try not to take offenses personally. I know my propensity to allow emotional distance with those who make me feel uncomfortable, powerless or inadequate. Perhaps taking ownership and working through the issues as best I can come close to following Paul’s advice: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).

7. Remember Grace. Like my friend when I agreed to pick up her daughter from preschool and point blank forgot. I owed Lisa a responsible follow-through on my word. She, in essence, shredded my “IOU” and offered forgiveness instead. What a difference remembering grace and giving second chances can have on a relationship!

8. “God gives the increase.” To please God isn’t about being perfect or trying harder or gratifying people. His work exceeds my efforts by far. Yet He displays the gospel through frail human vessels of earth “that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

9. I’m still in process — and so is everyone else. I like the analogy of a child giving a valentine to her parent. Her token of love isn’t perfect. Coloring overflows the lines, letters find themselves backwards, words are misspelled. But the father doesn’t chide her. Instead he delights in her efforts to express her love to him. Each year, as she matures, his smile of approval shows he treasures every stage of growth.

I believe God is like that. My efforts to show love for Him and try to please Him are often out of line, backwards and don’t spell “Christian” very well. But He treasures me as His child and sees past the mistakes into my heart. He understands and values each stage of growth. Often He gently takes me by the hand and shows me a “more excellent way” through His Word. He prompts me to grow in grace and points me back to the basics: to love God and love my neighbor.

10. I am part of something bigger. My youngest daughter and I have just finished reading the Old Testament — full of history, prophesies and promises. I’m also working my way though Epicenter: Why the Current Rumblings in the Middle East will Change your Future by Joel C. Rosenberg. Linking Bible prophecy (namely Ezekiel 38 and 39) with current events, the author suggests predictions that are beginning to come to pass now. In the midst of disturbing newspaper headlines and multiple global challenges, God’s plan is bigger — bigger than my life, my country or a terrorist agenda. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yet He extends His grace to me, with the promise of eternal life with Him.

As the birthdays whiz by, I hope my trust reaches beyond what I can see with earthbound eyes. I want to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). May these souvenirs in my heart help me remember.

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