Ode to 38

Today my man turns 38. This makes me happy because that means from now until November 25th we'll be the same age. Then I'll be the older woman again. Anyway, in celebration of 38 years, here are 38 important facts about my husband.

  1. He is the only man that has ever kissed me properly.
  2. His children think he is the funniest creature on the face of the planet.
  3. He reads bed-time stories like nobody's business.
  4. He is a man after God's own heart, and that is no cliche.
  5. He is one of the smartest people I know.
  6. He cares very much about helping people in their walk with Jesus.
  7. He is almost always the first to admit he is wrong, with humility, and ask for forgiveness.
  8. He is a visionary.
  9. He is passionate.
  10. He has one of the most tender hearts I know.
  11. He is a gifted actor and writer.
  12. He is not afraid to cry.
  13. He has done the dishes for 16 years without complaint.
  14. He holds me in the dark and lets me cry when I need to.
  15. He loves to have his back scratched.
  16. He put others before himself 99% of the time.
  17. He is a loyal friend.
  18. He is a man of influence in many arenas.
  19. He is hard on himself.
  20. He is an amazing Dad.
  21. He shaves his goatee, wears my Mom's dress, my pantyhose and our team-mate's shoes when he "does" the Church Lady.
  22. He almost died when he was a toddler, and I believe God spared his life because He had great things in store for him.
  23. He is my best friend.
  24. He makes me laugh (although not usually at his jokes) and it always tickles him when he does.
  25. He has balls of steel.
  26. He is a learner.
  27. He still gets my engine going.
  28. He is a man of prayer.
  29. He is humble.
  30. He helps around the house without complaining.
  31. He is teaching our children to follow Jesus with their whole heart.
  32. He is teaching me that too.
  33. He sticks to his principles.
  34. He gets better with each passing year.
  35. He is the only one the dog really respects.
  36. He loves Jesus more than anything.
  37. He does not seek power.
  38. He is the love of my life.
Happy Birthday, baby. Thank God I have you in my life.

This wild ride

This afternoon I spoke to my spiritual director, Elizabeth, for more than an hour. We spoke of many things, but one of the images that came up is that of a roller coaster. I hate them, roller coasters. I really do. I knew before I ever rode on one that I would hate it. Only once have I allowed peer pressure to force me onto one, and yes, I hated it fiercely. I hated it so much that I bruised my legs trying to stay in.

Lately, my life is like a roller-coaster, and I don't much like it. More than a few moments during the past week, I've had my eyes screwed shut, my stomach screaming with stress and I have been hanging on for dear life until the short but horrifying ride is over.

But here is the deal. In seeking spiritual growth, I'm trying to "go" with God when He sends my days spiraling through cork-screws. I am trying to keep my eyes open and my head up and see what He is trying to teach me, what work He is doing in transforming me. I'm trying to do more than just endure and pray that it will end soon (the ride, not life :) )

I want to move past the point where I try and duck the pain, or go around, but learn instead to move through it, clinging to God as I go, growing as I go.

Sometimes I don't want to ride for one more second. Sometimes I don't want to have to grow one more inch. Sometimes I want to call God crazy for thinking a roller coaster is a useful teaching tool.

But I will stay strapped in and go around again, and again until I have learned what I needed to and can get off this ride and sit sobbing with relief in His lap.


My Prayer for Me and You

This summer at our annual conference, Connect, we were blessed to be led in worship by Kendall Payne. She is amazing, and it was such a worshipful experience. I bought one of her Cd's, Grown and today I have been listening to it.

This song Pray, really hit the nail on the head for me today, since it's the day we have set aside to pray about our life, ministry and finances and have asked friends to pray too.

To listen to part of this song, you can click here. But here are the words:

I will pray for you now
For you have been my faithful friends
While the road we walk is difficult indeed
I could not ask for more
Than what you've already been
Only that you would say these prayers for me

May your heart break enough
That compassion enters in
May your strength all be spent upon the weak
All castles and crowns you build
And place upon your head
May they all fall, come crashing down
Around your feet

May you find every step
To be harder than the last
So your character grows
Greater each stride
May your company be
Of humble insignificance
May your weakness be your
Only source of pride

What you do unto others
May it all be done to you
May you meet the one who made us
And see Him smile when life is through
May your blessings be many
But not what you'd hope they'd be
When you look upon the broken
May mercy show you
What you could not see

May you never be sure
Of any plan you desire
But you'd learn to trust the plans
He has for you
May your passions be tried and
Tested in the holy fire
May you fight with all your life
For what is true

I have prayed for you now
All of my dear and faithful friends
But what I wish is more than I could ever speak
As the way wanders on
I'll long to see you once again
Until then, would you say
These prayers for me?
Oh that you would pray for me

Kendall Payne

I think I love this song because it does not focus on the fluffy pretty things of life, but the things that in the end, matter most of all.

And on a day where I have cringed to see the euro rise some more, have wondered how I am going to pay both rent and the speech therapy bill, I REJOICE to be in a place where I cling to the Father's hand in a way I never do when things are hunky-dory.

So today, pray these prayers for me. And I will pray them for you, too.