Turning 30

In less than a week I turn 30, and have been doing a lot of thinking about what I have done with my life and where I am going.  There are a lot of things that I thought would happen before I turned 30.  Things like getting married, starting a family, being in a career that uses my college degree, and maybe owning a home.  In physical and societal terms such as those, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished that much.  But there are things that I have accomplished, such as moving away from the state I grew up in, learning to take care of myself and make decisions on my own.  Having my own convictions and values, and really learning who I am and what makes me tick.

On many occasions, I would plan out certain things in my life, and God would laugh and then promptly change them.  Looking back, I see how God changed things that were for the better.  Not getting into medical school, living in Wyoming longer so I could learn to grow deeper in relationships.  Moving me out to Seattle and getting plugged into a church and community group that has been incredibly supportive.

I’ve learned a lot being single and having the time to develop deep relationships.  Some days have been rough, with pain, confusion, and sadness.  Even with having a strong desire to be married, I know that I need to be healthier with myself and those around me.  Balancing and understanding my needs, yet not being so inwardly focused and having the ability to pour out the love and grace of God on those around me.

Then there are the innumerable mistakes I have made, trying to figure life out.  Poor relationship choices, not listening to God, not heeding the advice of wise friends and family.  Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes, even though some days I feel like I’ve failed miserably.  I ran across this quote the other day from one of my favorite bloggers, Jon Acuff, and it reminded me how my mistakes can be used to minister to other people:

“In God’s hands, your mistakes aren’t open cuts, they are healed scars that tell stories of hope other people need to hear.”

I’m still trying to figure out where I am going, but I know that God will be with me every step of the way.  I’m excited to move forward, but scared shitless of not knowing what will happen next.  Praying for grace and guidance as I proceed with this crazy adventure called life.

“How are you?”

I answer the telephone and direct callers to different departments for my job.  The phrase I use when answering is ‘Good morning/afternoon, how may I direct your call?”  Most people just answer my question and I can direct them quickly and efficiently.  Occasionally, I get someone who asks me “How are you?”  To which I answer: “I’m doing well, thank you.  How may I direct your call?”  That way I can keep the calls flowing.  However, I sometimes get someone who asks me “How are you?” and then goes right on into their question.  Not even waiting for me to even respond.

It really made me think about how flippantly that this phrase is used and thrown out.  When someone asks “How are you?” and doesn’t even wait for your answer, it comes across as a cheap greeting.  I always wonder whey they even bothered asking, when they obviously don’t care.

Then there is the generic response of “Fine”, “Good” or “Well”.  I totally admit I use those terms when I don’t want to share with someone how I’m really doing.  Most people are shocked and feel uncomfortable when they ask “How are you?” and someone gives them more than a one word answer.  When they are being actually honest with how they really are doing.

However, I love it when a good friend asks, and waits for your response.  Wanting to truly know how you are doing.  And if you hesitate, not being afraid to gently dig and get to know the truth.  There is something amazing in someone wanting to know you and honestly wanting an answer to “How are you?”

It is Well with My Soul

I was talking with some good friends last night, and the subject came up about church worship music.  I was lamenting the fact that most churches tend to ignore good hymns in lieu of some of the modern and “contemporary” songs.  I do have to agree that most “modern” rendentions are very poorly done and I was really excited when I came across this YouTube video of one of my favorites.  The story behind “It is Well with My Soul” is heart-wrenching.  Horatio G. Spafford wrote this after losing his entire family to the sea, and he still had the faith to go on and trust in God.

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It is Well with My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.