Does anyone remember that TV show from the '80s? OK, so I don't really remember it--I was like eight years old when it aired. But I remember knowing it existed, and associating it with my parents, since they were thirtysomethings at the time.
Yesterday I turned 31. And now I'm officially a thirtysomething too.
I really like birthdays. I hate the fact that our culture treats aging like some kind of inevitable, creeping disaster that has to be staved off and warred against. King Solomon would not approve this mentality, methinks.
Gray hair is a crown of glory;it is gained in a righteous life.
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
You know, I get that my body is losing the glory of the strength of my youth. I look in the mirror every day, and believe me... I get that. I sure as heck don't look like I did when I was 21. But by God's grace, I am a wiser woman, and a happier one, than I was at 21. And I don't have the desire to relive all of the hard work, the heartache, the sin and repentance and just... the daily grinding that have made me wiser and happier.
Don't get me wrong. These last ten years of my life have been full of transformation and light and abundant life. They've been full of laughter and delight and sweetness and incredible milestones. I treasure these things. But I'm not sure I'd want to relive even these moments, as dear and as rich as they were.
You know what I want? As I fall asleep each night, I want to remember that, by God's grace alone, I am one day closer to Heaven. Whether those hours have brought me smiles or tears, I want to thank God that He has used them to make me wiser. I want to rejoice that I am one earth's-revolution closer to seeing the face of Jesus. And then I want to fall asleep, unafraid of the next day's hard work, heartache, sin, repentance and just... the daily grind.
The only way that this can be is through the unstoppable love of Christ. He alone enables the hard work. He infuses the heartache with hope. He forgives my sin and woos me to repentance. He makes the daily grind worth it.
On January 16, 1992, the day I turned 12, the beloved pastor of my childhood church, Reid Earnest, died. Nineteen years later, as I dropped my children off in their Sunday school classes, another dear friend went home to be with the Lord. His name was John Spiro. He and his wife Kathy have been wonderful friends to my family. I've had the great privilege of doing music and drama with them, absorbing their story, laughing with them, being cheered by them. John literally left his mark on our home, having painted much of its interior. And he certainly leaves his mark on our hearts. Everything in me aches for Kathy and the three amazing kids whom she and John adopted.
Every year that goes by now adds to the friends and acquaintances who await me in Heaven. If God lets me live long enough to gain the crown of a gray head and a righteous life, I fully expect to reach the point where I'll know more people in Heaven than I do on Earth. I don't expect the process that leads to that point to be fun or easy. But I know that Jesus will be there.
21 years--Jesus was there. 31 years--Jesus is here. 32 years--Jesus will be there. 42--He's there. 52, 62, 92--He'll still be there. And on the day that I die and find my heart's true desire, I hope all the dear saints who've gone before me gather to welcome me Home.
But if I get my wish, I won't even notice them for a long, long time. Because you know Who will be there. And I want His face to be the very first one I see.