Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mile marker 45

It seems like just yesterday that I was depressed and crying as my 40th birthday approached. It seemed like the end of the world to me, and I was sure life was over at 40. And yes, I did cry. Who says women have the corner on such things anyway? If they can wear our pants and do our jobs, then we can cry their tears. So there.

  Now it is 5 years later, and I am approaching 45. That number is a bit depressing also, though not quite as bad as 40 was. I am getting used to the 40's, sad but true.

  Turning a year older is a natural time to be introspective, and I have been indulging in some introspection over the last few weeks as May 26 looms closer.

   I used to hear people say that time goes faster the older you get, and silently scoff at the idea, but I am there. I am way past  there. It seems like just yesterday that I was graduating from high school, and this month marks the 27th year since that happened.

   When I am on a trip, I can't wait to get there. As I travel interstate highways and turnpikes, I like to watch the mile markers as they get higher. The mile marker may read in the 30's when I get on, and I know that mile marker 388 is where I'll exit and be close to my destination, so the higher the mile markers go, the happier I am to be approaching my destination.

  Not so with life. I find myself wishing I could back up several miles/years, like one could back up a car on an interstate to a much lower number. But that is impossible to do in life. One can try to look younger, act younger, but the age number will continue to climb until we breathe our last, no matter what we do.

  I have no idea how many more mile markers I will see on this journey of life. It could be another 45, 25 more, 10 more, or maybe I'll never see 46. Only God knows. I do hope I spend how many ever there are wisely.

  As I look back at the last 45 years, I have many regrets.

I regret it took me 45 years to believe God loves me, and comprehend grace. Well, as much as we can comprehend it here on earth

I regret I didn't love more and judge less

I regret I have been held captive by fears that stopped me from living better and more free, from having better jobs, of making more friends

I regret complaining so much and not being more thankful

I regret never being able to marry and have kids of my own 

I regret I hid my struggles for so many years, fearing the reactions of friends and family

I regret not giving God all at a younger age instead of fighting Him and going my own way so much

   The regrets file is a pretty thick file, and has a lot that is sealed from public eye.

   But as many regrets as I have, there are things I don't regret, and are thankful for.

I don't regret hours and money spent on my nieces and nephews

I don't regret times spent with family on vacations, holidays, and just normal every day activities

I don't regret hours spent in church

I don't regret my love of reading and the countless books I have read

I don't regret voting conservative all of my voting years

I don't regret being raised in a Christian home and Christian school

I don't regret the hours spent walking in nature listening to good Christian music

I don't regret making friends

  Life has not gone the way I wanted it to. I don't have as good of a job as I would like, as nice of a car as I'd like to have. I feel I have wasted too much of my life and not given God enough of it. I am still too bound to worry and fear, and not given enough to faith and hope.

 The last 5 mile markers stand to attest a rough 5 years. Depression, joblessness, hopelessness, shame, fear, worry..... the list seems endless.

 Mile markers are pretty common on interstate highways and turnpikes, but half mile markers aren't so common, yet they can be as important. At least in life. Midway between mile marker 44 and 45 on this highway of life, I finally got to a point I didn't think I'd ever get to: I realized and believed God loved me. Insignificant, unskilled, poor self esteem me. And not because of anything I had ever done or could ever do. He loves me. Period. And nothing I could ever do could change that.

  And that changes everything. Life hasn't suddenly become everything I want and hope it to be. But is is much easier to serve a God I believe loves me than to serve one I didn't believe loved me..... and I tried. Oh did I try.

  I'm still living in my parent's basement, saving money, hoping to somehow afford my own place at some point and get my "stuff" out of storage. I still have a 2001 car that is getting rusted and has way too many miles on it. I still can't grow hair on my head or get my weight to where I want it to be. I still feel lonely a lot, still worry and fear, and struggle with feelings of failure.

  But God loves me, and His grace covers everything I have ever done. I don't have to earn His love, or do something extra to be totally forgiven. And that alone will make the other mile markers in life easier to get past. If I can just slow the car down.

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