My sister gave me a wondrous present for my 50th birthday.
Today, seven months after she made me cry with her thoughtfulness and nod toward a dream
which had long been hovering, I found the courage to use it. In doing so, I unwrapped the deeper gift of this personalized, leather-bound journal. It inspired the words I am about to share.
**Note: I never intended for other eyes to see this, but I could not help but embrace what I had written. May you, dear reader, hear any truth meant for your own heart.
"This journal is a lot like my life. It's so beautiful I don't want to mess it up. So, I have sat and
stared at it, thinking, "One day- when I have the perfect words, I will be ready to write in it."
Fifty years old... I have faced endless possibilities, been granted faith big enough to move mountains and help shape generations. I have dreamed of fantastical realities that would "one day” be mine. That day would come when I could sit down long enough to craft the perfect plan. My plan would involve a chic wardrobe, an on-point hairstyle, and whitened teeth. Not a single crack of imperfection would show. "A weakened façade will not be accepted" is a thought I somehow came to believe, "I will wait until I'm perfect to show the world my beauty. I will dazzle with the best scripts and the wisest poetry, imparting insight deep enough to induce tears. I will go on stage and make them laugh until their sides hurt while I wow them with my ability to make characters come alive. Deep in my bones, I knew I had greatness within. Of course, the journey to enlightened truth advances at a different pace for everyone. For me, well, I've been alive 50 years, waiting for what the world deems as “perfect” to come about so I could get on with my life already. Waiting for something that does not exist, I was waiting for something that NEVER even mattered.
For perfection, is actually letting down walls and softening the exterior shell. It is opening my heart and speaking my dreams- getting them on paper, sharing them in song, covering the stage in relevance and a chance to transport an audience into the core of their joy and deeper understanding. However, one person's definition of perfection does not always reflect another’s. Jesus said, "Be ye perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect." This includes Giving, Creating, Loving, and Being Truth, Light, and Love. I am learning each of these can be done by sharing my particular gifts and talents. By doing so, I am breathing my unique beauty into the world. Why is this hitting me now, already into a good chunk of my life? Well, I have been given gifts to be shared in such a way, that their breadth, width, and depth might be expressed most fully after fifty years of growth. Lessons, which pressed down, refined, purified, and readied, could make an impact so strong as to cause a ripple effect throughout the world. Loud enough to draw the eyes of attention up, from whence it came, pointing to my heavenly Father.
His grace peeks through my “cracks,” yes, the very imperfections I have tried to smother. Through these cracks, a light shines forth. Brilliantly, the lantern’s glow is defined by the
placement of every break, fracture, and crevice individual to the lamp’s covering. My mind’s
eye pictures a Scentsy, where the light shines through the design of the shade. Likewise, His grace and light mysteriously shine through our broken pieces, revealing His masterful artistry. I have become more
intricate and interesting with each of life’s wounds broken open, drawing forth His healing touch. His grafting of my life with His healing made me far more pliant and useful. I am made strong by the parts He heals. He knitted titanium into brittle bones. Where once I was weak, He is now strong. There was much to heal, so I am exceedingly stronger.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)
I get it now, Lord. I am EVER SO GRATEFUL for this winding journey through mountains and valleys which brought me to today. Fifty years of design, perfect in its own timing. Eyes slowly opened by Your patient grace. I once was blind but now I see.
So, here I am WRITING in this beautiful, leather-bound journal- branded with my name. An
empty book made far more interesting by the USE of what was gifted. Each drop of ink, a speck of what I've learned and who I am becoming.
We grow at our own pace; yoked with the one we choose. I choose the One Who offers life. Different from the yoke holding two oxen, this yoke is easy and its burden light. He fills one side and welcomes me into the other. Not forced, but invited, to come alongside- not in front of, nor behind. For the plowing to be smooth, we must move forward-- together.
I’m excited to get my hands dirty in the soil of life. It is meant to be used, shared, to roll around in, to uncover, plant, grow- regardless of the method or date of harvest.
In the same way, I will break out the fancy dishes to celebrate life; my life which really has happened while I was busy making other plans. I will no longer stash antiques and works of art in the attic, growing dusty while I wait for that "finished" kitchen, or polished house. No more staging- just playing on the stage! I will embrace the “lived-in” look and feel of body, mind, and spirit. It is what it is. I am who I am.
This is what I have to offer.