Okay, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, and I woke up grumpy.

I had a bunch of work to do, a baby who wanted my undivided attention (when I just wanted to work,) and a lap-top that chose to be persnickety.

Needless to say, I was not in a mood to be thankful for much. It was a crappy way to start the day, and I felt completely justified in my bad attitude.

Then I opened my Bible and, of course, the Lord knew what I needed to read:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJ)

I’ll be honest here…at first I balked, I didn’t want to be thankful, I wanted to grumble and complain. I mean, I deserved to have a little attitude right? I was tired, I have a lot on my plate, life was giving me trouble…

Then, out of the blue (or maybe not, lol) this thought hit me:

I’m 39 years old…where was I half my life ago?

I was 19.

My mother had just died, everything I owned was is three suitcases, and I was living in my pastor’s house making less then minimum wage. I was overweight, with a bare-minimum of social skills, no girlfriend, no money, barely graduated high-school, and not much in the way of a hopeful future either personally or professionally.

Ugh. You could have stamped “loser” on my forehead.

But I knew what I wanted. I knew what I hoped to have and what things I wanted to accomplish is my life, even though there was no reason to suspect that I would ever attain them.

My “dreams” at 19 boiled down to three things…

1. I wanted to be a husband.
2. I wanted to be a father.
3. I wanted to be a writer.

Nineteen more years passed…to find me sitting at my keyboard this morning.

Nineteen years in which God has shown unbelievable, unimaginable grace and mercy in my life, in which Jesus, friends, and family have “bailed me out” time and again, helping me when I shunned help, lifting me up when I deserved to fall, and loving me when I was, again and again, unlovable (I mean, really unlovable!)

Then this morning the Lord showed me 1 Thessalonians 5, and asked me, “What are you thankful for?”

You know what? I took a quick inventory…

1. I have a beautiful, intelligent, faithful wife who loves me beyond all reason. Far beyond what I have ever deserved. A woman who could have had anyone, but chose me.

2. I have an amazing daughter who is a certifiable miracle, and defines joy, who makes me smile and laugh a dozen times a day.

3. I have two published novels and more written work than many deserving authors with twice my education and talent, allowing me to spend my days doing what I love and being with my baby.

I realized, this morning, that God has given me everything I ever wanted.

EVERYTHING I ever hoped for.

He has overcome my own weaknesses and failures and blessed me with the very things that I longed for, and that seemed so unattainable twenty years ago.

I don’t mean to be maudlin or sappy in this post, I’m not looking for kudos or pats on the back. The things I’ve said about myself are not self-deprecating, that are the truth. I simply want to state the facts as they are.

How can I not rejoice, how can I not give prayers of gratitude without ceasing, how can I not be thankful?

I deserved nothing, and I’ve been given everything.

My pastor likes to say that “a man with experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.”

I believe that, this morning more than ever.

So, my dear friends, please take a minute, look back on your life “half-your-years” ago, and reflect on what God had given you.

If you want to post these things below, I’d love to hear them and say “amen.”

As my Vickie taught me to say, “God is good, all the time.”

Imagine what life would be like if I could remember this every morning…

Blessings,

-Perry

PS – Vickie, Rich & Deb, Dean, Doug…this post is about you..

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