Half-Full of Years

I have, and always will be a Daddy’s girl.  Today I wanted to share with you not only my Dad’s amazing talents as a writer, but His genuine heart that longs to serve Jesus with every breath, and every fiber of his being.  Here’s something he wrote on his birthday 2 years ago.  It inspired me, and I hope it inspires you!

Its September 6th, 2012.

I just got my new California driver’s license in the mail. Not a bad photo. I recognized me.  It’s good until 2017.

And … Tomorrow I turn 60.

No big deal? Big deal?

NO BIG DEAL. It’s just another day really. Just another step toward heaven. Just another day to love God. Just another day to serve God. Just another day to love my family and the people God has put in my life.  Just another day to navigate through trials and victories. Just another day to ice my shin, and stretch my back before my morning walk or bike ride. Just another day to breathe the salty air and take photos of anything that makes me stop and laugh or say “wow.” Just another day to shuffle and reshuffle the papers on my desk and wonder if it’s really that important to “get organized”, whatever that means … I have a sneaking suspicion that whatever that is, it’s over-rated. Just another day to drink a small, half-caff, 2% latte (or 2). Just another day to carry on an open conversation with God, listening for His voice speaking back to my heart.  Just another day to pick up a guitar, ukulele, irish whistle or sit down at a piano and make up a melody or play with a lyric. It’s just another day really.

BIG DEAL.  I guess I finally have to realize that I’ve reached mid-life. Seriously, I don’t think I will live to be 120. However, compared to some of my Bible heroes, like Job who lived to be 140, Joshua (110), Abraham (175) and Moses, an even 120 … then I guess I AM right at midlife.  It says of them “they were old and full of years.”  By their measure I’m only Half-full of years. So maybe it is a big day. Maybe every day is a big day.  Maybe I need to start seeing that now. No day is a small day. Every day is a gift. These days are a bit more filled with doctors visits, even if it’s just for “routine check ups” for a guy of a certain age. But the point of each day is still to discover the big moments; those moments that will maybe change my life or the life of someone I bump into.

Last year I had some moments when I wondered if this day would come. If I would in fact see 60. A doctor or two looked at test results and had me worried about “my numbers” and whether or not the cause of those numbers would rob me of another full year. Those numbers did literally rob me of my breath a few times.  One afternoon in August of 2011 I had to purposely suck in oxygen, fight back tears, grit my teeth and refuse to let fear become a storm surge that threatened to break through the levee of my faith in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God for my life.  

In that embattled August, God shouted Psalm 103:5 to my frightened and shaken heart. “He satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.”  I discovered that I had, for some reason, begun to feel my age. I was 58 for another month, and although I had always seen myself as a 20-something, I began to give into the reality of what I saw in mirrors.  Definitely NOT a 20-something.  Psalm 103:5, quickened to my soul by the Hoy Spirit, changed that.  I jumped back 25 or so years, with a renewed vitality and desire to not “act my age.”

I have a couple good friends who are a bit ahead of me on this race. Duffy & Dave.  They are both like father figures to me. Duffy has been a cheerleader for me for 30 plus years. Wind on my sales. Every time we grab a cup of coffee, I come away more than caffeinated. I come away “faith-inated,” with greater faith to trust God for BIG stuff. 

And then there’s my friend Dave.  He amazes me.  He’s 82 but refuses to look or act his age. Walks between 6-10 miles every day. Cranks out 500 “fingertip pushups” everyday.  Eats a huge plate of raw kale each morning. Dave has strong opinions (political and otherwise) but he still smiles a lot. Loves people.  He also encourages me every time he sees me. He’s like a dad’s voice to my heart.  He’s a role model for me when it comes to health, though I have no intention of pounding those quantities of uncooked kale. But I am determined to push through the set backs of shin splints, back pain, various aches and issues and make my body do what I need it to do each day.  I want to give my kids and grand kids a good role model. I want them to see what  ”renewed youth” looks like.

So, today is a really big deal. I am really thankful. I am really blessed. I face challenges. I face God. I stand in a circle of wonderful people. I am more blessed than I deserve. I’ve lived way longer than I though I would when I was a kid.

Today is a big day. A big deal. I have a wife named Joy who loves me. A lovely lady who deserves an increased measure of love from me. A few years back, Jesus told me He loved her, and then spoke these words to my heart … “And I want YOU to show her how much I love her.”  I haven’t done a great job of that, but I’m still determined to gladly obey that invitation. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I’m still alive.  I also have Bible studies to prepare, sermons to deliver, maybe some books to write, and a bunch more songs.  I have family events to attend. Kids and grandkids to applaud. I have a growing and wonderful tribe… Thank you Joy, Bethany, Shannon, Jeremy, Starlin, Geoff, Jessie, Joanna, Cooper, Emi, Mia, Abbi, Taylor, Jack, Micah, Noah for making me a rich man. And I pastor an amazing church. I just can’t believe I still get to do this.

So, yes! Today is a big deal. I get to follow Jesus today. A day further on carrying more stories of God’s greatness. A day closer to heaven. A day to reflect His grace, which still amazes me. A day filled with unique opportunities. I hope I recognize them. I hope I seize them. I hope I can decrease so Jesus can increase as I take my 60 year old body and my 25 year old soul into a the second half of my life.

And to start my mid-life … Here’s God’s word to my body, soul & spirit: 

Zechariah 9:12 … “Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.”  Hmm… Double. I love the sound of that. Maybe I will make it to 120 after all. My license says I’m good until at least 2017, so … Pass that kale, Dave.

And thank you Jesus. Let’s get on with The 2nd half.

Grace and peace

Bill (the kid)