Friday, September 07, 2007

Milestone Meditations

Reflections on My Last Ten Years

This Monday is a significant anniversary of sorts for Aundrea and me, but since I’m going to do another “Monday Quotables” that day, I figured I’d write about Monday’s milestone today.

On September 10, 1997, Aundrea and I drove a 15-foot U-Haul loaded with everything we owned into the parking lot of the Berean Baptist Church in Livonia, Michigan. Hard to believe it was ten years ago. I know it's cliché, but it really does feel like yesterday.

When I stop and think about it though, I can see amazing changes since then. Our seven-person family was then two. Livonia gave way to Louisville, back to Livonia, and finally to Colorado. We’re replaced both our vehicles, our wardrobes, most of our furniture, and our skin cells several times over (if my high school biology serves me correctly).

It’s interesting for me to think back to those days. Ten years ago I had never…

  • been a parent,
  • heard of John Piper,
  • endured a church split,
  • led a wedding ceremony,
  • cared about Michigan football,
  • shared a meal with a missionary,
  • been baptized after my conversion(!),
  • experienced the death of a close friend,
  • counseled someone considering suicide, or
  • considered how the gospel affects my daily life.
I still don’t care about Michigan football, but a lot of other things have changed this past decade. But rather than belabor all of the changes, I’d like to suggest some effects that this kind of reflecting has on my soul. Looking back over these ten years makes me really want to…

Seize the day. If these ten years took only a blink to pass by, what does that say about my entire life?! I’d better stay focused on making it count. Looking back makes me more resolved than ever to spend each moment as wisely as possible. TV is out; family time is in. Gaming on my cell phone is out; reading is in. Mindless hobbies are out; dates with my wife are in.

Love my family. The changes of this last decade remind me that I’m not guaranteed anything. How foolish for me to obsess over stupid drivel and argue with my wife or get hacked off at my kids.

Regulate my spending. I wish I had given more money to kingdom work over the last 10 years. But instead, I’ve frittered away $25 here and $40 there, figuring that my little percentage-based giving was good enough. The regrettable result has been that I’ve turned down dozens of requests for help from short-term missionaries, needy folks in my own community, and those ubiquitous World Vision people.

Cherish the gospel. I think the single biggest change in me over the last ten years has been an awakening sense of the importance of living and applying the gospel every day. I’m grateful to God for that change, but it’s one that I feel is only just beginning. Looking back over these years makes me more thankful than ever for the cross of Christ, because I know that every bad thing was (or will be) overcome by the cross and every good thing was purchased for me by the cross:
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Rom 8:32
In the words of my hero, John Newton:
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that I was a part of all those memories! I am proud of the way you have grown in the past ten years. You have demonstrated Christ to me over and over again. I have seen God "show off" in your life, as He has poured out His grace on you even in the most difficult circumstances. I am excited about our future years together (especially the "more dates" part!) :)

Love you, Babe!

Ps 34:3

MadMup said...

Watching your progress - even from as far away as I've sometimes been - has been a challenge and an encouragement to me.

You're a good friend to have, and I thank you for your faithfulness to God.

kEllEy_G said...

I loved this post...great reminders of what's truly important.

Anonymous said...

Pop and I heard a speaker say, "A hyphen - how important is it?" And then he went on to say that the hyphen on a tombstone between the date of birth and the date of death represented the life lived between those two dates. So, how important is your hyphen? And how can you make it count for Christ?

Unknown said...

Great post! My fave part was loving your family -- that's really all you've been given to be responsible for, & in great words not my own, "If I screw up raising my kids? Nothing I achieve will matter much."

That says it better than anything I can think up!

Anonymous said...

Yo - good post, litte buddy. And thanks for the link - though I don't think it serves your purposes here. ;)