“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26 (CSB)
It’s Valentine’s Day; we are on the back side of winter, birds are gathering near our feeder and singing their song of hope, hope that spring is near!
I was almost a Valentine; my birthday falls on Friday, two days beyond it.
I will be celebrating fifty-eight years of life. Thoughts of this milestone birthday have been on my heart since the day I turned fifty. At fifty, I felt as if I was on top of the world and I just could not see myself here, on the backside of fifty.
When you realize, you are barreling towards sixty; you begin to count the days, until that day. Seven-hundred thirty-two days and mere hours. Words, such as old, over the hill, not much time left, and senior discounts are daunting. And then there is, sixty is the new fifty, forty is the new thirty, and so it goes.
Thirty, twenty, ten, eight years ago, I was a different person. Wrinkles mattered, a number on a scale, measuring up against other women, feeling loved, accepted, and, of course, pretty shoes.
Today, those things do not mean as much, though some of them are still a struggle, I expect they always will be. Can you relate?
This morning, I looked into the mirror, choosing to see life in the crow’s feet around my eyes, the wrinkles on my forehead. Intentionally deciding to place my identity in Christ.
Can I tell you how much I wish I had done that long ago?
In Philippians 3:7, Paul penned these words to the saints in Christ Jesus located in Philippi:
“But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.” (CSB)
I placed my identity in everything else. I am confident, if I had not, the amount of self-induced heartache I suffered, may have been less. I was searching for gain, searching for affirmation, in the wrong places, wrong things, and with the wrong people.
Precious Daughters and Sisters, I love you, I love sharing life with you, and pouring into you. If I could impart one piece of wisdom to you, it would be this: Place your identity in Jesus. Let your gain come from a life well lived in relationship with God, deeply rooted in his Word. Plant and harvest your gain in the Kingdom, not yourself. Your self-worth in Him will grow beyond any measure you can ever imagine. And know, know beyond anything, you are never too far gone.
I’m not just pulling feel-good words out of thin air; I have lived this. My heart’s longing is for you to learn long before I ever did. The enemy loves to keep us mired in our regrets. He likes to convince us we are of no use, unseen, and unloved.
You are not.
How do I know this? Because I am the long-lost rebel, who turned away from a good, good Father. The Bible Study girl, who once packed up her Bible, and all things Bible Study. Wasting time, years lost to me.
I did not get a do-over. In returning, however, I was given a new heart, washed with God’s mercy and grace.
Today, I humbly stand before you, redeemed, restored, a daughter of The King.
“I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for my anger will have turned from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like the lily and take root like Lebanon. His new branches will spread, and his splendor will be like the olive tree, his fragrance, like the forest of Lebanon.”
Hosea 14:4-6 (CSB)
Gifts of Grace
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I’m blessed to serve you in this place, to share with you the Gifts of Grace as I journey through the wilderness. I picture you across the table, hands wrapped tightly around your cup, sharing life, and laughter, and tears. As I share with you, my daily struggles, I long to hear what yours may be. You can do that by commenting below or reaching out to me here.