As I think back on the past 31 years, I have come to realize that each day is truly a gift from the Lord. Not that I always see it that way, but I am trying to learn to be thankful for each and every day, for I do not hold them or number them and if by the mere fact I still have breath in my lungs, it was put there for a reason – not my own. And by reason of my own deduction I see that each day is less about me and more about Thee.
I have SO much to be grateful for that I could not even sleep last night. I just had to tell Him how much all these years have meant to me. I look at 31 and I’m not dismayed. I look at 31 and say, “Surely God has been in my midst and I am more than blessed!”
So many times our lives can be marked by the pain, hurt, scars and regrets. There are things in my life that have surely been painful, whether created by my own stubborn, foolish and wicked heart or there have been things in my life that I had no sort of control over. In a sense, they are the cards that I was dealt. I really used to get tripped-up by both scenarios, either loathing in my own regret and condemnation or sometimes wishing my life looked more like someone elses. But something has changed in all these years – a great shift of perspective both in mind and heart. This shift has changed not only the way I see but the way I think. The Word of God and the Word of Truth, Jesus, have become the standard of faith, assurance, hope and peace in this mind and heart, that it’s forever transformed. I pray the Spirit will continue to transform my lowly thoughts and raise them to their proper place – where Jesus is always exalted above feelings and His truth is the way in which I live.
I have seen – miraculously witnessed – how scripture is true: God works ALL things for the good. I am amazed how He alone does it! My life is not marked by the events of my life that were a reproach to me nor the situations that may have shaped me, but my life is marked by an Almighty, Loving and Faithful God who turns all things evil for His good. He loves to make beauty from our ashes and display His splendor through the cracked earthen-vessels we are. He alone rightfully deserves all the praise and glory, for He alone is the only one able to do such amazing things!
I look back over the last 31 years and I am so filled with awe, that I am deeply loved by a Father, Friend, Savior and Bridegroom who has always pursued my best interest. I am more than blessed!
I look back over the last 31 years and this amazing God has flipped all things for the good! Every hard place became an altar that I could build and meet with Him there. There were wrestlings like Jacob; cries like David; dungeons like Joseph; heartache and loss similar to Job’s; loss of mission like Samson; struggles and thorns like Paul; fears like Jonah; stubborn pride like Hezekiah; denial like Peter and the list could go on and on. But that has never phased the Lord. He did not ransom me from death based on a perfect record; He rescued me because I belong to Him. Truly all things that were once gain, I count as such loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus. Now, all I see is “FAITHFUL” written across every part of my life!
I am more than blessed!
In the times I did not understand why He allowed certain things to happen and I was overwhelmed with sorrow and pain, faithfully, He came down again and ministered to this heart with peace and grace. Not just once, but over and over and over until my heart and mind were transformed and I began to see things from His perspective.
When I look at my family and all that we have been through, I am so grateful that the Lord had determined before my parents were even born, the day and the hour He would come in and shake things up : ). He knew before we did that we all belonged to Him. I take such comfort in His perfect timing of all events to see to it that He became not just Savior, but Lord of our lives. I am more than blessed to be a daughter to Hector and Mary Lou Torres and have such a wonderful brother, Chris. I am so grateful to God for them and love them dearly.
I also look at my spiritual family that the Lord has given me and I am amazed. No matter where I may have traveled and lived, all throughout those places the Lord has brought such dear friends and church families at the proper moment. I think back to when I moved to Wyoming not knowing a soul, but He knew every step I would take, every place my new snow boots would land and He made sure I would be surrounded by the Body of Christ. And now fast forward 9, almost 10 years, and He hasn’t stopped. I live with an amazing family who loves the Lord with all their hearts and they love football AND the WNBA – God knew!!! I am 31 and I love the fact that this family still checks in on me to see when I’m coming home! I am blessed by their care for me…
And my friends…wow. I think about each person that God has used – every friend that has sown into my spirit and heart, and by God’s grace, I have done some sowing into them too. Truly, I am more than blessed. I have friends in Georgia and here in Chicago and around the world that I have been so blessed by. I do not know where I would be without these mighty men and women who have poured into me, corrected me and prayed over me. Again I will say, I am more than blessed.
And the mentors that God sovereignly used to shape this life, I am so incredibly grateful. They have sharpened me, challenged me deeply and their lives build within me a fighting-spirit to continue to lay-hold of the riches of the Kingdom, because there is still SOOOOO much to learn and receive! I am more than blessed for these men and women that I esteem in the faith. God is too good to me.
And then… I pause to look at Him… I scarcely can without crying tears of joy and enjoyment. Even greater than all these things or people, my past, present or future; the greatest reward and treasure of this longing heart has always been filled by knowing You more. I am thankful that every hard path truly led me to You, a closer relationship and a greater understanding of who You really are and not who I thought You to be. You’re always better than what I imagined and I experience more than what I have read about You! I am grateful that I have seen You answer some incredible and impossible prayers, that only an almighty and omnipotent God could stake claim for. I am grateful that You received the glory due to Your name in response to Your answering – at least that’s always my prayer : ). And I am even thankful for the times You did not answer my prayers. As a good and patient Father, You did not give to me what I thought was best at the time. You had such great purposes – beyond all searching out – and it created even more opportunities for me to understand Your heart towards me and for Your children. I’ve come to trust You and that far outweighs getting an answer. In the end I did receive an answer and an even greater reward: YOU. I would not want it any other way. I am more than blessed.
To anyone who may doubt God’s love and for those who are unsure that Jesus is who He says He is, I would say this, “Have you really ever met a life transformed by the love of Jesus because that would cast off any shadow of doubt of how great His love truly is.” I have the privilege of knowing so many stories that you would never be able to question the reality of the resurrection and life through Jesus today. I too am a beautiful work of His steadfast love, grace and mercy. I am more than blessed!
I’m not sure what is ahead. By God’s grace there will be another 31 years but this I know to be true: life is not always measured by what we do for the Lord but how well we love Him, know Him and glorify Him. Then the natural out-pouring will be to serve Him. But oh, how easily we forfeit the depth and riches of knowing Him by thinking our doing is greater than our time at His feet! I’m grateful that when my eyes were fixed on the wrong things, He graciously fixed me!
All I know is that I want to spend the rest of my days knowing Him more, whether 31 years, 50 or even if tomorrow is my last, because knowing Jesus is the source of all blessing in this life ’till we see Him face to face.
Thank You for these 31 years of incredible blessing! I love You so much~