In just a few days, I turn thirty-two. A pretty random number. Nothing significant or earth-shattering. Yet as I thought about these last thirty-two years of life, I started thinking of certain pictures that have captured poignant moments in my life.
There are some moments in life that are distinct from others. Moments where you feel the deepest satisfaction and joy – where you feel like you’re experiencing a gift straight from God.
So many of these moments in my life were when I felt the happiest – but they also came at times when I felt awe, inspiration, deep contentment, and even sometimes sadness – like when parting from a friend, but feeling such love for her and the opportunity to spend time together.
Some of these moments were a culmination of long-held dreams, worked toward over many years, like graduating from college or directing my first CYT show.
Some of them, on the other hand, were unexpected – moments that were seized, like dancing on the beach at sunset or taking walks downtown on rainy fall days in a new hat.
Some could never have been planned, like snow magically beginning to fall that birthday weekend in Leavenworth – or gifts given by students that caught me completely off-guard and warmed me to the bottom of my heart.
Some were found in sharing in the joy of others – a nephew’s wide-eyed wonder at fireworks on the Fourth of July or dear friends and sisters getting married.
Some were discovered in other countries; some were relished in the quiet comforts of my own home.
Some were the result of utter exhaustion but simultaneous joy at sharing an experience with those I loved.
Some came about after depressed or low times when Christ restored my joy in ways I never could have done on my own.
There have been so many more than just these thirty-two moments when I experienced pure joy. But these are the lucky ones that got caught on camera – so that I can go back and be reminded of how grateful I am to have received them.
And not only that, but to remind myself to choose joy, no matter what the circumstances – to look out for these moments – planned and unexpected alike – that remind me of how much I’ve been given.
Thirty-two might be an insignificant age, but I can choose to find significance in all the ordinary moments that bring me joy – and that’s what I long to do in this next year of my life.
I deserve none of these gifts – but God is gracious to give them to me anyway. And may I always be thankful to Him for them.
This life is such a gift. Praise the Lord that He’s allowed me to experience so much joy these past thirty-two years. Here’s to so much more waiting in the upcoming year.