18,262

I have been alive for 1/2 of a century today… exactly 18,262 days!

It took me a long time to do that math and then double check my numbers but I am willing to do that much work for the faithful readers of this blog post.

Okay… truthfully I just googled it but I am 50 now… my brain doesn’t do math anymore… or in reality it has never done math. Just ask my Dad! He tried so hard to make me understand math but my emotionally charged, imaginative, wordy right brain just never got it!

For many of my 18,000+ days, I have been a hot mess! Some of my mayhem is from being a sinner who makes bad choices and fails regularly. Self admittedly, I have moments of frustration, impatience, judgements, doubts, selfishness and so on… that sin issue sure can make my life messy.

My personality also contributes to my mess. I have voiced things I later regret; laughed at inappropriate things at inappropriate times; made assumptions before knowing facts; created problems that never existed… a lot of that comes from being a talkative, overthinking, excitable extrovert.

Another factor is that I have not walked for 9,669 days. That’s longer than the number of days I was able to walk. So needless to say, the wheelchair and paralysis is a very big aspect of my life. Add all of that together and it equals some chaotic, muddling moments!

Consequently, this has led me to the realization that the process of becoming a little less messy is all because of WHO I believe in and not what I do!

One of my favorite images of God is as a silver smith working on a piece of silver over a fire. The fire is necessary to bring out the beauty and the strength of the work. The artisan has to hold it over the heat, never taking His eyes off of His work. He watches it intently, knowing exactly what that silver needs to become pure and not damaged. He knows his work is only truly completed when He can see His own image reflected clearly in it.

I look at my life as God continually refining me. I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior 11,899 days ago. I didn’t know anything about living for Jesus at age 18. Who am I kidding? At age 50, I still have a lot to learn. But through many years of paralysis, 29 surgeries, three near death experiences, being life lined, and surviving other numerous trials that challenged me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, I believe that God has been molding me into a better person.

Some learned lessons…

I have learned to trust Him, thankful that His eyes never flicker away from me during the painful moments.

I have had to have faith when I question why I am in the fire, fully believing that the craftsman understands the process so I don’t need all of the answers.

I have discovered I have strength to withstand the fire and trials as long as my Father is right there holding me in His nail pierced hands.

I have seen that beauty can be made out of something ugly. Thankfully the artist can see beyond what only human eyes see. He chips away the impurities, knowing underneath there is a rare treasure.

I know I am not complete yet. None of us are. But I desire to be a reflection of Jesus. I long to love like Jesus. I long to serve like Jesus. I long to give like Jesus. As inadequate as I am at loving, serving, and giving, Jesus is teaching me and fashioning my character to be more like His.

One great gift of refinement is gaining empathy and compassion for others who are going through their own process of refinement.

Being in a wheelchair has given me countless opportunities to talk to others. Many people are struggling and need encouragement to deal with their “handicaps.” (We all have handicaps; mine is just visible.) It can be physical trials or depression or family issues or financial troubles or all of the above… but all of us can say we have times of difficulty. With the platform of my paralysis, I have had opportunities to talk to people about their trials (or fires). Experiencing my own moments of distress has allowed me to feel more compassionate towards others. God takes our challenges and turns them into opportunities. Opportunities to pray, love, give, help, comfort, listen, encourage, share… take your lessons and turn them into occasions to be there for someone else.

God turns beauty from ashes. Messes into messages. Tests into testimonies. Trials into triumphs. But you cannot keep that transformation to yourself.

SO….

Pray unceasingly. Love the unlovable. Give of yourself. Help with a need. Comfort the hurting. Listen to the lonely. Encourage the weary. Share your story.

Today on my big milestone, I want to just say that I am thankful that Jesus, the creator of the universe, holds me in His hands, never taking His eyes off of me while He creates something beautiful.

And now after all this deep reflecting, I am off for my free breakfast at Shady Maple… happy birthday to me!๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‰

————————————————————-

My P.S.’s…

Special thanks to my family & friends who made my birthday so wonderful! I am thankful for all of you who “walk” this journey with me!

Dad… I added numbers in this post just for you! Usually I never mix numbers and letters… that’s too much like Algebra for me! ๐Ÿ˜˜

My kiddos… missing Katie & Mandi, my fellow birthday girls!

My parents who rescued me from the wild dogs… a story for another day!

Some Steve look alikes!

Some of my special girls (Katie, Jenny, Kenzie, Camryn, Morgan, Danielle) The photo would be perfect with Donna, Becky, Zoey, Holly, Anna, Nova, Mandi & Ashley in it!

Just a few of many people I adore. Missing pics of special friends & family but count myself beyond blessed!

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