Thoughts on 41

lighted candles on cupcakes
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My thoughts after 41 years of living:

Wear sunscreen 

Eat less sugar and more vegetables

Listen more, talk less

Exercise

It takes 2 to make a thing go right

Don’t judge – there is a reason behind every behavior

Read a lot

Forgiveness is better than being right

Good friends are hard to find so choose wisely and hang on tight

Dance often to loud music

Save money and don’t spend more than you have

Marry someone who loves Jesus and is your friend 

Parenting is good and hard and beautiful and full of lessons

Marriage is good and hard and beautiful and full of lessons

Drink a little but not too much

You don’t always need something new

Say yes more

Listen to your teachers and tell them thank you

Serving others is better

Spend time with people that are very different from you

Soak up the moments right in front of you

The second half of your life is fuller

Jesus wants your whole heart. If you give it to him, it’s so good. 

Spend more time on your hobbies than your screen

Listen and learn by watching your elders 

Get a mentor

Get a counselor 

Communicate often with those in your circle

Write letters and mail them

Go to the beach

Go to the mountains 

Buy a boat

Buy a truck to pull it

Eat good food

Journal 

The Holy Spirit has things to tell you

Read your Bible everyday 

Take a trip with friends

Cook for sick and tired people 

Rest your mind and body

Love well

The Day I Lost my Sam

It’s funny how in losing something, you find something else. Like when you’re looking for your lost earring under the dresser and you find that lego piece your son needs or paperclips or cut toenails. Gross. Who finds cut toenails under their dresser? Definitely not me. Or maybe me.

Anyway, one afternoon at our house, we were all outside enjoying the weather, except Sam, my 5 year old. He was in a really grumpy mood that day and stayed inside. I was out reading and something  told me to go check on him. I went in the house and couldn’t find him anywhere. I looked in all his favorite hiding spots. He’s notorious for falling asleep under his bed. I looked in all the cabinets, the basement, no Sam. Screaming his name, no Sam. We looked outside, called neighbors, drove through the hood, no Sam.

I started to panic. Sam is such a fireball, I just knew he had marched outside, in his grumpy state, and took off across the street to the baseball field where he had been picked up by some pedophile who had taken him to Florida. Sam is really beautiful, with curly blonde hair, blue eyes, and a gorgeous smile. Of course a pedophile had taken him to Florida! How do I request an amber alert?

I went down this path of thinking because for some reason I have always assumed God would take Sam from me. I have always thought I loved him a little too much, held him a little too close, lingered a little too long. He was the baby, the last one. The last of everything and his birth took all of my everything, so I have kept him really close.

Growing up, a woman in my town accidentally backed over and killed her 5 year old with her minivan. This tragic event really rocked my small town and we always heard that the little girl was just an angel who came to visit. I’ve wondered that about Sam. He is this precious thing that I can’t quite explain. He’s full of passion, good and bad. He will make your heart feel like it’s going to explode with love one minute and then the next you want to hang him by his toes. Yes, I have threatened him with toe hanging.

So, I decided on this drive around the neighborhood that it was time for my angel to leave, that I had gotten too close and God might want to teach me a hard lesson. God doesn’t work like that by the way. I was just in panic mode and weird thoughts were in my momma brain.

As I’m driving, a neighbor who was on “Sam patrol” calls me. “They found Sam!” “What, Where?” Surely it was on the busy road across the street, or hiding in a strange neighbor’s backyard. “Under the blanket on the couch!” she says.

Huh? My sweet little treasure, underneath the blanket? Why didn’t I just lift up the blanket? I walked by it several times in my search. I ran in the house, and saw the crumpled blanket on the couch. I lifted it up and there was my Sam, curled in a ball, dead asleep. Sweaty blonde curls covered his forehead and his bunny was under his arm. I just sat there, relieved and a little nauseated. I kissed his salty cheek and took a really long look at his perfect eyelashes. My Sam, my treasure, was there all along. There on the couch the whole time I was yelling “Sam!” franctically right beside him. All the screaming and panic, and he was so close but I couldn’t find him.  He slept thru it all.

All twenty minutes of my panic. Did I mention it was only 20 minutes? It felt like years. I had gone down so many rabbit trails of death and despair in only 20 minutes. I had cried out to Jesus in the car and decided this was going to be a lesson for me, take my child and make me grow. Weird momma thoughts again.

This moment feels familiar to me. I think of other treasures hidden that I’ve found. Precious treasures that God has been revealing lately. Some have been hidden 20 years but to God it probably seems like 20 minutes. Isa. 45:3 says, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.”

I feel like I have been a treasure hunter lately. Lora Croft maybe? No, she was a tomb raider. I wonder if she found treasure on the way? I definitely wish I looked like her, man, her abs and biceps.

Anyway, I’ve been in this season of finding all these treasures. They have been there all along, but I was running around screaming, panicked, freaking out. Why couldn’t I just lift up the blanket? These treasures were there but were just covered up by the darkness. Darkness the enemy and my own flesh created. But God in his goodness has just lifted up the blanket for me. He’s good at that you know, lifting up blankets, uncovering treasure, removing darkness.

My freak outs looked a little like this: “What if no one sees me, what if no one cares about me, what if I screw up these kids and this marriage, what if I’m all alone, what if they hate me, what if I miss You?”

“The Great Freak Out” has been a bunch of what ifs. I’ll capitalize it and caption it because it deserves it. It has been a season, a long one, “The Great Freak Out.” Like The Great Depression but over my soul. Those “what ifs” have buried my treasure, increased my doubt and stolen my rest. Treasure has been there all along, I just had no idea, I was missing it. I still haven’t uncovered it all but I know Jesus put treasure in these jars of clay and wants to reveal it.

Did you know you are a treasure? Scripture tells us we are his masterpiece, the apple of his eye. We are someone worth fighting for, worth treasure hunting for. God gave up his own treasure, His son, Jesus, for us. What needs uncovering in your life? He’s good at lifting blankets, you know.