Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My 37th Birthday - A day of Reflection !!

37 Years ago today, God saw fit to bring me into this world and begin a journey with me that has seen the highest of mountain tops and the lowest of valley's.. I have managed to mess up more things than I ever thought possible growing up as a young boy, searching for identity and purpose in life..So today I wanted to reflect on my journey and how thru God's overflowing Grace in my life has allowed to me get here, right here where I am..

One thing is for sure in this life... I believe I have finally figured out after many years of pain and heartache, misdirection and wasted time...that my life is not my own and "if it is to be it is up to me" is the worse piece of advice or Mantra I could have ever subscribed to..I spent most of my adult life living under this principle and strive very hard trying to be the best I could be..being told "I" can make it happen..If I will just work hard and never give up..So while I was able to acquire possessions and money and all that money could afford me, I found myself spiraling out of control..losing my integrity, my waywardness and just being LOST..Mind you during all this time I was going to church...I was trying to be a good guy...doing right by those around me..UNTIL I slipped into darkness and found myself in the grasp of a mighty foe in Satan and he had deceived me into believing all this and ran my life right off the tracks..or as some would say from the south "ran this bus off in a dirt road." Satan had convinced me that "I" should have whatever I want.. "I" deserve the best..after all I worked hard for it..So slowly but ever so shrewdly I began to trade in all my thoughts of others and only think of myself..and did not really see the consequences of such decisions and beliefs till after the damage had been inflicted on those I cared about or claimed to love..There came a day in my life when I was all "I"cared about..I mean I would not blatantly say that but boy was it evident in my actions and decisions I was making..

I could have justified this by many tragic events in my childhood like so often many people do when live begins to derail..I was adopted at an early age, never have known my biological mother, lost my grandfather(father - man who raised me) at a very early age due to heart attack, had my house burn down with no insurance and was left with the clothes on my back with no where to live, moving from family member to family member for weeks until we could find somewhere to call home..Then my grandmother(my mom, the only mom I have ever known) had congestive heart failure and almost died while I was an early teen..then the unthinkable..a few years later..She had heart failure again and died in my arms on a Tuesday night...in June just before I was to go off to college that August..My life has been full of challenges and adversities and for whatever reason, God was slinging Grace everywhere, except I was unaware until now..looking back..I dont see these events as reason to live like I deserve anything..because I dont..What I deserve is eternal condemnation for my sin..for the wickedness of my heart...the "lostness" of my soul..

What I have now is Newness of Life in Christ..I am a new creation made in His image and no longer have to carry the baggage around of my past..Remember I said I was going to church..Well that was it..I was going like it was some to do list to check off in my week..I lived no differently from Sunday at 1pm to next Sunday an 8am..just played the role during that time at church and went right on back to my worldly proud life..NO MORE.. Christ suffered immensely for my life and died so I would not have to..He came an offered me a pardon and I have accepted this pardon and now live under His Lordship..surrendered to Him..About 3 years ago, God grabbed hold of me and squeezed...he crushed everything about the man I was and the man I had become so He could start over and remake me in His image..He absolutely brought me to my knees and stripped all my pride, all my possessions and all my worth...and in that day, He began something so wonderful in me that I cant hold it in..Some may read this and say, boy He is a religious nut or some Jesus freak..but you know what...I am..because I have experienced the hand of God in my life and it is no joke..This is not some experience that you have when you need God to bail you and you promise Him that if He bails you out you will never do such and such again..This was a radical life altering event for me..There are no words to accurately describe this..God was with me and rained down His mercy and grace and but for HIM and HIM alone, I would still be living in that "I", "me", "myself" mentality destroying all things around me including my precious family.. When you experience God in this way, there are no other paths to take..You must understand this..I was saved from myself and set Free in Christ..Each day since that event, I have grown to know my Lord in ways I never imagined. The more I know Him the more I love Him..The relationship is very personal and not contrived nor fake..It is genuine in every way and my life is "fullness of Joy" and "pleasures forevermore"...Is life still challenging and difficult..You betcha (as Sarah Palin would say).. Of course it is.. I still experience all the things any one else does because we all have to live in this temporary shell while we are here on earth...and this flesh is not favorable to God and tries very hard to defy God and rear its ugliness..so yes..Bills still come, accidents happen and mistakes are made...BUT..dont miss this..Hear me....I am anchored to the immutable(never changing) Rock, the omnipotent(all powerful), omniscience(all knowing) Lord of Lords..in whom I know trust with ALL things..not just parts of my life..but all of my life..He gets it all and in return He has promised to be there with and in His presence I have been promised fullness of Joy and pleasures forevermore (Pslams 16:11) and that is exactly what He has given me..Let me place a name with some of this..There is no greater Joy in my life, other than my relationship with Jesus, than my relationship with my Wife..God has blessed me with a wonderful marriage and a partner in life who is my very best friend..He has blessed me with a love for her that surpasses all understanding..and I adore her and cherish her and am grateful I am able to experience this life with her.... That is fullness of Joy..If you are struggling with your marriage..it doesnt have to be this way..TRUST ME..It was not this way 4 years ago but when you allow God to rule and reign in your marriage..HE is faithful to bless that union and will pour out His Love in ways you cant comprehend until you allow it to happen to yourself.. You must let go of trying to do it all yourself and focus on Christ and allow Him to move in your marriage..If there is any one thing I would want someone who is struggling with a marriage to know..it is this..It can be everything you ever dreamed it could be but only on God's terms, not your own..Remember Marriage is God's institution and He knows what is best for you because He brought you together..

Pleasures forevermore are three girls who I love with all my being..CJ, Jaydin and Lilygrace..There is no greater satisfaction, no more pleasurable feeling this world has to offer than the love of your kids as they express it..Hugs, kisses, letters, looks, winks, wishes..What an immensely deep feeling I derive from holding my girls, raising them, taking care of them, loving on them and being there for them..To have them out of the blue look your square in the eyes and say with utter genuineness " Daddy, I love you"...There are very few things that can equal such moments...God has blessed me with the stewardship of raising three girls and entrusted with me not one but three precious souls, whom have an eternal significance..not just a life here on earth but an eternal life..So when God brought them into this world, He basically said..Eddie, these are your responsibility..now go and live like you know me and show them the way, the way to everlasting life with me..Once that sinks in and the significance hits you, there is little time to react..I sense enormous responsibility as the spiritual leader of my home and realize my role as a father and the impact my life can and will have on them...but what a joy it is...

So my intentions where to lift my Lord up today as He has saw fit to get me here today..to be alive where I can still have an impact for Him in this world..All my praises go to Him, for He deserves all the Glory for who He is..Without Him and the grace He pours on my life, I would be lost and confused and causing collateral damage everywhere I went..But to God be the Glory forever and ever..I give thanks that my blind eyes have been opened and allowed to see..I give thanks that my deaf ears have been unplugged and allowed to hear...I give thanks my heart has been replaced with a new one and the old one has been destroyed..God is Faithful..God is Faithful..Dont take my word for it..See for yourself..because this is not unique to me...but is afforded to anyone who is willing to crucify the old self and believe in Christ and take up His cross daily and live for Him..This is real and life changing and will not return void..I am one of many millions of people who can attest to God's faithfulness..

My life verse: Psalms 40:1-4

"I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.

He has put a new song in my mouth - Praise to our God. Many will see it and fear and will trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust"

In reflection of my 37th Birthday..I say "Thank you Lord"
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