Monthly Archives: October 2013

month of gratitude 2.0

Last year, I made a feeble attempt at posting one thing I was grateful/thankful for each day during the month of November and expounding on it. I can honestly say I failed miserably at that… a) I didn’t have the time b) I attempted to write a 1500-word post for each well and well, considering the time it takes, that’s just not practical and c) God had other plans in mind.

To kick things off, please see the post on gratitude I published back in April. Most of that still applies: here.

This year, I’m taking a different approach. While I will be posting something I’m thankful for each day, I won’t be elaborating on each one…unless God lays it on my heart to do so.

The goal: to cultivate a grateful heart.

That being said, here goes.

What are you thankful for?

how Christians can interact with Halloween

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. John 17.16

Halloween

Images of trick-or-treaters dressed to the nines in Dorothy, princess, superhero and witch costumes, candy and carved pumpkins come to my mind.

And yet, I’m sure Christians around the world have heard it before:

“Don’t celebrate Halloween. It’s the Devil’s holiday…”

That thought never entered my mind until I got to college.

Just the other day, a friend said the same thing.

What happened? I mean, sure, there’s a lot of worldly things tied to the holiday itself, but where did the community aspect of it go? Is it even okay for us to have fun?

When I was a kid, my parents never taught me how to honor the “evil” side of Halloween. Sure, I knew about it, but we didn’t celebrate that. We celebrated community and shared relationships with one another. I have many good memories tied to this particular yearly event (outside of Christmas and Thanksgiving).

As a child, I remember dressing up as princesses, Raggedy Anne, Ariel (Disney’s Little Mermaid) and Belle (Beauty and the Beast) each year and going trick-or-treating in the small town where my family attended church.  It was harmless fun, plus, I got tons of candy, which went bad because I got sick of it after a while and probably led to all those pesky cavities…not to mention the inches on my adolescent waistline. But I digress…

A few years passed and somewhat similar costumes made their way back into my fall wardrobe, worn once a year, in the forms of witches, vampires and road kill during my high school and college years. I attended high school parties, held at school…I wasn’t the partying type although those occurred to, I’m sure, and festivities held at what will always be my first official home church when I moved to Brookings, SD. Trunk-or-Treat was the huge thing then…seemed fun, even though I never went.

And even now, as an adult, I do enjoy dressing up, for the fun of it, but opted not to today. I donned a simple, black turtleneck sweater and jeans this morning and chose one of the two pairs of “Halloween” earrings I own and dressed down. There’s still the office Halloween potluck, put on by the Team Member Engagement Committee, of which I’m very active in and a party with my church crew tomorrow evening…perhaps then I’ll don my Merida costume in every effort to live the life of a Scottish princess for a few hours.

One hot topic that is continuously brought to the table: Christians shouldn’t have anything to do with Halloween. I’ve taken part in conversations with friends who share what they’re doing instead, but, in thinking about my past experience with the day and the festivities our culture has around it, I discovered one common thread: relationships.

When I was a child, we went door to door. Even the cranky, old man living in the darkest house on the corner joined the world in handing out candy. We related.

In high school, college and today, those parties and festivities were held to connect with people.

Yes, God commands in his Word that we should be in the world, and not of it, but he doesn’t demand us to hide from it (John 15.19, 17.16, Romans 12.2).

I’m called to be involved.

To be interested in…

To reach out…

To relate…

To get my hands and feet dirty…

I stumbled on an article conveying just that thought this morning at Relevant Magazine, found here. David Valentine writes about his home state of Texas, how they observe Halloween and how other churches across the country view the holiday in general. He also makes a valid point that Christmas has its origins in pagan religions and how Christians don’t seem to shy away from that holiday.

He points out that while steering clear of the things of this world, we shouldn’t lock ourselves away and how we should instead get our hands dirty:

“In our increasingly fast paced society, we see less and less of our neighbors. Whether you live in a high-rise in the city or your closest neighbor is a mile down the dirt road on the left, we are more disengaged with society than ever before…it becomes increasingly difficult to take time to engage with our neighbors.

Halloween is a once-a-year opportunity where everyone is out and about. Children with parents in tow are running door to door (or trunk to trunk) for the next bit of free candy. The cranky old man turns his porch light on and gives out candy by the handful. Not to mention, someone in the neighborhood, there is a party happening…”

Valentine poses this question: What if the Church stopped being afraid of the world on Halloween and began to engage it?

What if?

What would that look like?

What if we allowed God to take something meant for evil iand spin it around for good?

What if?

We need to step up and redefine the way we interact with Halloween and we need to find a way to include the gospel in doing so. Could that mean handing out candy or other goodies, including healthy options? Sure.

We need to engage with our neighborhoods and surrounding community.

Our children get dressed up (because it’s fun) and go door to door asking for candy.

We choose to sit on our front lawns and talk with our neighbors.

We revamp the way we see Halloween and not view it as just another day, but rather one day a year when all of our neighbors are out in the streets. We have a unique opportunity to interact with everyone.

Here’s an idea: throw a Halloween block party every year for the kids in your community. People will show up to play games, get candy and hear the Gospel…just a thought.

Valentine closes with this thought and I couldn’t agree more:

“If you feel convicted that you shouldn’t celebrate Halloween, you certainly don’t have to. But perhaps you should reconsider how you can use the opportunities the holiday provides to reach other. If nothing else,  Halloween is a day designed by our culture to engage with our neighbors. Perhaps instead of condemning the “evils” of Halloween, or even simply turning off the front porch light on October 31, you should consider giving our candy and chatting with your neighbors or inviting everyone to a party…engage with your community. Who knows, you may have the joy of watching the resurrected Jesus bring those who are dead to life.”

And what greater joy is there than that?

Recommended further reading here.

No Tricks — Just Treats — Offer ends at midnight!

As most of you know, I’m now an independent PartyLite consultant…and, I wanted to share this amazing deal with you! Today only, no tricks, all tealights are $5.00 (normally $10.00). Hurry! This offer ends at midnight – today only!

Go to www.partylite.biz/anitabrands if you’re interested. These will make great Christmas gifts!

BIZ-US-Slideshow1_Halloween

further inspiration: a winter bucket list

There is something pristine and pure about a winter landscape. It’s quiet. Peaceful. Serene.

I found myself thinking about what I’d like to this upcoming season (November 1st is this Friday and that is usually when my Christmas music, movie and book collection sees the light of day once again) and, well, here’s a glimpse into the typical holiday and winter things I tend to enjoy…along with a few I’ve either never done or haven’t since my childhood. Here’s to feeling like a giddy kid again:

  • Go sledding
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Build a snowman
  • Decorate cookies
  • Celebrate the birth of Jesus
  • Read through the Christmas story in all four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  • Give someone a secret gift
  • Decorate the tree
  • Drink/Make loaded hot cocoa
  • Drink/Make some  “clean” eggnog
  • Look at Christmas lights
  • Watch Christmas movies…there’s a whole list – including the new ones aired on the Hallmark Channel
  • Watch It’s a Wonderful Life simply because I haven’t seen it
  • Watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas
  • Watch the classics from my childhood
  • Play in the snow – make snow angels – haven’t done that since I was a kid
  • Make and deliver treats to neighbors and friends
  • Go caroling
  • Sit by a fire and read a book
  • Read through my holiday collection or pick up a few new ones from the library
  • Start a new book series…any suggestions?
  • Volunteer
  • Donate food
  • Attend a winter festival…St. Paul anyone?
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Watch a play or a musical
  • Attend a Christmas concert
  • Go ice skating
  • Trim the tree
  • Decorate for winter
  • Host a winter dinner
  • Learn to knit/crochet
  • Take too many photos
  • Send out Christmas cards
  • Maybe learn to ski…cross country
  • Go on a horse drawn carriage ride
  • Listen to Christmas music…starting November 1
  • Bundle up and go on a city walk
  • Take a walk while it’s snowing

What’s on your list?

Book Review: This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

Rick McKinley is the author of Jesus in the Margins and is the founding pastor of Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon. Rick speaks around the country on the topics of mission, leadership, and spiritual formation. Rick’s latest book; This Beautiful Mess is a modern approach to the theology of the Kingdom of God.
 
Originally this book was released in 2006, but this release has a newer hipper cover, an updated preface, three new chapters, and a small group conversation guide which would be great for churches.
 
This book reminds me of a contemporary version of “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence, or even a companion book to Brian Mclaren’s “The Secret Message of Jesus.” In his book, McKinley shatters the misconceptions around how we interpret the phrase “the kingdom of God” in scripture and gives his readers real and practical ways of living the Kingdm out.
 
McKinley’s voice is friendly and personable and much of his stories come straight from his working with his Portland church. This is certainly one of those books that could be read again and again.
 
Thank you to Multnomah Books for this review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review
 

(more than a) Book Review: “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller

I suppose I should start by stating that I’m not married nor have I ever been married, so I’m probably  the least apt to talk on the subject. I may not be an expert, but I do pay attention to my world, details and all, and well, based on all of that, I can definitely form my own opinion and apply truth to my own life when it comes to this topic…albeit a touchy one at times.

Why this book? Why read it if it doesn’t pertain to me? Truth is, it does. Tim Keller even says so in his introduction: “[The primary goal of this book] is to give both married and unmarried people a vision for what marriage is according to the Bible…and to help [singles] to stop destructively over-desiring marriage or dismissing it all together…a Bible-based marriage book will help each reader have a better idea of who he or she should consider as a prospective mate.”

I may not be married…

…and there’s a chance that I won’t be in this lifetime.

And that’s okay.

I am party of the Church, the Bride of Christ.

Put like that, I am a bride.

And this book?

It has forever changed the view I’ve had on marriage my entire life, as well as hitting home views I already knew, but didn’t fully understand – and all of this is more so due to the culture I’ve grown up in, the books I once chose to read, and (thank you to) Hollywood, through the shows and movies I chose to watch. Even Disney…no one talks about what happens after or how the damsel lived before meeting her prince. Marriage isn’t at all what I once believed.

Eight chapters of “heavy” information…

Chapter 1 opens the discussion of Paul’s insight on marriage and how it differs immensely from the marriage views of today’s culture.  Tim Keller constantly makes a points out the profound mystery marriage is and how it changes us and how marriage was intended to reflect the gospel and the relationship with the triune God. Tim also makes a statement on how “compatibility” doesn’t exist and after reading it, I would tend to agree.

Chapter 2 opens the door to how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of all, not just those who are married and discusses how each individual is responsible for their own actions; their own self-centeredness and how I need to take personal responsibility for myself.  I can’t change the other person. The only person I can control is me.

Chapter 3 talks about love and how it is not strictly limited to romantic love (which is more of a feeling that will fade over time). Love is also an action and a choice.

Chapter 4 proves the following statement: Marriage is for helping two individuals become who God created them to be, which sets the reader up for Chapter 5, where Tim elaborates on three basic skill sets that with enable you to help your spouse become the person God created them to be:  truth, love and grace.

Chapter 6 teaches the reader what it means to embrace the other gender as God created them to be. Rather than disregarding a person because their differences don’t match your list of necessary qualities or because they are just too different doesn’t mean they should be shoved aside and not even considered. Notice the differences, acknowledge them, embrace them and thank God for diversity….it’s what makes them who they are and God intended those differences to compliment (not complete) those he made in his Image.

Chapter 7 deals with living as a single in this beautiful, broken world. Tim and his wife, Kathy, discuss the history of dating and how different cultures view marriage, delving into how some Christian circles paint the picture that a person is somehow not complete if they don’t have a spouse or a family. Singles are not incomplete, nor are they missing anything. We can learn from our brothers and sisters through the Church. And because this chapter really hit it home for me, I’d like to share the following lies our culture tells us as well as a few quotes from the chapter:

  • Lie :: Truth
  • “As soon as you’re satisfied with God alone, he’ll bring someone special into your life” :: God’s blessings are never earned by the level of our commitment.
  • “You’re too picky” :: God is not frustrated by your fickle whims and does not need broader parameters win which to work.
  • “As a single, you can commit yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord’s work” :: while that statement may be partly true, God doesn’t not require emotional martyrs to do his work…marriage plays a huge role in his work too.
  • “Before you can marry someone wonderful, the Lord has to make you someone wonderful” ::  God doesn’t grant marriage as a second blessing to the satisfactory sanctified.

He doesn’t work that way. The gospel doesn’t work that way. I, along with many of you, have heard those statements directed at me many times and well…I’m not single because I’m too picky. I’m not single because of my imperfection. I’m single because he is good:

“I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because he is so abundantly good to me; because this is his best for me.” – Paige Benton Brown

How true is that!

And finally, Chapter 8 deals with the topic of sex and why it is best saved for marriage…not basing it on a “rule” the Christian religion follows, but basing it on God’s ultimate desire for his children.

Overall, a great book and while the writing is easy to read, the context is heavy…

…a book I wouldn’t recommend breezing through. Take your time. Read one chapter a week…or per month. However long it takes for this applied to truth to sink in. Pair it with Epheisans 5. Camp in it. The Meaning of Marriage is a definite must read and should be added to your own personal collection, whether you’re married or not. Get your own copy as I won’t be lending mine out any time soon…it’s that good.

my favorite mug

I recently stumbled on a beautiful metaphor that I, a regular coffee and cocoa drinker, could really relate to. Perhaps you can too:

“Maybe you have a favorite old mug. Into it you pour your morning coffee, your afternoon tea, or your bedtime cocoa. It might be stained, dulled by many washings, chipped, or cracked – but it still warms your hand as you enjoy its contents day by day.

That mug is like you. Outwardly we show the chips and cracks of everyday wear and tear, but inwardly we are renewed daily with the outpouring of the Spirit. Just before this promise of renewal, the apostle Paul described us as “jars of clay” (2 Corinthians 4.7), perhaps thinking about Adam being fashioned from the dust of the earth. We are indeed earthen vessels [much like that favorite mug], but don’t focus on the fading exterior. Feel the warmth of what God is pouring into you.”

What is he pouring into your life? There’s so much going on in my own that I don’t know where to start. I will share one day soon.

Shared Post: Finding God In Suffering | Tim Keller

Tim Keller is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and when part of his most recent work, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering, was posted on Relevant Magazine’s website (here), I couldn’t help but share. Enjoy!

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Finding God in Suffering: Tim Keller on how to accept the invitation God gives to people in pain.

Most books and resources for sufferers today no longer talk about enduring affliction but instead use a vocabulary drawn from business and psychology to enable people to manage, reduce and cope with stress, strain or trauma.

Sufferers are counseled to avoid negative thoughts; to buffer themselves with time off, exercise, and supportive relationships; to problem solve; and to “learn to accept things we can’t change.”

But all the focus is on controlling your immediate emotional responses and environment. For centuries, however, Christianity has gone both higher and deeper in order to furnish believers with the resources to face tribulation.

One of the main metaphors the Bible gives us for facing affliction is walking—walking through something difficult, perilous and potentially fatal.

The walking metaphor points to the idea of progress. Many ancients saw adversity as merely something to withstand and endure without flinching, or even feeling, until it goes away. Modern Western people see suffering as something like adverse weather, something you avoid or insulate yourself from until it passes by.

We are to meet and move through suffering without shock and surprise, without denial of our sorrow and weakness.

The unusual balance of the Christian faith is seen in the metaphor of walking—through darkness, swirling waters or fire. We are not to lose our footing and just let the suffering have its way with us. But we are also not to think we can somehow avoid it or be completely impervious to it either. We are to meet and move through suffering without shock and surprise, without denial of our sorrow and weakness, without resentment or paralyzing fear, yet also without acquiescence or capitulation, without surrender or despair.

In many passages in the Bible, affliction is likened to fire (Psalm 66:10; Proverbs 17:3, 27:21; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:3). It is not surprising, then, that adversity and sorrow in general came to be characterized as being plunged into the fire (Job 18:14–16; Psalm 66:12).

Peter extends the metaphor and depicts suffering not just as fire but as a forge or furnace, which can obliterate or improve, depending on the object thrust into the fire and the manner in which it is treated.

If you believe in Jesus and you rest in Him, then suffering will relate to your character like fire relates to gold. Do you want to know who you are—your strengths and weaknesses? Do you want to be a compassionate person who skillfully helps people who are hurting? Do you want to have such a profound trust in God that you are fortified against the disappointments of life? Do you want simply to be wise about how life goes?

Those are four crucial things to have—but none of them are readily achievable without suffering. There is no way to know who you really are until you are tested. There is no way to really empathize and sympathize with other suffering people unless you have suffered yourself. There is no way to really learn how to trust in God until you are drowning.

But God is with us in the fire. He knows what it’s like to live through the miseries of this world—He understands. He is near, available to be known and depended upon within the hardship. He walks with us, but the real question is—will we walk with Him? If we have created a false God-of-my-program, then when life falls apart we will simply assume He has abandoned us and we won’t seek Him.

This is important to consider, because we all know that suffering does not only refine, it can also harden and consume. Plenty of people have been broken by suffering, terribly broken. So what do you have to do in order to grow instead of being destroyed by your suffering? The answer is that you must walk with God. And what is that?

Walking is something nondramatic, rhythmic—it consists of steady, repeated actions you can keep up in a sustained way for a long time.

There are many people who think of spiritual growth as something like high diving. They say, “I am going to give my life to the Lord! I am going to change all these terrible habits, and I am really going to transform! Give me another six months and I am going to be a new man or new woman!”

That is not what a walk is. A walk is day in and day out praying; day in and day out Bible and Psalms reading; day in and day out obeying, talking to Christian friends and going to corporate worship, committing yourself to and fully participating in the life of a church. It is rhythmic, on and on and on. To walk with God is a metaphor that symbolizes slow and steady progress.

So walking with God through suffering means that, in general, you will not experience some kind of instant deliverance from your questions, your sorrow, your fears. There can be times in which you receive a surprising, inexplicable “peace that passes understanding.” There will be days in which some new insight comes to you like a ray of light in a dark room. There will certainly be progress—that is part of the metaphor of walking—but in general it will be slow and steady progress that comes only if you stick to the regular, daily activities of the walking itself.

Throughout the Bible, we see many different actions and ways that sufferers face their suffering. We are called to walk, to grieve and weep, to trust and pray, to think, thank, and love and to hope.

Walking with God through suffering means we must treat God as God and as there. Of course that means to speak to Him, to pour out your heart to Him in prayer. It means to trust Him. But preeminently, it means to see with the eyes of your heart how Jesus plunged into the fire for you when He went to the cross. This is what you need to know so you will trust Him, stick with Him and thus turn into purer gold in the heat.

If you remember … Jesus was thrown into the ultimate furnace for you, you can begin to sense Him in your smaller furnaces with you.

If you remember with grateful amazement that Jesus was thrown into the ultimate furnace for you, you can begin to sense Him in your smaller furnaces with you.

This means remembering the Gospel. He was thrown into the ultimate fire, the fire we deserve. And that is how we are saved: If we believe in Him, then none of that wrath comes to us.

What if, however, you believe that God saves only those who live a very good life? If that is your belief when suffering hits, you are going to hate either God or yourself. Either you will say, “I lived a good enough life. I deserve better. God has done me wrong.” Or you will say, “Oh, I must have failed to live as I should. I am a loser.” Either way, you go into despair. A heart, then, forgetting the Gospel, will be torn between anger and guilt.

But if you say to yourself when you get thrown into the furnace, “This is my furnace. I am not being punished for my sins, because Jesus was thrown into that ultimate fire for me. And so if He went through that greatest fire steadfastly for me, I can go through this smaller furnace steadfastly for Him. And I also know it means that if I trust in Him, this furnace will only make me better.”

Reprinted from Chapter 11 of Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller with permission from Dutton.

not for a moment

Not for a Moment – Meredith Andrews

You were reaching through the storm
Walking on the water
Even when I could not see
In the middle of it all
When I thought You were a thousand miles away
Not for a moment did You forsake me

After all, You are constant
After all, You are only good
After all, You are sovereign
Not for a moment will You forsake me

You were singing in the dark
Whispering Your promise
Even when I could not hear
I was held in Your arms
Carried for a thousand miles to show
Not for a moment did You forsake me

Every step
Every breath
You are there
Every tear
Every cry
Every prayer
In my hurt
At my worst
When my world falls down
Not for a moment will You forsake me
Even in the dark
Even when it’s hard
You will never leave me

Not for a moment will You forsake me

 

Shared Post: 20 Things to Know Before You’re 30 by Debra K. Fileta

Relevant Magazine has turned out to be quite the interesting read as of late and after coming across this article this morning, I figured I’d share as several of the items on that list are things I’m learning right here; right now. I’m 28. Not quite pushing 30, but close. 

Enjoy!

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20 Things to Know Before You’re 30

Don’t worry. They’re worth knowing after 30, too.

September 18 marked a big milestone in my life.

3-0.

I can finally say goodbye to my twenties. I’m happy to say it’s been a good run. But if I’m completely honest, I feel a sense of grief coupled with excitement. I am sad for the years that have passed. They’ve gone by so fast. And I haven’t been able to slow them down.

But more, I’m filled with excitement. It has been an adventure, to be sure, and I’ve had the privilege of watching God at work in my life in so many ways. I’m excited to see what the next years hold.

There are many things I know at 30 that I didn’t know at 20.

I’ve had the chance to reflect on the past 10 years of my life, and I realized there are many things I know at 30 that I didn’t know at 20.

1. Time is limited, so invest it in things that matter. I remember the days of wasting my time away on meaningless things. Now that I’m older, I see that my time is valuable and limited.

2. Say no to one-way friendships. Not only is it important to use your time wisely, it’s crucial to spend it with people that care. So much of our time is wasted on superficial friendships and obligations. Invest in people who are worth investing in.

3. It doesn’t matter what people think of you, and you can’t please everyone. Often, your twenties are defined by living a roller coaster life, allowing the choices and decisions of others affect you rather than taking control of your own life. It’s sad to say that so many years are spent defining yourself by others, instead of for the sake of who God has called you to be.

4. Life is more expensive than you think it is. This life lesson isn’t fun. But it’s amazing how much $100 seems to a 20-year-old, and how little it seems to a 30-year-old. As you get older, you learn to really see the value of money and how to spend and use it wisely.

5. Being healthy matters. You realize you’re no longer invincible when the aches and pains begin to slowly creep into your life. And it only gets worse—or so I hear. Learn to appreciate your health, and to be more proactive about taking it seriously.

6. Joy can come from unexpected places. So many things that may have never seemed fun in my younger years have taken on a whole new meaning. As life gets more complicated, you learn to take more joy in the simple things.

7. You should value your parents. You will make the same mistakes as they did. The older you get, the more you realize your own flaws, and it helps you have grace for the flaws of others. We’ve all gotten to that moment where we realize that in so many ways we are just like our parents.

8. You’re not stuck. By God’s grace, you get to choose how you will live. You don’t have to repeat patterns, and you’re not paralyzed to a certain mold. 

9. Your decisions affect more people than just yourself. There’s a ripple effect, and it gets clearer with each passing year. When you’re young and single, this can sometimes be hard to see, but as you grow up, you cease to be on center stage and you see that life is all about the big picture, and you are a small but important piece in it.

10. Your words have a lot of power, so be careful what you say. From writing a blog post to saying a kind word, from a thoughtless comment to a negative remark, I’ve seen first hand how powerful words can be. They can build up and they can destroy. You learn to be more careful with how you use the words you have been given. They have the power to change lives.

11. Forgiveness is worth the hard work. More than ever, you see how much an unforgiving spirit impacts your life in a negative way, and how letting go has so much more to do with you than with others.

12. Success in life means so much more than what you thought it would. My definition of success has drastically changed for the better. My friendships, family and faith have taken on a whole new meaning within the definition of success. God has changed my heart over the years, and with it, what I define as my treasures.

13. Worry doesn’t really change your future. I wish I could have learned this way sooner, and wish I could prevent relapses. But by God’s grace, I want to continue to walk with more faith than fear.

14. There’s so much more to your identity than you ever imagined. Physical appearance is a small fraction of who you are. Hopefully this is something you learned early on, because as you learn to accept your body and your appearance you find there is so much freedom in that. And along those lines, gray hairs aren’t so bad after all. They’re actually kind of cute, once you get used to them. Well, we’ll see how we feel about that by 40.

15. You’ve made a lot of mistakes, and you will make many more. But you learn to forgive yourself and move on.

16. Life doesn’t always turn out how you expect. But it still turns out just right. I know so many things have not happened on my time frame nor in the way I expected them to. But looking back, God’s time frame was so much better than mine. I’m learning to trust that He is good and that He really knows best.

Life doesn’t always turn out how you expect. But it still turns out just right.

17. Those doors closed for a reason. I look back at the failures and disappointments in my life now, and I am so thankful for those closed doors and broken roads. God knew then what Iknow now. And I’m so glad He did.

18. God is bigger than you could have ever imagined. And I’m so thankful He is.

19. Wisdom is really a gift from God. And something that you have to ask for now just as much as ever.

20. There is still so much to learn. I have learned so much about myself over the past few years, and I’ve learned that there’s so much more to be learned. Like the old saying goes, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

Here’s to the next decade!  May it be blessed for you and me both. 

Debra K Fileta

By Debra K Fileta
September 26, 2013

Debra K. Fileta is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Relationship and Marital issues. She, her husband and two children live in Hershey, PA. She is the author of the new book True Love Dates (Zondervan, 2013), challenging young men and women to do dating in a way that is psychologically sound, emotionally healthy and spiritually grounded. Visit www.truelovedates.com and follow her on Twitter to get your dating questions answered and to learn more!

Article and more found here.