June 29, 2010

A new decade begins...

I'll admit to being slightly sentimental.
I'm slow; methodical; deliberate.
I've never liked the word 'forget',
and use a great amount of energy determining not to.
I've kept a little mental scrapbook of my life to this point;
the times when Creation is especially beautiful,
and God is especially good;
the moments of particular pains and joys;
- beginnings and endings -
they're all so distinct for me.
They're carefully recorded, treasured, and remembered,
and stretched for all they're worth.
We only have so short a time here,
and even the little things,
like a walk with the dogs, or a chocolate milkshake,
seem meant to be savored.

Now I find myself, still up, early, early,
reminiscing, reveling in retrospection,
as I'm prone to do -
because today marks the end of my twentieth year.
And now I can claim the title;
The oldest I've been yet.

I've never liked endings of any sort;
and I'll admit I'm dwelling long on this one.

Didn't I just turn 13 last week?

On one hand it seemed to go so quickly,
just a moment, here and gone.
And yet,
I marvel that the Lord managed to pack so many lessons
into such a seemingly short amount of time.
That's where the sense of years begins;
not in the hours passed,
but the growth, the revelations,
the steady process of sanctification;
the numberless shows of Faithfulness and Providence
from the Lord - again and again.
That's where the years become real.

Seven very long, very full years.
It's been an eternity.

On one of those distant days,
my wise Mother handed me a book:
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.
And quoting the wise mother portrayed therein,
she reminded me that:
"my character would be essentially formed by the
time I reached my twentieth year..."
She told me how important those years would be;
and despite the fact I that I felt I had all of the
time in the world at that moment,
I did take it to heart.

And that day is already here.

And on this day, despite a thirteen-year-old's expectations,
what stands out most is that
I haven't "arrived," I'm not anywhere near "finished."
If I've learned anything in twenty years -
it is that I'm nothing on my own,
that His strength is made perfect in weakness,
that coming to the end of myself -
is the best possible place to be.
That God does work all things together for good
for those that love Him.
It hasn't all been easy by any means,
but there isn't a single thing I would change,
not a single detour or bypass I could ask for.
He has used it all;
and perfectly so.

His mercies are new every morning.

Here at the end of them -
all I can do is simply thank Him for each
undeserved moment these twenty years are made of.
And ask for an extra measure of grace as I begin
my next decade.

Because it really begins in about an hour...


Kimberose said...

Happy birthday Kate! Thanks so much for sharing this, you have some great thoughts!

Jo Bekah Photography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Sarah Elizabeth said...

Happy birthday, Kate!
Your blog is so encouraging to me & I pray that your day will be blessed as you begin the next decade of life!

Sarah Elizabeth

Hannah Rebekah said...

Happy Birthday! You are very good at taking pictures.

-Hannah Rebekah

Margaret said...

A very endearing post...it was like I was going through every childhood memory of my own that I don't want to forget as I read your words.

Happy Birthday!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday again Kate :-)
You are such a beautiful writer,and I love reading this. My favorite was the part that Jordan already quoted,how true.

Tarissa said...

Hi Kate,
Just wanted to drop you a note to say... Happy Birthday! I hope this next year of your life will be filled with many new blessings for you.

I enjoyed reading your blog post, and your photos were very lovely.

Enjoy your Special day!
~ Tarissa

Aunt Pam said...

Happy Birthday Katie. I love to read your blog. I know your grandmother Wilma has to enjoy it also. I have shared it with many people. They are very incouraged by your postings as I am. Love, Aunt Pam

Kelsey said...

Happiest of birthdays to you Kate!
"The oldest I've been yet"... :)

You know, I think we will get along capitally if we ever meet, because I always find myself smiling and agreeing completely with the thoughts you write here.

I had forgotten the quote from Stepping Heavenward about my character being essentially formed by my 20th year (which is nearly over), but I distantly remember reading that and feeling the same way, that I had all the time in the world.
My grandparents have told me that if I think life is going fast now, just wait till I'm their age.
It won't be long now. :)

God bless your 20th year, and may you live every day to His glory!

Kelsey :o)

Hannah Mendenhall said...

Oh Kate that feeling is all too familiar and you described it so beautifully!

When I ponder the past and how quickly time seems to be passing, I think of Ecclesiastes. I love that book! Solomon concluded with such encouraging and straight forward words, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all."

Happy Birthday : )

Maggie said...

Happy birthday, Kate!

Beautiful photos! You are such an amazing photographer.


Your sister said...

So perfectly put Kate....beautiful. Happy Birthday :) We love you!!!

bethany said...

Happy Birthday Kate!! What a perfect post for birthday reflections. I hope you had a wonderful day, and many, many more birthdays granted to you! Bethany

Christianna said...

Happy Birthday, Kate! Thanks so much for the post. Very thought provoking. Really makes one think. Stepping Heavenward is a book every young Christian girl/woman should read. God bless you this year as you are striving to walk in the footsteps of the Saviour.