Counting the Years

In my life, I’ve taught a lot of English classes from University level down to bored Japanese housewives who would gather at the church under the guise of learning English. It sorta comes with the job of being light and salt to the unsaved.

One day, to get the conversation going, I asked for the class to tell me about the best birthday present they’d ever received.  Answers ranged from dinners in fine restaurants, to perfume and puppies … the usual.  And then one woman (not a believer) said happily and without hesitation, “My Life!”

Her answer has come home to me this week as I enter my 7th decade!!! People say they can’t believe I’m 70, to which I reply, “Neither can I!”  In the words of Mae West, “If I’d have known I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myself!”

But this woman’s answer, “My Life” made me stop and think.  Of course God gave me my life, and she’s right; that was unequivocally the best present I could have asked for, to get to experience life to the fullest because of Christ.

And now, thanks to lovely Covid, we still can’t really have a party or a trip. In the past, I’ve been spoiled with both, but this year, we’re just taking it relatively quietly. Our daughter, Nicki, came down (Chris had responsibilities at their church) and we spent the day in the kitchen rustling up some of my favorite (non-diety) foods.  Son Nathan was able to swing by for a few minutes before he went to work, and Kylie and the grands made it over to entertain us all as they marked their height on my wall, which we do every year on my birthday.

Perhaps one of my favorite birthday treats some years ago was seeing a lovely friend, Miyagi san, accept Christ as her Savior during a special evangelistic outreach……. which happened to be on my birthday. She was a product of one of those English classes, by the way. Being able to share Christ all my life, encouraged by precious people like you whose generous prayers made it possible, has really been a blessing that God has granted me.  I was surprised to find that the SBC convention is still praying for me, one of their missionaries, albeit retired, on my birthday.  Another grand legacy I’ve been given.

I’ve cheated death a few times, and I’m just mentioning the times I know of; there are probably other times that we have no idea of. Gonna have a great conversation with my guardian angel one of these days!

For sure, it will be a real eye opener to see all the bullets I’ve dodged unknowingly. But I hope, by God’s grace, that I’m not given the opportunity to see all the times when I missed an opportunity to share Christ or be kind……. but didn’t. Without a doubt, I’ve been given more peace and happiness than I deserve. And I hope by His grace there will be a few more opportunities before the journey is finished. Tony reminded me this morning of Psalms 90:10, and said with a kiss on the cheek, “The rest is not downhill anymore. If anything, there may be some serious rock climbing ahead. But one thing we can both say is, from here on, every day is just frosting on the birthday cake! And I for one plan to keep my fork handy.

Thank you all for making my day (and my life) so wonderful!  CYA next week!

Psalms 90:10 “The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;”
and then in vs 12, So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Marsha

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