21 and feeling fine…

Yes. Today is my birthday, and so far, it’s been pretty.. ordinary. What’s that? No, I don’t feel older. I certainly don’t act older, just have a visit at our dinner table and you’ll see. But besides all that, I do feel very happy. Very.. blessed. Because of all the ordinary things, yes. Receiving a full 20 years of health, adventure and wisdom. Because of the explorations I’ve been on, through this earth, through His book, and through my heart. But most of all, I’m feeling blessed because of all of you.

I spent the majority of my day with one of the world’s cutest 3 year olds, who would run up to me every 5 minutes, give me a hug, and yell “Happy Birfday Samamfa!!” It was great. And during his down time, I got to dig into one of my beautiful gifts, Donald Miller’s newest read, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. SO. GOOD. I got through 135 pages, and I’m feeling good. Basically he’s writing a story about stories. The idea sounds beyond boring, but every page, I catch myself agreeing, underlining, being in awe of God and His awesomeness. One of the best quotes comes when Don is talking about the way an author feels when they are creating a plot, and He likens the experience to when God was writing our stories. He says ” If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.

How beautiful is that? I messaged my mom, the wonderful one who purchased this gift, and said “I love Michael Bublè because he sings to my heart. I love Donald Miller because he writes to my heart.” If I could write a book, it’d be a mix between the two of those, and that might be scary.

I don’t have much else to say today, which is surprising. I just wanted to say thanks, I guess. Thank you to all the wonderful people who make my life worth living. To the ones that encourage me to grow, to learn, to give, and to just be. Thank you to God for the adventure that I get to call my life, whether it’s far away in a different country, or here, where I find myself right now. Thank you to the ones who expect more from me, and the friends who know when I need to let everything out, and listen, so gracefully.

Last night I experienced another one of those overwhelming moments. After God delivered big time with a night I desperately (unknowingly) needed, I sat in my car and just thought about Him, about where He’s taken me, and where exactly He’s leading me. I thanked Him for His sacrifices, reminding myself of what He gave up, because of the things I choose to NOT give up for Him. Guilt, thankfulness, nervousness and excitement rushed over my faint little heart, and I let it happen. And that, my friends, is the ramblings of this 21 year old heart.

Thanks to each one of you who influences me in one way or another. From near or far, you have made 20 worth it. I look forward to exploring 21 with you, adding a few new experiences and mental notes to my heart. Let’s do this together.

With (beautiful) Strength that is not my own, Sam

And here I go, risking it all….

Last night I was in bed, trying to get to sleep. I had had some solid God time that afternoon, and I was feeling good.  I read a lot, I journalled a lot, and I just talked a lot to my number One. It was indeed a good day. And sometimes I get the feeling that I need to share them, but yesterday, I just didn’t feel like it. It was my day, a quiet one, personal one, and I wanted to keep it that way. Ha, good one.

So. As I tried relentlessly to “will” myself to sleep, what song kept popping into my head? I’ll tell you. But first I have something to say. I may risk public humiliation for this, so you better feel pretty loved to know that I’m doing this for you. Yes, YOU, the one sitting behind your screen, only God knows in which country, sipping a latte/tea/coffee-of-some-sort/or hey, even a beer. Last night, when the lights were all out, the house was quiet, and my mind wouldn’t quit, all I heard was… Justin Bieber.

Phew. Got that out.

So. Why am I telling you this? Is it possible that God used a 17 year old musically gifted child (yes, I do think he’s talented), to give me a message? Actually, I do, I really do. Because this is what He was saying to me through it all…

“You know you love me, I know you care. Just shout whenever, and I’ll be there. You are my love, you are my heart, and we will never, ever, ever be apart. Are we an item? Girl, quit playing. We’re just friends? What are you saying? Said there’s another, and looked right in my eyes. My first love broke my heart for the first time.”

Now, to you, you could read a young boy, calling out to his girl. And until now, that’s all I heard too. But look deeper. I couldn’t get the song out of my head, and I can’t even remember the last time I heard it. So, in the frustration of my ah!-I-want-to-sleep-now moment, I asked God “Why, WHY, can’t I get this song out of my head??” And it’s like He sang the song right to me. Read those lyrics over, as if God was saying them to you.

Doesn’t sound so crazy now, does it?

Well, maybe it does. But I found peace in it. Because, yes, there are many days where God is not my first love. And how many times do we look back and say “I wonder how badly I hurt His heart when I did/said/thought that?” Yes, I’ll admit, it seems like a pretty far fetched idea, and trust me, I didn’t want to post it. But I know its something good to hear. And Justin goes on and protests, but I know God’s next lyric would be different. Because, yes, His first love broke His heart, but you know what? Our God’s good. He’s a forgiver. He doesn’t hold grudges, or dangle our shortfalls above our heads. He longs for the day when we’re together, fully, again. What a glorious day. Reminds me of the last verse in “Amazing Grace”, –when we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun. There’s no less days to sing God’s praise, then when we’d first begun.– I don’t know about you, but that, that sounds like bliss. Pure bliss.

My encouragement to you today: be ready to hear the voice of God. It’s fulfilling. It’s beautiful. And sometimes, it’s just a bit weird. But hey, who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?

Much, much, much love,

With Strength that is not my own, Sam