For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Last Friday, my age number increased one digit. I wonder if the psalmist wrote these words on his birthday:
Birthdays—our special days—are great times to reflect on the ways in which God’s grace has been woven into the incredible significance of our life journeys.
I always wanted to be ‘special’ when I was growing up, but I rarely felt special. I’m the firstborn in my family. My first sister was born 18 months later, so I needed to relinquish my ‘special’ only-child status early on. Later, another sister and brother arrived. I watched my younger siblings receive ’special’ attention, and in my egocentric, immature psyche, I often wished I could be as ‘special’ as they were.
I learned early that by being ultra-responsible, I could capture occasionally the feeling of ‘special.’ To this day, when my mother describes me as a child, she uses the word ‘responsible.’ There’s not a thing in the world wrong with being ‘responsible.’ It’s a good character trait, but still, that descriptor feels kind of like when the boy you liked in junior high called you a ‘good buddy’—or a ‘nice girl’—and what you truly desired was for him to call you his ‘special’ girlfriend.
My struggle to feel ‘special’ persisted into adulthood. During a particularly difficult segment of my journey, I felt convinced I’d never be ‘special’ to anyone again. One night I sat in my bed looking for some solace in Scripture. I was reading the Living Bible that evening when I stumbled onto Psalm 139. During that reading, grace showed up, and I realized on a deeply spiritual level I was not only special, but VERY special to God. Since then, the feeling I’ve had of being God’s ‘special’ child has waxed and waned, but never disappeared completely. In fact, with every new birthday, it keeps growing.
When we begin to comprehend on a personal level the immensity of God’s lavish and amazing grace, how can we feel anything but special?
Here are a few of the delicious morsels of truth I began to chew on that lonesome night when grace directed me to Psalm 139.
- Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
- You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.
- I can never be lost to your Spirit!
- You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb.
Right now, at this stage of my life journey—even though those birthday numbers are getting awfully high—I feel like my current work is in line with a childhood calling. Honestly, I would never have chosen the journey that’s brought me to this point, but a verse from Psalm 139 reminds me God—not I—directs my steps. Verse 16 says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”
My journey to this point included 40 years of employment with Washington State. In the years spent in government work, great job experiences were presented. I was privileged to work for and with outstanding supervisors and co-workers. Many of my jobs included excellent educational and special project opportunities. Those years of employment equipped me with a set of skills now valuable in the local church environment where I serve. Recently, in a conversation, my senior pastor said, “I’m grateful to Washington State for educating you. We couldn’t have afforded it.”
For more than 40 years, God’s grace was being woven into my journey even though I didn’t always like the process. I complained a lot to God about my circumstances. More than once I whined in prayer, telling God I just wanted to stay home full time to be a wife, mother, attend women’s Bible studies and do crafts!
There’s no doubt about it, lifetime journeys are often perplexing. Everyday realities may not align with our preferences. Painful circumstances seem to make no sense.
While I still have more questions than answers about life, the increasing digits on my age help remind me while the will of God has and may take me to some unwanted places, the Divine Weaver will keep joining together the warp and weft of my days. The masterpiece God designed me to become will keep emerging—more useful and perhaps even more ‘special.’
May you feel the sweet assurance God’s grace is being woven into your incredible journey!