Today is my birthday. Yep. Turned 54 at 8:22am this morning according to my birth certificate. I was born in Monterey, California at a military hospital. My dad was in the Navy attending language school. The word is, I was about a week late. Some family from Texas drove out for my birth, but missed my arrival because they had to go back home.
Who is that fat little guy?
I guess in many ways I have been a late to a lot of things in life. But like they say…better late than never!
I joke around with my friends that I can’t wait until I turn 55 because we will get discounts on both ends of the spectrum. I will get senior discounts, and my son, who will be five, will still get free meals. Sweet!
I was thinking back over my life, specifically the past five years which have flown by faster than any other time in my life.
I never guessed I would be doing what I am doing now. Five years ago I stood at a crossroad not sure where either path would take me. One path potentially took us back overseas to serve as missionaries for an unknown length of time. The other path honestly frightened me more—foster care and adoption. I had resolved that I would never be a father to a child that I called my own.
Both paths were born out of obedience. I wanted to obey God’s call to respond—respond to going to the nations; respond to the fatherless. As you probably know, I, along with Danielle, chose to go down the path of foster care and adoption. Why did this path frighten me more than moving overseas to serve as a missionary? It consisted of more unknown outcomes, at least in my mind. And, I wasn’t sure in my abilities to parent a child, either temporarily or forever.
Another caveat to making that decision five years ago was that I didn’t know what career I would pursue if we didn’t serve as missionaries..
In 2011, we did become foster parents. And I decided on a new career path. I became a writer.
I knew nothing about either one!
That same year I agreed to be the president of the board of a new nonprofit that a good friend was starting. I knew nothing about how to do that either!
Now I understand why these past five years have flown by!
Strangely some days, many actually, I wonder if I have accomplished anything these past few years. But as I look more closely I feel better. We adopted a son. I published a book about foster care and adoption. And I helped that nonprofit become a thriving ministry in its community.
Each of these and many other adventures have taught me a few things. Sure what I learned isn’t new in any respect, but sometimes we have to live it to really learn it.
5 Things I Have Learned that I Can Take into My Second 50 Years:
- Go ahead, make a decision. Making life altering decisions can freeze a person. Any of these easily could have done that, but we stepped out in faith that God was leading us. God proved faithful in showing us what to do each step along the way.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Fear of failure shuts down even the best. But in my 50s I recognize that I don’t have time to be afraid of failure. If something doesn’t work out, I can recalibrate and try again or try something else.
- Don’t take myself too seriously. When I was younger, like most young men, I wanted to change the world. Not that I still don’t want to live a life of influence, but I don’t care if anyone knows who I am. I don’t care if I ever become a well-known writer and blogger. I am content investing in whoever God places in my life, especially my son.
- Stay in the moment. I have written about this a lot. But it’s true. I can’t undo any of the past, and I can’t live tomorrow today. A friend once said, “God gives us the grace to live just one day at a time.”
- Keep trusting. If God has taught me anything else besides staying in the moment over the past five or so years, it’s this. He proves Himself faithful over and over.
I have no doubt that I will find myself at the crossroads of big decisions again. In fact, we have some before us now, including mission work overseas.
Thank you God for these 54 years you have graced me with along with my beautiful family. They are a gift from You.
Question for You: What is one thing you have learned over the past 5 years that changed the way you live life?