no, i'm not being vain about my age. december 25th was my christian birthday. 29 years ago, i first gave my life to Jesus.
i still remember vividly the pangs of regret at having waited so long to come to Christ. i honestly felt like i had wasted 19 years of my life. all of those years, living for things that didn't seem to matter much in light of eternity. i learned later that those years hadn't been wasted after all; even though i hadn't known my Creator, he had always known me and had been present and at work in my life. he had already been shaping me, already preparing me, already pouring out his grace upon me, though i hadn't recognized it.
for me, becoming a christian wasn't just a change in my way of thinking. it meant receiving forgiveness and experiencing the love of Someone Great who is really there -- and a commitment to trust and live 100% for him -- or as the scriptures say, with all of my heart, with all of my soul, with all of my mind, and with all of my strength (mark 12:30). that commitment has led to some interesting choices over the years, many that i never would have chosen otherwise. along the way, i've had the privilege of seeing God work in some extraordinary ways.
i wish i could say that i've always lived up to my word. i have discovered over and over again that the world isn't what i thought it was, that i am not who i thought i was, and that God isn't who i sometimes make him out to be. that's an awful lot of unlearning. after 29 years, i know more than i've ever known, and i am more acutely aware of just how relatively little i know.
still, i thank God for what i do know: that he is real, and that he loves me -- and not me only, but all people everywhere and all of creation. that his love is not just a warm feeling, but that he put himself on the line to redeem us. that our relationships with one another matter to God almost as much as our relationship with him. that salvation is more than a ticket to heaven; God is renewing more than me and more than people, but creation itself. that the church, as imperfect as it is, is meant to be a window into eternity for all to see.
in the bible, Jesus says that we will know the truth, and that the truth will set us free. every year, i discover a bit more about what he means by that -- thank God.