The living room is lit by sunlight coasting in through half-open windows. The breeze keeps the room cool. This is the first (or perhaps second) day of perfect weather in more than half a year, and what a blessing that such weather arrives on this day.
Through open blinds, I watch as my wife prunes and waters the potted plants on the low brick wall surrounding our porch. Next to her, the old border collie sleeps on the first step, half in sun, half in shadow. From the bedroom down the hall, the sound of Corrine Bailey Rae’s ballads trickle around the edges of this perfect moment.
My belly is full of homemade french toast, *real* bacon, and coffee. After a good night’s sleep, I visited the doctor for my yearly physical. He’s very pleased at my progress toward health. So am I.
Today’s schedule is unusually light, even for a day off work. One meeting this afternoon. A few household chores. And a book. Maybe two. Dinner tonight with my parents. Homemade red velvet cake. Ice cream.
I’m thirty-four years old today. The number feels foreign to me. It sounds strange in my ear and on my tongue. I am fully and resolutely entering my middle-thirties. And I can tell you, friends, that this past year was my favorite thus far. I completed a few more courses of seminary, with good (or at least satisfactory) grades. I taught Sunday School and had the joy of ministering to a great group of young adults. I am still employed with a good group of coworkers at a good job that meets my financial needs. I lost 55 pounds, and am on track for continued success and health. I’m slowly but surely getting out of debt–and I’m living on a budget. And the best of all life events–I married a woman of whom I am not worthy, a woman who is my joy and crown, a Proverbs 31 woman who is in large part responsible and vital for the previously listed successes. The virtuous and lovely lady who is at this moment on the porch, in a lawn chair, Bible and notebook in hand.
My 33rd year was the best of my life, up to now. This next year is poised to be even better.
I am full to the brim. So much joy. So much gratitude.
I praise you, Father, for your manifold graces. For calling me out of darkness and rescuing me from bondage to sin and death. For adopting me as your son, through the sacrificial death of Jesus the Christ, my brother, my King, my Savior, my God, who died my death and bore the reproach I rightly deserved for my rebellion. For giving me your Holy Spirit as my Comforter, my Guide, my ever-present Intercessor. Lord, I praise you for giving me a new heart, a new mind, a new spirit, and life everlasting in You.
Thank you for an abundance of earthly blessings, these Your gifts to me as well. For home and health, for beloved wife and loving family and friends, for Your church and my place in ministry within it and with it and to it. You have made me rich in all of these ways. Yet I pray that I would be willing to release them all as long as I have You, for You alone satisfy me.
Father, I give you this next year of my life, or as many days of it that you allow me. Help me grow in faith, in love, in truth, in holiness. Guard my speech, my thoughts, my steps. May my heart be bent in obedience to Your will. May those who meet me and interact with me know fully that I am Yours, and that You live in me. May all of my days under the sun bring Your honor and glory and praise.
Father, thank You. Jesus, thank You. Holy Spirit, thank You. Three-times-holy God, I praise Your name.