Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Joyous Day

She is exactly 10 1/2 today.  Dates are important to me.  The 19th.  Not a date that had ever meant much to me.  I remember being 19.  It wasn't particularly exciting. 

As I approached the due date with my first child, I was excited for her to be born in the 4th month of 2004.  Those are good numbers.  She was due on the 12th.  Another great number because it's a multiple of 4.  See...my mathematical mind is always at work in quirky ways.  The 12th came and went.  Oh, the 16th...another multiple of 4.  That came and went, as well.  Even the 18th looked appealing because of the 8...you know.  Nope.  So, I was all set to be induced on the 19th.  No avoiding the seemingly odd number.

With great joy, despite the odd date, we welcomed our first child.  She was wonderful.  Beautiful.  A gift.  It wasn't until a year and a half later that I truly came to embrace the date, though.

I committed my life to Christ as a teenager and then grew in that commitment as time moved on.  As a college student I came to a point in my walk where I realized I needed to completely surrender all aspects of my life to Jesus and let Him truly lead me, even (and especially) in my relationships and dating.  I had already committed to this, but then life happened and I went to college and ....  Heartache brought me back to the foot of the cross and to the place where I would ultimately surrender my whole heart and life to Jesus.  That was January of 1998. I was broken. I gave up. I let go. 

Over the next several months the Lord opened the door for me to take part in a ministry and then even lead it.  It was a huge challenge.  I think of Gideon being called "mighty warrior" when I think of the Lord calling me to that ministry at that exact time.  The most unlikely person.  The most unqualified.  Yet, the Lord's glory is most evident when He is the only One who can get credit for the wonderful things that happen.  So it was with me leading a sexual abstinence program.  Part of the program was signing a certificate committing to purity and accountability.  I signed my certificate and my friend Heather signed it as my accountability partner during the program in the spring.

Heather was with me in the delivery room when my first child was born.  She encouraged me, prayed for me, and celebrated with me.  It was a joyous day.  About a year and a half later, Heather was visiting us from out of town.  I had been going through some old papers and found that old certificate we signed.  It was a sweet reminder of all we had walked through together and the beauty of how God keeps His promises. 

With tears, I showed Heather the certificate.  In particular, I pointed out the date.  We signed it on April 19th.  Suddenly, I realized just how amazing my God really is.  Though I hadn't picked the 19th as a great day to have a baby, God did.  My first child was born on the six year anniversary of signing the covenant to honor God with my body.  That day began the seventh year of that covenant.  The seventh year is a year of blessing.

Lev. 25:1-7
The Sabbath Year
The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
 God is good.  All the time.  Even when we have no idea.

Today, that baby, born on the 19th, celebrated believers baptism and declared publicly that she loves Jesus, has accepted His salvation, and wants to follow Him all the days of her life.

I kinda like the number 19 now. After today, I like it even more.  What a great date!