Grateful, ready and content on my fortieth birthday
Celebrate,  Infertility,  Soul

Grateful, Content & Ready

Big birthdays tend to force us to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come, where we are, and where we’re going. The big Four-Zero is especially significant because, though we don’t know how many years the Lord will grant us in this life, this milestone marks the halfway point of our expected life span, even according to scripture (Psalm 90:10). The naughty forties never crossed my mind as a youngster, however, for the last few years, it has lurked on the horizon as a glaring reminder of all my disappointments and failures. Forty became the line in the sand, separating what could have been from what never will be. It has taken divine intervention for me to look back with acceptance and gratitude and forward with hope as I sit in awkward silence in the present of the presence of my Saviour.

The trailer for Dalene Reyburn’s study on Psalm 90 is free on Right Now Media.

Through her study of Psalm 90, Dalene Reyburn has (unknowingly) guided me through the last few weeks of my 30s to find the meaning of being grateful for the past, content in the present, and ready for the future. I’ve kept this study in the back of my internet pocket for about a year and the Lord reminded me about it at the right time.

In the oldest Psalm in the Psalter, Moses should contrast the Lord’s everlasting presence with the fleeting breath of a man’s life. It is only when we gaze upon the greatness of God that we can truly appreciate our human weakness and our desperate need for his daily grace. The life of Moses can be divided into three periods of forty years which makes him quite suitable to give me advice at this stage of my life. In the first forty years, he was educated as a prince in an Egyptian palace by the best scholars of his age. For the next forty years, he tended sheep in the wilderness learning patience and obedience to God’s instruction. It was only at the age of eighty that he helped the Israelites escape Egypt. I’m not sure if I want such a long life, but his example does remind me that the Lord is not done with me yet.

I took my time to work through this study so the Lord, through Dalene, could patiently teach me to be Grateful, Content, and Ready for what the Lord wants to teach me.

Grateful for the Past

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God… For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

Psalm 90:1,2 and 4
Psalm 90 verse 1

Very few of us can package our lives so neatly into parcels of years. Life is usually messier while transitions are more gradual than what Moses experienced. From this angle, I can appreciate that I had quite a privileged childhood growing up with loving parents who always did the best they knew how. I was fortunate to receive an excellent education in schooling and life. Even in almost ideal circumstances, I grew into an anxious young girl always striving to be the perfect daughter, woman, sister, friend, and child of God. I had no grace for myself and thus did not expect others to show me any unless I proved myself to be the best at everything I did. This is an impossible burden to carry but I had no idea I was so heavy laden. I sometimes have flashbacks of holding others to this standard and I cringe at the hurt I must have inflicted on people who were just loving me as imperfectly as they could.

My two younger sisters and I when we were little

I took this striving for perfectionism into marriage with me but was quickly shown by the most loving husband that he had no expectations for me to be the ultimate Stepford wife. The early years were blissful honeymoon years enjoying many adventures and excellent health.

Carl and I at our wedding

Then it was the “perfect” time to grow our family. This season has been the most painful, heartbreaking season of devastation and loss. I would not wish the last eight years of my life on my worst enemy. Yet I can finally say I would not change any of it because it thrust me into the arms of Jesus, my Lord, and Saviour.

My journey from year one to year eight reads like a study of the gospel. When it became apparent that family planning was not going to be effortless for us, I doubted God’s love and goodness for withholding this blessing from me – a “good” person. Slowly the Lord brought books and Bible studies on my way to show me “there is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 8:10). All my striving and perfectionism were in vain! I could never earn His love and grace.

The next lesson I had to learn was that God is always good. In Exodus 34:6 God describes himself to Moses as “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. Paul wrote to the Romans that God proved his love because “He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?” (Romans 8:32). I began to understand that I had acted like a spoiled child all my life and yet God had not lost his patience with me.

Exodus 34 verse 6

All these lessons are great to know but it means absolutely nothing until I realized that God loved ME and he chose ME to change ME into the likeness of Christ so that I can spend all eternity with Jesus. All of Romans 8 testifies to this truth but in verse 29 we read “those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, he also called; and these whom he called, He also justified; and these whom he justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).”

Carl and Lynette on Mothers Day 2019

Finally, I could begin to grasp that God was using all this pain and suffering to work it all together for my good because He loves me and He called me for His purpose (Romans 8:28) and that nothing – no loss, disappointment, pain or suffering – could ever separate me from his love (Ephesians 3:17-19).

By the grace of God, our marriage has survived many rollercoaster rides – the roughest of which is/was this revelation of the true gospel that has brought us this far. For this, I am eternally grateful.

As Dalene reminds us in the study – if God never does another good thing for me in my lifetime – the fact that Jesus died on the cross for me to wipe away my sins and establish a perfect relationship between me and the Father, then I have all that I need (Romans 3:23-25).

Content in the Present

So teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom… Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:12, 14
Psalm 90 verse 12

Dalene defines contentment as experiencing joy and peace in our circumstances which results in the confidence to do Kingdom work. Complacency is wallowing in self-pity when evaluating our lives. I spent many years wallowing in the pits of despair while living a beautiful life I was blind to appreciate. Yet, I would be lying if I said I wake up every day content and blissful, resting in the life I’ve been given.

Lynette hiking Tiger river trail

The season I am in now is one of awkward discomfort as the Lord chisels away at the parts of me that don’t belong in His Kingdom, but where I have placed my identity my whole life. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the battered, scarred body looking back at me. To follow the Lord’s teaching I have had to give up my idols of perfect musician, daughter, and example. My most important identity is now the daughter of the King, learning to follow him with my whole heart.

Tugela Gorge Trail

I shudder at the ungratefulness I can sometimes feel while having more than enough food to eat, a beautiful home, and an abundance of clothes to wear, not to mention the fact that every morning I get to wake up next to one of the most precious blessings the Lord has given me.

I get to wake up every morning.

About ten years ago a dear friend of mine lost her battle with cervical cancer. She was barely thirty years old and one of the healthiest people I knew. I was not her best friend but her life left a big impression on me. Losing someone close to me at such a young age reminds me that every day is a gift from God. This reminder of the brevity of life puts small things like childlessness, body issues, and money worries in their proper place.

Psalm 23:1 describes this gift beautifully in many different translations: The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need/ I shall not want/ I lack nothing.

Ready for the Future

Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

Psalm 90:17
Psalm 19 verse 17

I used to be a planner and a dreamer. I set short-term and long-term goals and mapped them out carefully. That was until none of my plans came to fruition. Suddenly I did not dare to dream of the future or set concrete goals anymore. What is the point, anyway? I only realized this change in myself when we had dinner with dear friends just after ringing in the New Year in January one year when they asked us what our goals were for the next five years. I could only respond: “I don’t know. Survive?”

Lynette walking between fields of cosmos

However, if I carefully listen to the call of my heart I can hear the purposes the Lord planted there long ago, and how they are only now starting to make sense. I started this blog to show others their value in Jesus Christ, even before I knew what that meant for myself. I’ve known for a while that I want to help women of all ages see how much God loves them and put their lives in perspective of His eyes, instead of in relationships, jobs, or looks. Through new opportunities in Bible School and perhaps a future in Biblical counseling, I’ve seen that this dream can come true. Maybe I will still write that book that will convict a heart or two or get to speak at a conference. Who knows? Only God.

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.

Proverbs 19:21
Proverbs 19 verse 21

We can be tempted to feel like planning and dreaming is futile since God will do what he wants anyway. But I’m beginning to understand that many of these dreams are gifts from him, which we should place in his care so he can work it out for his good purpose. In this part of the study, I was encouraged to answer the question “what is in my hand” now to be ready to give an account for the hope in me, with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15). This keyboard is in my hand. My love for broken souls is in my hand. My love for Jesus and the unquenchable desire to share that love with others is in my hand. So I can hold my hands open before the Lord and pray: “I know You can do all things, and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Counting My Days to Make My Days Count

In your books were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:16
Psalm 139 verse 16

As I reflect on the life God has granted me so far, I notice the golden thread of the gracious love of Jesus throughout the years, even when I had no grace for myself.

God is good. God is in control. God loves me. God will work everything out for the good of my soul so I can be with him forever.

This truth has served me well when life feels anything but in control. I am glad I am not the main character in my story anymore – Jesus is. I am delighted that this life is not all there is, and my story is only a tiny part of the beautiful bigger picture Jesus is painting in this life to prepare us for the unimaginable future he has in store for us.

Lynette holding colourful balloons in front of a stone wall

Thank you for celebrating this milestone with me. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for us next…

If you want to join Right Now Media, click on this link, or ask me for an invitation with a link. RightNow Media’s mission is to “work with the global church to inspire people to love others before self and Christ above all.” With thousands of video studies from excellent Bible teachers, you will find something for your soul.

Christ our Hope in Life and Death” by Keith & Kirsten Getty is a new song on my playlist that I haven’t yet been able to sing without a lump in my throat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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