OK, focus Michelle....... incubator.
You see......today is "Day 21" which is "hatching day" in egg-to-chicken world. So I am hoping that these little guys/gals will be making their debut throughout the day. They say that if 80-85% of your eggs hatch, that is considered successful. (who are "they" anyway?) I guess you always have to allow for a few "duds" or eggs that don't fertilize properly. Lord knows I can relate to that. *little eye roll with a hint of sarcasm*
So as I am scrutinizing every egg through the window of the incubator.....I hear my crazy roosters outside and then I hear our new family of goats making a racket so they can be fed. I started to think about how my life has done such a turn in the past 20 years.
And when I say turn......it really should be put into the extreme sport of a 180 degree HeelClickin' Superman seat grab backflip category. Oh sorry....being a mom of motocross kids does something to your choice of words over the years.
So let's compare......20 years ago and now
Then: I was going to New York City to check out the latest fashions for a little rock and roll boutique that I owned.
Now: I am going to country fairs and farming shows checking out goat and chicken breeds and the latest John Deere tractors.
Then: Josh and I would only head out at 11PM to go to nightclubs......it wasn't cool to show up any earlier than midnight
Now: If anything is scheduled after 8pm, I usually pass as I like to be in "jammie mode" by then and winding down.
Then: coloring my hair every possible intense color to draw attention to myself
Now: coloring every intense gray hair so as to not draw attention to myself
Then: Josh is investing in and building Marshall Amp stacks, guitar rigs, effect pedal boards, etc
Now: Josh is building goat milking stands, mangers and chicken coops.
Then: playing drinking games til I pass out or slamming shots during poker games
Now: drinking hot chocolate while beating the booger outta my kids at Scrabble or our new favorite.......Apples to Apples.
Then: Heading banging, heavy metal fists flying in a crowd.....OzzFest and Lollapalooza Tours
Now: Dancing with arms raised high praising God with worship music.....still rocking but praisin' at The Soulfest
Then: cool '78 Camaro with jacked up rear, huge monster tires.....loud exhaust.
Now: not-so-cool '01 Dodge Caravan with lots of dents.....also a loud exhaust, but not in a cool way. In a "this needs fixing but I am not bothering" kinda way.
My life might not seem as "exciting" as it was before......but that all depends on what how you define exciting. As far as I am concerned.....living your life for Jesus can bring things to a whole new radical level. Extreme devotion is what it's all about. I feel like I am finally LIVING!
When I look back.....of course I have regrets of alot of stupid decisions I made during those times. But I am not beating myself up over it. I am where I am today because of my past. I love that I am living proof of God's grace. I think I appreciate it so much because I have something (living life without Him) to compare it to (living a full life with/for Him).
Occasionally we run into old friends from the "old days" who first cannot believe that A: Josh and I are still together (19+ years, baby!) and have four kids. B: the different direction we've taken on. Most notice the change in us and although they don't come out and ask....we think it's pretty obvious that we have God in our lives and are ready/willing/able to share His Good News if they are open to listen. We make sure God gets all the glory and credit for the blessings in our lives and are not afraid to preach it when the opportunity arises.
Sometimes it is well received......sometimes they listen politely, but it falls on deaf ears......sometimes it turns people off and our conversation is cut short. And that's OK. I am sure there were plenty of "Michelle and Josh's" that tried to plant a seed with me and my rocky hardened soil many years ago. Sometimes it causes people to think we are whacked out Jesus Freaks.....again. That's OK!
I think about these lyrics from dcTalk's song Jesus Freak
"What will people think when they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak?
What will people do when they find that it's true?
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak.
There ain't no disguising the truth."
I am who I am/have become......We are who we are/have become.
(and I will again apologize for once again, being all over the place with the way I express myself with my blog.....feel bad for me.....be happy you are not inside my brain!)
.....I used proclaim I was a Jesus chaser, but really.....I stand corrected. Looking back, it was God who kept chasing after me during those lost years. I am so thankful that He is faithful......and more stubborn than me. Because I was on a road to destruction, whether I knew it or not. I was just one late night party away from over doing it, taking stupid chances and risks....I felt immortal. I never thought about consequences for my actions. I never felt I needed to be held accountable. Why should I? I was living for myself.
Now, I live for Him. I live with a new perspective. Jesus owns my life now.....He paid for it. I am thankful and relieved to know that He has the right to direct it. I see how He has blessed me with my husband, my children,.....my life. I owe this all to Him and I feel privileged to devote my life to Him.
And He knows just how to be the most effective in building relationships with each of His children. Everyone is different. With me.....when I walked into that church that afternoon, I knew this was the path I was searching for. I started to gravitate towards situations, people and environments that brought me closer to knowing Him better. God also revealed Himself and His awesome ways more and more throughout the years. These testimonies built the solid foundation that I stand on today. It wasn't an overnight explosion that could have fizzled out quickly.......it was a slow but steady burn that has now become a constant flame.
Now don't get me wrong...... and I have needed to tend to this fire constantly to keep it burning. I have had my times where I have gotten luke warm and put Jesus on the back burner. When I reflect on those times........those were the times where I got cocky, thought I had it all together and could take over controlling my life.
Those also were the times that I fell flat on my face.
Thankfully, we serve a loving, forgiving Father who
So yes.....I still am a sinner, but now I am a sinner saved by God's grace.
So I think I will close with this:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
translated into Michelle lingo (it might not even be close in translation, but I like it):
Jesus loves the sinners. He also is into extreme stuff. He's into extreme makeovers. He took a wild partying 80's city livin' girl, complete with big hair and spandex......and turned her into to a Jesus loving' tie dye wearing, dready hair goat farmin' country gal.
(pssssssssst, um, that would be me)
Not "The End"......it's just The Beginning.
Peace and love~