For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
It has been said by many that Jesus was likely 33 years of age when He died, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven.
I do not consider myself anywhere near the prestige of our Lord. Not by any means. But this has challenged me, and is causing me to do a lot of praying and thinking.
You see, today is my birthday. As you may have guessed, this afternoon I will turn 33. I don’t know how this is possible, because I am almost certain that I just celebrated 23, but apparently I’m “wrong” and in “denial”. Well, according to my husband, anyway.
100 years ago, I would have probably not sat and pondered every year after turning 29 about what I have done with my life up until now, and what I have to show for it. I have a very loving, faithful, caring husband. I have 5 amazing kids that constantly have me thanking God for the privilege to be their mother. Right there are 6 accomplishments, and by far the most treasured. However, in our present time, without a degree or business accomplishment I am supposed to feel like a failure. A failure for my focus being on bringing my children up to know God and loving my husband with all of my heart.
I just can’t buy into that.
I will tell you where I do feel guilt though… I have not come anywhere close to what I could have and should have done for the Kingdom. Stubborn, introverted, procrastinating me has made excuse after excuse for what should have never been given a second thought. Jesus saved the world in 33 years. Me? I can’t even remember to save leftovers some days.
Yet… He loves me. He loves me so much and I can’t even fathom why. Psalms 139:17-18 says “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;” To think of someone that much. How much He loves us. The understanding is not even in my grasp. After my years of running, denial of His existence, self-destruction, and multitudes of other sins, He still wanted me. He called for me. When I turned to run back to Him, His arms were open wide and I could hear Him holler to me, “Run faster, Angie! Run! Don’t stop! Keep going! Run!”
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
So today, I’m putting the guilt away. God did not give my mother, who was never supposed to have children, a daughter so that she could grow up and mope. God did not cause my heart to start beating both times that it stopped while my mom labored with me with the intention of me giving up years later. He has not saved my life from many illnesses, accidents, and near misses so that I could say, “Whoops, too late. I’ll just sit here and regret every dumb decision until it’s all said and done.” Nope. He sure didn’t.
Instead I’m going to start doing those things that God has told me to do. I’m going to turn my back to fear and my face to Jesus. All of those horrible things that happened before today, they are no longer excuses, regrets, or things I am ashamed of because they are testimonies to the work that the Lord has done. They are small chapters in a very long story. My senses are going to be more alert to the Spirit so that I will be aware of just what exactly it is He wants to convey to me, because otherwise it is all pointless. It is ALL for Him. My life, my family, everything.
Next year, when it’s time for 34, this shame will not overcome me again. Thank you, God, for the grace you so freely offer through your only Son. You are the God of second, and 842, chances. So get ready, Lord, because I’m still running… and it’s a lot faster than before. I will not be stopping, looking to the side, or slowing down. Show me the way. It’s time to put this free will to good use.
P.s. Thanks for having me, Mom! Oh, and putting up with me. Love you!
In 1990 Jon Gibson released one of my favorite albums, Jesus Loves Ya. One of my favorite songs on the album is called Preacher Man. This song reminds me of my Dad, Bruce Ingle. When this album was released Dad had recently gotten his ministers license. Whenever I hear the song, I think of dad.
My dad was born in 1950. He says he came to know Jesus when he was the rottenest, most vile sinner at the age of 4 (Yes, he has that type of humor). He met my mom at Pentecostal Bible College in 1971 and was married in January of 1972. He got the best gift of his life, me (Sorry, Nate) in 1973. Then my brother came along in 1974. We grew up in Southern California. He was ornery, like my Poppy, and had a habit of hiding and scaring the life out of us. He was very patient about it too. One time he hid under Nate’s bed for over 2 hours to scare him. He has also done other things, that people in the church couldn’t quite believe until he started practical joking them!
Dad worked at a Rental yard for a long time, 18 years I think. He never wanted to become a pastor. His dad was a pastor, as was his Father-in-law, and he and mom agreed they were content just working in churches.
As we grew up, Dad passed along his love of music to Nate and me. The first time I ever sang with him was in Perris, Ca. I was very, very young, and we sang “I Get A Little Closer” by the Imperials. Dad played his guitar, and I held the mic, hidden behind the pulpit with my back to the congregation, and sang my little heart out. I’ve always loved singing with my dad.
When we became teenagers, Dad would always take Nate to baseball games, and me to concerts. He endured many Kim Boyce, Jon Gibson, Bryan Duncan, The Allies, etc. concerts. Dad likes a wide variety of music. The first concert he ever took us to was to see Jake Hess, JD Sumner, Rovie Lister, James Blackwood, and Rosie Rozell. I didn’t realize the history of Christian music that was in that room until I was older, but it was a great time.
My favorite place Dad and Mom would take us was Christian Nights at Knott’s Berry Farm. About 3 times a year, Knott’s held from 8 pm to 2 am a huge Christian concert. Dad, Nate, and I would go from concert to concert. One time while waiting for the Allies to play we couldn’t find dad; all of a sudden we looked on stage because people were starting to clap and there was dad walking the stage with Randy Thomas, who played the guitar. Pretty soon our friends were yelling, “Bruce, Bruce, Bruce.” Then the whole crowd was yelling his name. It was pretty funny.
Later the same night, we went to see DC Talk. Dad disappeared again. He climbed up a rock wall and lay on his side next to speaker be bopping to the music. Pretty soon Toby Mac strolled over and shook hands with him. My dad was pretty stinking cool.
Dad began in my teen years to feel a call to pastor. In 1993, he was elected to a church in Northern California in a town called Susanville. He and Mom have been pastors up here in Northeast California for 18 ½ years. I am happy to serve as Music Director under his leadership.
While growing up, Dad and Mom taught us how to have faith in God. Whether it was good times, or bad they always remained faithful. Thank you, Dad, for your unwavering faith and raising me to know God. I love you. Oh yeah, Happy birthday!!
The time of year is quickly approaching where we will be in full on Holiday mode. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are almost here! (I know, you want to slap me for bringing it up…) If you’re like me, you’re already thinking of Christmas crafts or working on them. You may have even started your gift shopping. You’re thinking of all the traditions you’ll be doing with your family…
But what about the rest of the year?
Do you have any traditions that you will pass on to your children that are either holiday related or just done every day? Something that they will say “We always did this when I was a lad, and now I want to do it with my children.” (Sorry, I tried to resist throwing in the word “lad” instead of “kid”, but couldn’t. I’m in a silly mood, sorry.)
Sure, there are the norms: Attending church, Bible reading, Birthday cakes, Christmas pies, Thanksgiving turkeys, and if you celebrate Halloween or Fall Harvest you’ll be attending a party or trick or treating. But I’m talking just… something else. Something that is yours?
This last Summer I read a lot of Homeschool blogs. I found that almost all of them have a party on the last weekend of Summer before school starts. This is one tradition I really want to pick up! Something else our family does is on July 3rd my husband tells our children the story of the Constitution. And then there is our Summer tradition of keeping a “Family Newspaper” of what we have going on in our lives. We also have a “movie” night each week where the kids make movies tickets and snacks and we pretend we’re at a theater.
In the Fall we decorate the house, always intend to visit the Apple orchard and Pumpkin Patch, and begin the countdown to Christmas. I have Summer and Christmas down, but all the other seasons are kind of… blah. This is a goal I want to work on for the sake of my legacy.
What about you? What traditions and celebrations do you have that are yours? Do you think traditions are important? I’d love to know!