There is so much more to every item listed here. There is good and bad in this list. This list isn't just the life that the Mercers live, but that everyone lives. Having a type of anniversary can make you look back and reflect. Reflection sometimes scares me. Looking back at all these things makes me smile, makes me smh (Mom, that means "shaking my head"), reminds me of sorrow, and gives me the George Bailey Syndrome. George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" wonders if it even matters that he had lived and his guardian angel, Clarence, shows him some real truth. That is why it scares me the most. I truly wonder have I done anything that has furthered the kingdom, helped the people I preach to each week, strengthened my family, given enough of myself to the Lord. My default mode is to be excited about what is on the horizon and keep going because of what is still to come. I love anticipation, vision casting, and moving toward a goal. And although I know the value of processing and evaluation, reflecting on what has happened can be a scary proposition.
Which is why reflection is a discipline for me and so many others who live life similarly to me. Last night and today I am reflecting on 3 years. It has been my first 3 years to preach. This year is my 16th year in full-time ministry and my 20th year of year-round ministry. I really cannot imagine doing anything else. And as scary as it is to probe this list above and wonder have I done anything with my life? I know that through the fires and through the celebrations I am still upheld by God. He is still using me. I have a wife that loves and supports me, kids that adore me, a job that I love waking up to each morning, a ministry that helps me see into myself and into God, and Kingdom purposes that are beyond my fears, inadequacies, and skills. James Bryan Smith says that "We live in the unshakable Kingdom of God" And he's right. So whether I am casting a vision for tomorrow or reflecting and examining yesterday God is at work in mighty ways seen and unseen. Hopefully by disciplining myself to reflect I will be able to see where God has worked in mighty ways which will thrust me into places he is at today and join God in that work and still give fire to the dreams of tomorrow.
Thank you to those who have walked with me and my family these past 3 years. I need you and still need you. We love you! I am thankful for the Holy Spirit that draws us together and especially to the ONE, Jesus Christ. To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen!