On the Occasion of my 34th Birthday

Today is my 34th birthday.

I don’t say that to call attention to myself or to beg for birthday greetings but rather out of disbelief that I’m already 34. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a retrospective of the previous year but I have done that before. I guess I felt like there just wasn’t enough to talk about that would justify a post. If I were to do a post about my 33rd year on this planet, I think it would make up a large word count.

The only question I would ask myself before making such a post this time would, “where do I start?”

Most people who read this site already know me, at least in some way. The rest of you poor souls who find my ramblings click on a page that somehow pops up in a Google search (If this is you, I’m grateful that you found me and I hope you will come back in case I post something interesting!). For the majority, it would simply be a rehashing of events that have impacted me forever. Some of those events have been things that rocked me and Jessica to the core. Some, such as many of the EMS calls I ran in the past year, are things that I would much rather forget. Others have been wonderful things that I will treasure forever. No matter where any given event falls in that spectrum, one thing is for sure: My 33rd year has been one that will always be remembered and one that has impacted me in many ways.

Throughout everything that has happened – from Hannah’s birth and death to graduating from Liberty University and on to uprooting my and Jessica’s lives and moving to Kentucky – I have been reminded of the amazingly wonderful people who are in my life. My family simply rocks. My friends are amazing. My clergy colleagues – the vast majority of whom are included in the friends category – have been extremely supportive. The people I have been blessed to serve as their pastor have loved me and Jessica more than I could ask. As much as I have ministered to others, all of these people have ministered to me even more. In spite of change and of some events happening which were sad, I count myself blessed and I have much joy.

Throughout all of the events of the last year – good, bad, and everything in between – God has been a constant source of comfort and joy. Throughout His word, I am reminded of His constant presence and how He provides peace. Sunday, I’m preaching on resurrection and the promise that God always breaths new life into things that are dead. Whether those things are our souls, our lives or a world gone crazy, God always breathes new life into dead things. He truly makes beautiful things out of dust and this certainly has included the events of the last year. God has redeemed the bad things and increased the blessing of the good. My cut truly overflows with the outpouring of His grace, mercy and peace.

God has breathed new life into my dry bones!

I am embracing my 34th year with wide open arms. This year will see me continue on my new journey as pastor of Shiloh UMC and will also see me officially become a student at Asbury Theological Seminary. Only God knows what else awaits us. One thing I know for sure: I’m ready to run this race.

Welcome, 34th year. Let’s rock this.

Jonathan

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