All my life, I've been growing up.  I was learning to ride a bike, enduring braces, going to prom, graduating from high school, finishing college, finding a job, buying a car.  Then, after a couple of years of supporting myself followed by two years of marriage under my belt, it hit me:  I'm a bona fide adult.

I'm 26.  But I promise I'm not about to share a quarter-life crisis with you.  Let's, instead, call it a quarter-life reflection, shall we?

CIRCLE OF LIFE

There is a treasured photograph of my parents sitting with three other sets of newlywed friends.  There are a couple of babies in a few laps, I being one of them.  And I look at this picture knowing that I am now in their stage of life.  I am now the newlywed adult with newlywed friends having children.   Yet, I recall quite easily the days of recess, Fruit Roll-Ups, TGIF on ABC, and the organizational genius of the Trapper Keeper.  So, it's sometimes hard for me to believe that I can say, "Remember 15 years ago when?"  I've watched what I'm wearing in my high school photos go out of style.  I tell teenagers, "When I was in school, I didn't have a cell phone."  Those parents in the treasured photograph are now wearing reading glasses.  

Last week, I sang in a funeral service and heard family members celebrate a life well-lived.  The next day, I attended a baby shower and watched as friends and family celebrated a new life beginning.  Life and death, the circle of life, the seasons of life, time, time marching on...these are the thoughts that have occupied my mind lately.

MOVING QUICKLY

I am the type of person who absolutely loves the current season of life.  I look fondly on past seasons and look forward to future seasons, but am completely content in the current season.  So, when seasons come to an end, it's always bittersweet.  I miss college, but I absolutely love being married.  I love being married while I'm greatly looking forward to having children one day, Lord willing.  And so it goes. 

My sister gave me a Christmas Memory Book when I got married.  My husband and I wrote down our recent Christmas memories a couple of months ago and taped in our holiday card.  We flipped forward looking at all the blank pages ahead.  We have no idea what our life and family will look like, but how exciting to be here at the beginning together...and to wonder...and to watch it grow.  I am keenly aware that in the blink of an eye those pages will be filled and WE will be the ones in reading glasses.  It just seems time is moving so quickly.

Could it be that the more life we have behind us, the faster we feel we're rolling down the road - a snowball effect, perhaps?  Or do the added responsibilities of adulthood make time seem to travel more quickly?  Or is it that our culture today is so used to instant gratification and keeping busy, scheduled lives that time zips right by us?  And what is to be gained from all this pondering?!

BUT A VAPOR

Time may be moving quickly and I might find I'm an empty-nester "tomorrow."  I SO do not want to look back on my life, years from now, and think, "Well, I had good intentions.  I wanted to use my time wisely, I hoped to read Scripture daily with my children, I meant to spend time serving/loving/growing/fillintheblank, but I just got so busy and it all flew by so quickly."  No, I want to LIVE!  I want to give my heart, mind, and soul wholly to Jesus and live to honor Him with my time!

The truth is, though, those years are not even promised.  James 4:14 says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes."  In the grand scheme of time, and in the even grander scheme of eternity, our average 80 years is a blip on the radar.  But God still cares about each life and each moment and He allows us to use our "blip" in profound ways: to seek to know Him, to worship and glorify Him, to build relationships, to serve others, to love others, to impact generations to come.  My "blip" may last another 60 years or it might come to an end tomorrow.  I want to live in light of this truth.  Now, first, that does not mean that every day will be filled with "life-changing" moments.  I mean, I still have to do the laundry.  But, I can seek to honor Him in all my moments - big or small, grand or mundane (Colossians 3:17).  Secondly, striving to live with an eternal perspective does not mean I won't ever struggle again with laziness or getting too busy for my own good or falling into the "good intentions syndrome."  But, God's grace is sweet.  And the beauty of it is, no matter how we've lived our lives thus far - no matter what we did yesterday even - TODAY is a new day and it is all we have.  It is never too late to LIVE!

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." 

Ephesians 5:15-16