That's me circa 1993. Even though this photo was taken close to 25 years ago I can tell you that it was taken at the Ohio State Youth Convention that I grew up attending as a middle school and high school student. Great memories of van rides, catching up with camp friends and being challenged to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus.
I found this photo a while back and pinned it on my fridge for my kids to enjoy for a while. As I reached for my egg omelet ingredients this morning, it clicked with me that I'll be headed back to this very convention today with a group of my own students.
As I reflect on the close to 25 year time span since this picture was taken I am thankful for the journey that God has brought me on. I was able to finish high school, experience God's calling on my life to a career that I know he mapped out just for me. I was able to attend college, get married to my best friend, buy a house, have two amazing kids and do life with an amazing set of family and friends. But here's the best part, God's still not finished with me. This is perhaps what I am most thankful for, because to be honest, sometimes I'm not happy with how I'm turning out. I mean, I'm an okay person, I try to honor God with how I live my life, I try to take care of my family, I try to be a great husband, a great father and a great pastor. But the reality is that I'm not where I need to be and thankfully God knows this and is still working on me.
It reminds me of the song from my children's church days called, "He's still working on me".
He's still working on me
To make me what I need to be
It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars
The sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
'Cause He's still working on me
There really ought to be a sign upon my hear
Don't judge him yet, there's an unfinished part
But I'll be better just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.
In the mirror of His Word
Reflections that I see
Makes me wonder why H never gave up on me
But He loves man as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He's the potter, I'm the clay
I always loved this song and even then I understood, as best I could, the God was still working on me. What I don't think I understood then though, was that the process would be a life long journey.
Paul talks about this idea in Philippians 1:6. God is not finished with you. We should of course all be thankful for the journey that God has brought us on thus far but often we forget to be thankful for what's still to come. Allow God to continue shaping you and molding you into who He wants you to be. Take a look back through your photos from years ago and be reminded that greater things are yet to come. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.