Monday, May 17, 2010

The Big 3-0

In keeping with my tradition of writing a blog post for my birthday, (see here, here, here and here) I present to you the latest in the series. 

The Big 3-0.

Today I finally turned 30. Now for some people this milestone is a cause for weeping and gnashing of teeth, but not for me. I love birthdays because they provide a reason for celebration, and I appreciate them even more because they provide us the occasion to look back and see what God has done in the preceding year.  I've never really minded that I would be another year older, and in fact I always thought the 30th birthday was kind of special, since it was at this age that Christ started His public ministry.  Thirty seemed like a turning point, but not in a bad way. It was an age in which one can look back and see how far they've come, and look forward to all that God can still do.

This birthday though, as much as I appreciate the opportunity for reflection, it's hard to see past the last six weeks, when my life was changed by my father's sudden and unexpected passing. I never dreamed that I would be celebrating this day without him, and as it was always my dad who worked so hard to make sure my birthday was special, it was especially bittersweet. However, it was my dad who taught me that pretty much any situation in life was analogous to a baseball game, and as any baseball fan knows, when a batter is 3-0, that's a good place to be.  I pondered this, and I thought about the days and weeks gone by, as well as the days and weeks ahead. Here are my reflections: 

1) Don't be afraid to swing. When a batter is 3-0, they can risk going after a ball that they normally might be too afraid to chase. In much the same way, in life we have to recognize that as much benefit as caution can provide, it can also inhibit us from experiencing the unexpected. Look for those opportunities when you are up in the count, and get a little out of your comfort zone. It may not turn out how you desire, but that's o.k., you still have two more pitches to go. Don't let your fears drive your pursuit of God's plans.

2) Wait for your pitch.  The converse of the preceding point, is that when a batter is up 3-0, they can be picky about what pitches they take. You can't be afraid to swing, but you don't have to go chasing after anything that's close. In life, we tend to rush after a good opportunity, afraid to wait for God to present us with the opportunity He wants us to take. Don't go chasing someone else's dream, or try to walk the path that God intends for another. Wait for Him. Knowing that it's His desire for you to be great in His kingdom, not merely an average player.

3) It's o.k. to take the walk - A walk is a free base. It can turn into a run scored just like a swing for the fences can. However, it means that your teammates will have to bring you home. Build up a community of people that are on your team, that are working alongside you to bring about God's will for your life. Have godly people in your life that will cheer you as you run the bases, and who celebrate along with you when you finally reach home.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the game. And for the celebration when I join my daddy at Home.



Blogger evilted said...

Alright, that's about as good as they come. Well written. Happy birthday. :)

May 17, 2010 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger N.A. Winter said...

Ah, thanks. :)

May 17, 2010 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger AndysWife said...

MAN! You're smart and clever. Loved it. Happy Birthday.

May 17, 2010 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger N.A. Winter said...

Double thanks. :) Whatever cleverness there is, it is from my dad. He was SO witty.

May 17, 2010 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Helen said...

natalie, that was beautifully written, and wonderfully inspired. i was saddened to hear about your dad, but so encouraged by the words you & rebecca have posted. god is very good indeed :)

May 18, 2010 at 12:33 AM  
Blogger Brad and Cheri said...

Your Dad would love this analogy - and it is very good advice.

May 18, 2010 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger N.A. Winter said...

Thanks Helen and Mom! You are both so sweet.

May 18, 2010 at 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i'm sorry for that deep ache in your heart that taints special days like this. that missing is raw and real and ever-present... you are digging deep and gaining some incredible perspective in the midst of it though, which says so much about your character and your heart.

i hope your big 3-0 birthday was better than you anticipated, and that the year is filled with God's unexpected hand at work...

May 18, 2010 at 11:29 PM  

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