“Brothers and sisters;

Put on, as God chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.

And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.

And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17

Once in a while something is said that resonates so deeply that I simply have to share it.  Tonight at church on the Feast of the Holy Family, and my birthday this was the second reading.  The words were so beautiful, and struck a chord deep in my soul.

I have been alive 35 years. I came early on the coldest day of the year.  I was the third child, the second daughter and they brought me home in a Christmas Stocking.   My skin was pale, almost see through, white as porcelain.  All these years later every scar, every stretch mark shines brightly on my translucent skin. Just like my skin, I live my life in an almost see through translucent way.

35 years later, I still want my Mom when I’m sick and I still cry when I say goodbye to my Dad. I met my husband when I was 17, and have been with him over 18 years — my life with him has been longer then my time without him and he is my soul mate.   35 years later, I’ve had 5 children but only brought four home. I have lost friends and have met friends that I can’t remember life without.  When I was little my best friends were my siblings, as an adult my best friends are still my siblings.

I worry too much, am overprotective, sensitive, and cry easy. I am so very flawed.  But I am chosen by God.  To be beloved and holy.

I wish I was much more than I am, prettier and thinner, more together.  But I have seen enough compassion, kindness, and gentleness to know how I should treat others and where God is leading me.

This year has been so hard.  For a very long time I lost sight of the Peace that should be in control and tried to take the reins myself.  Tried to worry things better.  Tried to be more than I was capable of.

35 years later this is what I know for sure…

When you love someone, tell them, show them. Be there.

Be compassionate to those who need love. You never know when it’s going to be you who needs to be shown kindness, compassion, who needs someone.

Forgive.  Forgive. Forgive.  There is never enough time. Say I’m sorry with humility.

Be thankful for the little things, for smeared kisses of jelly on your pants, to the big things – like newborn babies and good hair days.

Be thankful for Life with all its cracks.

Prioritize things that matter.  Family. Friends. Things you’re passionate about…because most of the other stuff – celebrity gossip, fitness blogs, and even social media, your stupid cell phone… someday they won’t matter…think of the things that do matter.

Go back to church in a church you feel at home, a place where God is present in your heart – in peace –in gratitude.  If there is one thing that has been my mainstay this year is my faith. Feeding my faith, showing up, praying on my knees, on my feet, and crying into my pillow, even searching on the darkest night.  God is always bigger then I hoped for, even in the hard things, and always gives me that bond of perfection. Of Love.

I pray that all of you, who read this know how incredibly beloved you are and please pray that I never forget either. We all need prayers, we all need healing, we all need each other.

We have been chosen for great things.  Big Huge things. What. A. Gift.  What a beautiful life.