I love seeing all the snapshots from the decade challenge. I mean, do you people even age? I have not seen one set of photos where I thought someone should have re-thought their participation. Every single one of you grows more beautiful with age!

Despite my distrust in having my photo taken, your photos inspired me to jump in and play along. With ease, I found a snapshot from 10 years ago that was ok, so the only thing left to do was to snap a selfie of today. But I found myself deleting them as fast as I could take them, like a machine gun firing off rounds of nope, nope, and nope. All for different reasons; mainly too many prominent wrinkles, too many grey and wild hairs sticking up, etc., etc..I finally just gave up and went about my business at The Walmart.

It soon realized that one innocent selfie session was instigating an entire dialog I was having with myself. “Your face looks like it’s been etched deeper than Grand Canyon.” “You walk around looking like the living dead that hasn’t known a good night’s rest in over a decade.” “Yoga pants, really?” “Everything on your body seems to have fallen an octave or two…..some three.” I was incidentally on the coffee aisle when I snapped to and heard myself think “Everything about you is ugly.” ….Really? Eeevvvrryyything? At that point I decided to disengage. Good heavens!

Here’s the thing: sometimes we have a tendency to focus a lot of energy on what and where we are lacking. Whatever we’re missing, whatever we need, whatever isn’t measuring up—that’s what we pay attention to, perhaps even obsess over. The glass may be half full—or even 90 percent full—but we really aren’t very happy with any degree of emptiness that’s there.

That was a wake up call to me so I forced myself to refocus on the cards I was actually holding.

Here are the top ten really great hands that have been played well in my life over the last decade:

1. Jesus. I’ve learned about the greatest love that life…and death…has to offer.

2. I’m still alive to tell the story. I’ve learned to never hesitate when I should act.

3. I’m 23 years and counting, still married to my partner in crime. I’ve learned that sometimes, good things don’t come easy but are so worth a good fight.

4. I’ve helped raise five wonderful and kind human beings. I’ve learned the importance of investment and the meaning of purpose.

5. I became a grandmother x 2. I’ve learned that the cycle of life is a gift and all we truly need is love.

6. I have the greatest tribe of friends that have individually faced some of life’s most difficult circumstances. I’ve learned that we don’t get to control life but together we can raise each other up and grab ahold of it’s healing goodness.

7. The days have taught me to be intentional with my time and my calling. I’ve learned to have patience with time. I have also learned that we all have a choice in what we choose to do with it.

8. I have failed and made a fool of myself too many times to count over the last decade but I’ve learned that sometimes the most profound failing can bring about the greatest success.

9. I’ve traveled and scattered pieces of my heart in many wonderful places around this world. But I’ve learned that no voyage is sweeter than the one home and home is the only place my heart should ever be planted.

10. I’ve started page one of that book I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to fight yourself for a dream. I’m learning everyday that nothing is impossible.

So ok, ok, perhaps the scales hit a little differently than they did ten years ago. That was the end and lasting result of broken bones after having a really fun time with my two best friends. I’m not sure I would trade that time in lieu of said end result. Sure, I have wrinkles, my slap back is that I refer to them as worthy battle scars. No my body isn’t gonna win fitness completions, but it did carry, nourish and continues to provide. I can still dance and laugh like it’s 1999 but I admittedly have no desire to hang with the big dawgs.

So at the end of the day, it has nothing to do with what’s seen on the outside and absolutely everything with what’s on the inside; our hearts. I like to think of mine as an old cast iron skillet, worn but better with time and seasoning. I’m not gonna get twisted over a little rust or missing ingredients but rather, excited about the scrubbing down and the refining fire that will always be brewing. I’ve learned to look forward to the unknown deliciousness that will be thrown into the mix next.

Today, I failed for a few minutes. But I understand that God will never ask us how much faith we lack but looks instead at the mustard seed we do have. He starts with whatever is there. It’s a profound lesson, and life and it’s perspective changes when we learn it.

Miracles come in whatever God does through the offerings you give him, however insufficient they are. All that’s required for His power to work in your weakness is for you to have weakness. That’s a piece of cake. We all automatically qualify because we all have them.

So for all of you struggling to find your beauty over the last decade, remember this: faith, friendships, laughter, empathy, well-being, wisdom, happiness, storytelling, blessing counting and love are the some of the smallest mustard seeds that, with God’s grace, only get better with time.

Faithfulness in small things—in bringing God whatever you have with the expectation He’ll do something with it—leads to greater things. Never lament what you’re lacking. Offer what you have. Then watch what God does. Here’s to the next decade of life and growth in realizing what a beauty YOU truly are!

What’s the greatest thing life has taught you over the last decade? Share with me!

Below is my answer to the delimma of the Decade Challenge; a few snapshots from some of the most beautiful moments in my life over the last 10 years.