“What are you thankful for?” my husband asked me last night as we were about the fall asleep. A simple question; the best birthday gift he could have ever given me.
Yesterday was my 23rd birthday, and I was feeling the distance from home more than usual. Everything that has made my birthday feel like my birthday is far away from me right now. My family, my friends, the places I like to go… and of course the fact that sweet baby girl is trying to cut a tooth right now probably made the day a little more difficult than it would have normally been. But there was something else there…something ugly lurking underneath the “understandable” disappointment.
I was disappointed because I felt like I was entitled to a birthday free from poopy diapers and dirty clothes and waiting for the maintenance man. A birthday full of all the things that I WANTED to do WHEN I wanted to do them. I felt entitled to all my presents arriving on time and cards in the mail and hugs from friends and maybe a night out on the town.
I missed the point. What is a birthday anyway but a chance to say THANK YOU? It shouldn’t be a “gimme gimme” day… the Lord has already graciously blessed me with 23 years of life! BEAUTIFUL LIFE that I am meant to celebrate each year at this time! And not only that, but he has blessed me with salvation through his Son Jesus. He has blessed me with a wonderful, handsome and hard working husband; with a beautiful baby girl who is healthy and whole and perfectly formed; with friends and family who, even though they were far away, sent many notes of love and encouragement via facebook, some called, and one even spent time out of her busy days to send an email, even though it meant that one of her children made a mess of their yoghurt while the other decided to eat a live bug! (It’s just extra protein right Sheila?) People everywhere took time out of their busy busy schedules to send me a note to say that they love and miss me! And my Mom was just here this past weekend and blessed us with a nice date night and with sweet presents, besides the fact that I’m not sure I even did a single dish the entire time she was here.
And here I am feeling disappointed? As if I haven’t already been so richly blessed? As if I wasn’t the wealthiest woman in the whole wide world?
I have been trying to figure out what this season of life is supposed to hold for me. And though I know this isn’t the whole picture of why I’m here, I do know that the Lord has been graciously making me aware of some sin in my life over the past month and a half. It’s always hard to see yourself that way; it’s hard to look in the mirror and see the ugliness lurking beneath the surface. But just when I am tempted to despair, the Lord speaks to me through his word.
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” Proverbs 3:11-12
Okay. So I am 23 today, when I was 22 the day before yesterday. And so what if my birthday felt like just another day… it was another day! Another beautiful day where the sun shone, and the weather was a gift and the Lord caused the maintenance man to come at just the right time so Ellie’s nap wasn’t interrupted by the sound of the fire alarms being tested (something I was anxious about). The Lord gave me sweet time with my husband, and a wonderful phone call from my brother and every breath that I breathed was breathed in freedom and in peace knowing that I was safe and loved. And even if this is the only part of the picture that I can see right now, I know that the Lord is disciplining me and refining me in this season. And the really good news is that he is doing this because he DELIGHTS IN ME!
I fell asleep last night listing the things that I was thankful for. Thank you Willy for pointing me heavenward when I am sinking in the quagmire of myself. Thank you Lord for 23 beautiful years.