It’s my birthday. I get to spend it at the beach and I feel very blessed. I’m 60 years old; it feels so weird! So, as some of you know, I’ve been thinking about the passing of time, aging, children growing, etc. a lot lately, As we were driving to the beach a few days ago, we went through the town I grew up in. I noticed that the feelings coming up were positive this time, where as other times we’ve passed through it’s been negative. We drove by the house I grew up in, my grandmothers house, the town I was born in, and along the roads I rode my bike on. I told stories to my daughter and granddaughter of the fun things I use to do, and the crazy things too. I felt healing sweep over me and the Spirit reminded me again and again how He was always there. The times I would race my bike down the hills never giving a second thought to oncoming traffic—he was there. The summer days I put my dog in the bike basket and rode to my grandmothers house, miles away–He was there. The many days I sat home alone, or felt afraid at night, or confused about my life-He was always there. I use to climb the mountain in front of our house and sit in a tree. I would dream about running away, or even killing myself, secrets I never voiced to anyone. He would comfort me and walk me through deep valleys. At the time, I didn’t recognize Him. I hadn’t even heard of Him. There was no belief in Him, but He was there.
I didn’t know then that there was more, so much more. I believed I would feel lost forever, and just alone. I was wrong. I can’t say that healing was quick, although I do have some of those “suddenly” stories. Mostly though it has been steps forward and then backwards. It has been slow realizations as I wade through the deep pain, disappointments, loss, fears, and lies. Life has been riddled with questions, wonderings, doubts, disbelief, lies, rejection, trauma, and hopelessness. Yet, even then He has been there. He is a God that blesses, I thought He was a God of punishment, judgment, and shame. I didn’t know He rejoiced over me, that He was singing over me, or that his love for me was beyond measure.
He showed himself through very specific people. My high school English teacher who would come to see me in my dorm room and just sit with me. She saved my life many times just by being there. My high school dorm dean showed me the love of a mother, patience, kindness, and unconditional love. She taught me about hope. My husband, always there with love, support, and kindness. Friends that have stayed through out the years, and my children, each of them carries Jesus and I’ve learned so much from them.
I could talk about the pain, and I think it’s healthy to remember where we came from and to testify of the miracles that God has graciously showered upon us. Today, on my birthday, I am testifying of the numerous blessings in disguise. The incredible ways that God has flipped the pain into joy, the loss into abundance, the rejection and disappointment into acceptance and hope. He has heard my cry and healed severe brokenness. He has infused peace into the chaos and confusion. He has built a leader from a frightened coward. He has given me the desire to love and the ability to walk out that desire. Believe me, all of this is a miracle! All a blessing wrapped around trials.
When I was young I didn’t dream of a big family; or a lot of friends. I didn’t know I had the option. Now, I have five amazing children. I’ve also lost five. At the time of loss it was hard to see the gain. It was hard to be thankful, and I don’t think I was. I was distraught and confused and angry. Yet, He was there with me the entire time, walking me through the questions, patiently waiting for me to rejoice in the upcoming blessings. Loss is hard. Now, I know that it is not forever. There will come a day that I will have 10 children gathered around me along with their families, and the blessings will be far beyond what I am experiencing even now. There will be an abundance of friends, and the ones I’ve lost will be multiplied. I’m believing in this promise.
I get to spend my birthday with my daughter, granddaughter and husband. This is a joy. I get to walk the beach, talk to God, write in my journal, shop, and just enjoy. We get to have dinner on the beach and watch the sunset. Yes, I get to walk in the blessings with the realization that they grew from heartache because the God I serve chooses me.