Birthday Wishes for You
I never knew a “Jesus Year” was a thing until my friend Kim helped me find the beauty of turning 33 last year. Remembering this was age He died, I wasn’t encouraged until we rejoiced in the park over the truth that He resurrected. He didn’t stay dead ya’ll. Insert praise hands!
I turn 34 on Saturday, and naturally, I’ve been in reflection mode all week. Tears of joy and tears of sadness have been spread up and down Atlanta highways. My life is full in some of the most important ways, and I am generally happy. My story is not for the faint of heart. I'm proof that God's mercy, grace, and undying love didn't stop in the Bible. My story is messy, encouraging, confusing, heartbreaking, filled with grace and grit, and overflowing with joy. I have awe and adoration at what God has done, pain as I desire closure over some chapters, questions as I wait for my desires to intersect with God's will, peace that surpasses anything I want to understand, and hope at the way it will all be made beautiful in its time.
As I prepare to close my eyes and make a wish over my ice cream cake, I want you to know that my wishes are actually prayers for you. I don’t know where you find yourself in the journey from glory to glory, but I pray the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called us. I pray that you are filled with this simple truth I’ve discovered in my reflection: you can hope and hurt at the same moment because God dwells in both. I’m encouraged that the same God who sets us on the mountaintop, sees us when we find a path in the valley.
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite”.
(Isaiah 57:15 c-d)
That’s the hope and essence of the gospel isn’t it? There’s nowhere God doesn’t dwell.
In 34 years, my life hasn't always looked the way I planned, but it's developed my character in ways getting everything I wanted never could. I would tell my younger self to have patience in the trials. I've come to know God intimately because of them. I've learned to wrestle and surrender. I've known brokenness that's filled me with compassion. I've been reckless but found God to be so faithful.
I would tell my older self, and I hope you lean in too, something else I’ve discovered in my reflection: As we wait with unfulfilled desires, I pray that we can believe there are many undiscovered dreams as we trust God to write the story. I pray that you feel His unending grace for today. A grace that covered you when you needed it most and a grace that carries you forward into things yet seen.
Whatever you’re waiting on, be assured that all promises of God are Yes and Amen!
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 1:20