Derrick gave me a letter today and it echoes my feelings so perfectly that I want to share some of it here:
"So I began to think about what we are actually celebrating. Why do we celebrate the fact that we entered into the world? It’s not like we did anything to make that happen. We did not accomplish any great feat in being born. Rather just the opposite, we were completely helpless and useless when we came out. Yet we celebrate ourselves like we did some great service to the world by being born.
So thinking about this I think we can come down on a very basic and seemingly obvious point. That birthdays should be a celebration of God. He was the one who brought us here. He is the One who has guided you and brought you to this point. This should be a celebration of God’s plan for your life; an opportunity to look back at where He has brought you and to see what He has taught you along the way. God has brought you through so much and has brought you exactly to this moment in time, where He is bringing about His will in your life."
I can't even explain how much I loved reading this, because it is EXACTLY what God has put on my heart. I really don't like the concept of birthdays much. That's something that's changed about me recently, probably in the last year or so. We started talking more about birthdays when thinking about what we would do with Chloe. We talked about how our own experience with birthdays growing up was that there was a sense of entitlement and "the world revolves around me" associated with becoming a year older. I really don't know who came up with that idea but I am personally not a fan. So as we discussed how we would teach her, it made me cringe at the idea of my own birthday coming up. I would have been content to let this day go by and not have anyone know about it, but of course I knew that wasn't possible. So then a friend asked me today if I was 30 and at first I said something to the effect of how I was sad to be leaving my 20s. But my very next thought, which I know was from my dear Father, was this: "Look at all I brought you through! Look where I have you now! Start this new season in your life with joy, because it's exactly where I want you. And I'm using you right here, right now." Then a few minutes later, I read the letter Derrick wrote. And I was just overwhelmed with how God was speaking to my heart.
I've been struggling for 3 years with this. For a long time I honestly did NOT want to be here, and sometimes I still don't. I'd really love it if we just sold everything and moved to another country, preferably in South America, and just served God there for the rest of our days. Derrick and I both dream of that often, but realistically it won't happen anytime soon. Maybe someday, but what about now? Do we just wait it out, "get by", until God brings us this desire of our hearts? Of course not! What a waste of the time He has given us right NOW. And now is the most important, because it's all we have been given with certainty. Tomorrow is an unknown, because we have no idea what direction our lives will be taken in. But today is tangible, and we CAN serve Him in the moment.
So today IS a celebration. But it's not for me. It's not my life, my accomplishments, or my abilities. Today I celebrate my GOD, the one who has given me 30 years of life. The ONE who has been my only constant, and will remain my only constant for eternity. He alone deserves praise and recognition for the way He has loved me, and extended to me His unending grace. I celebrate the way He has never left me alone, never given up on me, never failed to provide for my needs. Thankfulness overwhelms me for the way He has just taken hold of me and has promised to never let go.
So if you wished me a happy birthday today, thank you!! I do appreciate it. It is a good day, because ultimately I know where my joy comes from. And the life He has given me is something I can celebrate every single day. And if I am still on earth for another decade, my prayer is that I spend every single moment of it bringing glory to the One who made me.