Tomorrow is my thirty-fourth birthday. It feels weird to be that old (I know, I know, "old" is relative). I guess what I mean is: I feel much younger inside myself. Not necessarily in a good way. Still a bit too uncomfortable in my own skin...a sign of immaturity, I think.
Anyway, birthdays always kind of depress me. I don't want them to - I fight it every year - but every year a funk settles in around two days before the big day, only lifting several days beyond it. It feels spiritual, like some sort of weird attack. Like the enemy wants me to believe that I'm not worth celebrating. I call bulls**t on that, for the record, but I have to fight the funk nonetheless.
This year, my first year as a blog writer (something I never thought I would do), I'm marking my birthday publicly with this post. I have a tradition on birthdays. I always ask two questions:
1. What was your favorite thing about the last year?
2. What are you most looking forward to in the year to come?
If you're ever with me or near me (in the blogosphere) on your birthday, you'll most likely have these questions come your way. You can answer as generally or specifically as you want. They are meant to cause reflection, to elicit vision, purpose. For me, the answers must always be bathed in His presence, for that's how I try to live - in Him, with Him, for Him.
This year, these are my answers:
This past year was probably the most challenging of my life (even more challenging, I think, than the year my husband developed epilepsy). During it I became very, very sick, and I watched my daughter go through trauma after trauma (which affected the whole family, of course). We've all just started to recover - thank God - but we're still reeling from the effects of illness, injury, and more. It's hard to look back and see something good, if I'm honest, though I know that there are many good things in the midst of all the trauma.
So, I can not pick one favorite thing. True to form (for those of you who know me well), I have to list several. One of my favorite things is how loved I have felt by a certain Soli Deo Gloria leader we all know. She has loved me really, really well this year, faithfully walking alongside me through all the crap, supporting me in practical and impractical ways. I am thankful for her. In particular, she enabled me to be able to see a naturopath, which has kick-started the healing/recovery process. I'll never forget her obedience and love in that. Thank you, Jen.
Another favorite? My husband. I can't say enough here, so I'll try to keep it brief. We continue to get to know eachother five years into marriage and seventeen years into our relationship, and it just gets better every year. He is so wise and patient and loving. He walks me toward Christ daily, simply by being who he is. I am thankful for him.
I have loved watching my children grow. Again, this has been a challenging year: my sweet, precious little boy hit the terrible three's and started to drive me crazy; my littlest one had trauma after trauma to fight through. In spite of both of these things - or perhaps because of them - my relationships with each of them has grown...grittier. An interesting word choice, but a precise one. We have grinded eachother into greater purity. I grow because of them and they because of me. We stumble in our attempts to love eachother, but we always come back to center - that is, love. It has been amazing to watch these three year and eighteen month olds grow up. They have developed so much this year. I am thankful for them.
Last but not least, this has been the year of "living the dream". I have become a stay-at-home mom. I have become a writer. At long last, my vocational space has shifted into that which I have always wanted it to be, and I am so, so grateful. Now, if I'm honest, I feel kind of stupid even writing that "I'm a writer" because I'm not yet published, blah, blah, blah. But in my heart, I am one. It's how I spend my time; it's what I dream of achieving; it's my goal and calling and act of obedience. So, this year, I'm praying for fruit to come out of this obedience. But I get ahead of myself....
Lily's continued healing. She is developmentally caught up, but now has some physical therapy issues to grapple with, along with her continued, wonky vitamin D issue. I pray health and wholeness over her.
Watching Lily and Gunnar learn how to love one another. They are getting to the age where they can actually interact (instead of Gunnar getting to do whatever he wants and Lily just observing him). I pray kindness and love and tenderness to blossom between them, that they would learn to care for one another from the very beginning of their life-long relationship. Let it be Lord!
That my husband's heart desires would be fulfilled. I yearn for this.
That I would get a publishing contract for one of my writing projects. This is a specific, deep desire - so intense that I physically ache when I think about it. I want to have faith for this - I want to believe that this is not all for naught. Most days, I do have faith. Some days, I doubt. Oh Lord, help my unbelief - let me stand in the truth that you call us into good gifts, into places where fruit is produced and not just dreamed about. I want to feel like what I'm doing is real, and not a waste of time. Please help me stay disciplined, especially during the summer where my time for writing will shrink.
That I will continue to heal, to get stronger, to live a clean life (clean eating, clean products in my home, and more - I'm just beginning to learn what this means).
That someday - maybe by next May - I'll be able to participate in a triatholon. THAT would be a miracle! : )
There you have it, friends. My birthday wishes for myself. Thanks for walking this journey with me. Love to you all, Jenny