Earlier this week, author Barbara Neal Roose, a fellow writer with Books & Such Literary Agency whose encouraging blogs and podcasts have really blessed me—check her out here!—posted a special blog in honor of her birthday.
She shared her struggles with past birthdays, how the Lord has helped her come to rejoice over them, lessons she’s learned this past year and how she’s writing a letter to herself for next year. I’d encourage you to read what she says.
But it got me thinking, as my birthday falls this month also. So I thought today, I’d share a few similar thoughts with you.
Unlike Barb, birthdays haven’t usually been a real struggle for me. Growing up, I loved birthdays—my creative mama would always plan some wonderful themed party, which I found even more exciting than the gifts. One year I got to be Laura Ingalls at a Little House on the Prairie fete, complete with square dancing, “cambric tea” to drink, corn on the cob to eat, and sunbonnets for all my friends. Another year, we all wore tutus and put on a front yard rendition of the Waltz of the Flowers. And still another, we dressed up as the March girls from Little Women and played croquet and “Rigamarole” in the backyard.
As I grew older, the festivities naturally tamed, though I had a “Jane Austen ball” with a few friends for my 21st birthday—again in the trusty yard. A few harder birthdays came in the next few years, as I advanced in my 20s without sensing clear direction for my life or (I confess most urgent to my heart at that time) any promise of a man to share that life with.
Ironically, as the years passed, the birthdays became easier. I began to realize how blessed I was in this season of getting to be home with my family, while working and writing on the side, and to treasure the special days for what they were—even if I still struggled at times.
And then, by my 30th birthday, there was Anthony. 🙂
Looking back over this past year, my first full year of married life, it’s hard to distill into words all I’ve learned. Mostly I’m aware of how far I still have to go, but here are a few thoughts that rise to mind:
- I’ve learned how inadequate and prone to mistakes I am, even to hurting people I love most. But I’ve also learned more of the fathomless depths of God’s grace.
- I’ve learned the Lord will always, always help us when we call on Him. Maybe not immediately, at least it might not feel like it. But He always, always will.
- I’ve learned that marriage, and teaching, and life, require more courage than I might ever have thought, even for the little day to day crises. But I’ve also learned that He can make me brave, even when I’m afraid. And we truly can do all things through Him who gives us strength.
- I’ve learned—especially this summer—that it’s okay to stop and rest, to take a walk or sit in bed and read a bit or relax on the sofa and watch a good BBC TV episode over lunch. That I can’t always get done everything I want to get done, but that it’s okay. I need to acknowledge my limitations, and give myself grace, as the Lord does—for He remembers we are dust. (Psalm 103)
So, what about my hopes for this next year?
- I want to learn to trust the Lord more, and worry less.
- I want to progress in being healthier, in body and soul.
- I want to finish this new novel I’ve started working on! It’s contemporary romantic suspense, a new genre for me…perhaps I can share more soon. 🙂
- I want to learn to listen better, to the Lord and to others. Not just hearing, but to heart. And listening to Jesus, quieting my heart before Him, rather than making my prayers a one-sided conversation.
What about you? Do you have any special birthday memories? If you have a birthday this summer (or another time!), do you have any special lessons you’ve learned this year or hopes for the year to come? I’d love to hear your thoughts!