I remember as a child counting down the days until my birthday and eagerly anticipating a homemade raspberry pie, presents, and a day filled with birthday cheer. I even added the “1/2” tag whenever I told my age because it sounded older, smarter, and one day closer to my next birthday. Then somewhere along the line I grew up and realized that getting older didn’t quite have the allure and excitement as birthdays of old.
In fact, if the truth be told, I think it’s safe to say that we could all just do away with birthdays after 40 and be just fine.
As I have thought about this over the last few days, I have asked myself a number of times—why is it that we’re tempted as adults to shy away from a special day of celebration?
Perhaps it’s the gray hairs and wrinkles and slowing metabolism? Or maybe it’s the yearly reminder that we’re getting older and that life is just marching on? Or possibly it’s just the fear of the future and the unknown?
Birthdays have a way of bringing all these things to the surface causing us to wish that time would stand still and that we could just stay right where we are at…young and vivacious…energetic and care-free…exempt from the hardships of the future.
But here’s what God has been speaking into my heart all week—what if we chose to see each birthday through a different lens? Rather than seeing it from a context of life beginning the downward slope, what if we made the choice to see every day, especially a birthday, as a GIFT from God? A new year of life? A new day to reflect on ALL the YEARS of BLESSINGS we have already had and a new opportunity to look to the future with anticipation for all the blessings to come?
I have a feeling that choosing to focus on the blessings would not only change our hearts but could radically change our lives.
Ann Voskamp so eloquently describes it as this:
“There is so much joy in seeing how God uses our simple act of noticing the blessings He bestows all around us to transform our lives and the lives of those around us…” Here’s how you do it: “Praise Him for the unexpected and the unlikely, for the daily and the difficult, and the graces in disguise. The more you count, the more gifts you will see. Do not disdain the small. The moments add up, and we might come to believe it—the whole earth is FULL of His GLORY!” ~One Thousand Gifts
So, here’s to another birthday. Another year of life. Another opportunity to praise my God for life, for family, for friends, for health, and for ALL that He has done for me. Today I am choosing to CELEBRATE—with a list of birthday blessings, 43 to be exact! And here’s what I am finding:
There’s no room for birthday blues when I am enthusiastically embracing Birthday Blessings!
- A personal relationship with a God who loves me.
- A loving, supportive, & faithful Husband.
- A Daughter who absolutely lights up my life.
- Parents who took me in & loved me as their own.
- In-laws who love me, encourage me, and support me in every way.
- Friends who care about me, sharpen me, and cheer me on.
- So thankful to be healthy and strong and able to enjoy life.
- I am so blessed to get to do what I love to do.
- So grateful to live in America!
- Love my incredible home church where I can worship & grow.
- So thankful for a peaceful & comfortable place to call home.
- ALL my needs are always met.
- Many years of answered prayers.
- 100% peace & assurance of knowing that I will spend eternity in Heaven when I die.
- 43 years of seeing first-hand that God will never leave me nor forsake me. He is FAITHFUL.
- LOVE the way God attends to ALL the details, both big and small, in my life.
- Thankful for the way God leads me every step of the way into His perfect plan for my life.
- Grateful that every day is a NEW day, a clean slate, a fresh opportunity to write my story.
- So glad that there is more to life than just coping, surviving, & existing—I can have ABUNDANT life that is found in Jesus. John 10:10.
- If I take the time to stop and reflect, no matter how difficult the day is, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
- So thankful that God gives His grace for the good days, the bad days, and for everything in between.
- Love the divine, God-moments that can only be orchestrated by Him.
- I am loving the change of seasons with warm days and cool, crisp mornings and evenings—my favorite!
- Grateful for an amazing summer filled with fun family memories that I will cherish forever.
- I will never get over the fact that God loves me, forgives me, chooses me, uses me, and blesses me more than I could ever dream possible.
- I am completely blown away at how God orchestrated the writing and the release of Dare to Soar.
- So blessed to live in a wonderful neighborhood filled with people who care about each other.
- So grateful for all of the people who believed in me, encouraged me, and played a part in where I am today.
- Thankful for an incredible college experience at Liberty University which impacted my life in such a phenomenal way.
- I love the beautiful canvasses God gives us in nature—from majestic mountains to soothing oceans to the brightly colored leaves changing in my backyard. It all is breath-taking and a gift from my Father.
- So surprised that a silly puppy could weasel his way into our family and steal our hearts.
- Quiet Time in the morning with a God Who speaks to my heart in such a real and personal way.
- Grateful that God has always been my HELP and the One Who SUSTAINS me. Psalm 54:4
- So very thankful that I can bring my burdens to the Lord, and He will always take care of me. Psalm 55:22.
- When my heart is overwhelmed, I can go to the Rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:1.
- Grateful that my life does not have to be defined by my circumstances. God has a Purpose, a Plan, and a Future for me and will use EVERY part of my story for His Glory if I will allow Him to.
- Forever thankful that God never gives up on me even when I am tempted to do so.
- I am blown away that I have access EVERY day to the same POWER that raised Jesus from the dead—His Resurrection Power!
- So grateful for the many times God has shown up and done the miraculous in my life—Exceedingly, Abundantly, and Above ALL that I could ever ask or think. Ephesians 3:20.
- Thankful for the constant encouragement found in Philippians 4:13—I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me.
- Even with all my faults and imperfections, Jesus loves me and gave His life for me! SO grateful for His amazing love!
- No matter how hard the enemy tries to defeat, discourage or destroy me, greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I John 4:4. So encouraging to know that GOD IS FOR ME!
- What a blessing that no matter what is going on in my life I can assuredly say—It is Well With My Soul. I have learned in these 43 years of living, that my joy and peace do not depend on my circumstances; it is found in the HOPE that I have in Christ and the fact that THIS IS NOT MY HOME! This is only temporary, but someday I will see Him face-to-face where there will be No More Pain, No More Tears, No More Sickness, and I Will Worship Him Forever! Words will never fully express how thankful I am for this HOPE that I have in Him which is by FAR the greatest birthday blessing of all!