Tomorrow is my 28th birthday. I feel old.
Now, I fully realize that I am not that old, however, I have lived a lot of life in my twenty-eight years. A Lot. I was thinking on my way home from work today that I have really lived a lot of life in the past year (which contributes to my old lady feeling and the fact that I am looking tore up lately). I have lived through my parents’ divorce, my parents both getting remarried, the death of my unborn sister, death of both grandpas and one grandmother, an eating disorder and stint in treatment, moving to another country, moving back from another country, a cancer scare, a career switch, and recently, some issues in my personal relationships. I have been a lifeguard, a nanny, a swim instructor, a teacher, and an A.B.A. therapist. I have had my heart broken twice, I have been in love, I have been dumped, I have dumped. I have run marathons, I have climbed mountains, I have skied, I have worked at a summer camp. I have had my nose peirced, I have had short and long hair, blond hair, dark brown hair and all shades in between. I have fallen into a cactus. I have owned a dog and cat. I have given those animals away. I have forgiven and been forgiven. I have taught myself to sew and crochet, and given it up when I realized I was terrible at it (the crochetting part). I have learned Spanish and French. I have eaten fish brain and cow tongue. I have jumped off cliffs in the wilderness of Honduras, and performed rap songs in the desert of Mexico. I have seen sea turtles up close in Hawaii and walked the freedom trail in Boston. I have cut my finger off, stepped on a nail, and had a car accident. I have ridden a horse through the Arizona desert and milked a cow. I have been chased by a bull (true story, happened on the side of the road in Honduras, and it was scary). I have danced on table tops, sang Karaoke, fallen in love with my nephews, and seen restoration of friendships.
And all of that just skims the surface. These twenty-eight years have held many tears and much heartache. There are days when I just want one of those lives where the people just skate by. You know those people, they go to great college, get married to a nice guy, get pregnant the day they start trying, have a super fun job, and then grow old with children who love them and want to be with them. Sometimes I want that.
But I would not want to give up what I have learned to cling to in my lifetime. I would not give up knowing that I can be living in my worst nightmare and having the Lord hold me. I would not give up seeing my family restored as an indirect result of my anorexia. I would not give up having men and women who love me and love God well come to my aid when I needed them. I would not know these truths so deeply had these past twenty eight years been easy.
Because in this life I have seen moments of pure hell. I have wept at my own sin and the sin of others, and felt so alone at times. But I never was. I have seen terrible things, but God was always there. And He will be there, and I will never have to wonder if He will show up because I have seen Him prove Himself time and time again.
Because He is faithful.
I would be lying if I said that I hope my next twenty-eight years will be like the first, but I do hope that God continues to show Himself to me in powerful ways. My hope for my next 28 years is to finally believe that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, to finally see that I am beautiful, loved, and worthy, and to learn to love others and love God better. (I would also like to go to Australia, ride in a hot-air balloon, and adopt a child).
Happy Birthday to me.