this feels a little like coming back to an old friend – one that is always there, one I can meet up with and it feels like nothing has changed. this corner of the internet has held me and sustained me and believed in me.
it feels appropriate that I’d return today: my 23rd birthday. I know and have known for months that I have words to say. words about making myself more of an extrovert. words about struggling to believe that “life is a gift, and the Giver is good.” words about some weeks of being so low that I confused a little depression for things like mono or the flu. words about what it feels like to finally breathe after holding my breath for ten months. those are to come.
this morning, I woke up and hugged my dog. I held him so close to my face that his drool soaked my cheek. a year ago, that would’ve disgusted me. now, he loves me and I can hug him and he holds eye contact for minutes, big brown eyes that somehow get it, and I think I needed a love, a dependency, a loyalty like that. Baxter, you have no clue just how great you are.
we wandered to the patio, to the birds chirping and the sun rising. isn’t it funny how in all the little moments, nothing changes, and then someday you wake up and you’re 23 and life has happened?
today, today we’ll talk about a birthday. about 23 whole years. about how at 12, I could never see passed 18. about how now, I dream of 30 and 35 and 43.
today, we’ll celebrate how the Lord is overwhelmingly kind, a brand of kindness that moves me to tears. we’ll celebrate His goodness. how though it doesn’t always look like kindness, I can stand and run to that goodness. how it is very truly the anchor of my soul when I feel untethered from all the things that I thought would last.
let’s have a little cheers to the last 23 and a big yes and amen to the next 60. let’s cheers to all that He has done, what 23 years have taught. God, you’ve moved some mountains, don’t let me forget:
- that happiness is fading and fleeing, but joy, even when it is clothed like everything else, lasts. you can bargain on joy, sister.
- that the older you get, the better life gets. man, it gets good, hold your breath on that.
- that being truly rooted, coming from the vine, looks like a hope, no matter the season. I used to confuse contentment or happiness for life being good. no, life is good because I have the hope of Christ, even when that hope aches.
- that friends are truly one of my best blessings. I could not say thank you enough.
- and speaking of friends, that they will walk through the fire alongside me. that’s a weepy thought. but again, eternally thankful.
- that family changes and needs room to change, like a wine that gets sweeter with time.
- that gratefulness is a state of mind.
- that in the daily, I can find holy ground.
- that depression needs her name. and that when you don’t call her by her name, she becomes a million times harder to figure out.
- that even the worst of worsts can be redeemed.
- that if He will clothe all the flowers of the field, the ones here today and gone tomorrow, surely He will continue to clothe me.
- that I can call life to dead things. that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in me – oh my goodness. goodness. that is some real goodness.
- that it is truly a privilege to step in the gap for my brothers and sisters, to appeal to the Father when they feel no appeal. to hold their arms up.
- that the Church is even less of a location than I’ve ever thought. that ministry matters when her tears, not my tears, are streaming. that theology carries weight when I have no words for him, but I’ve been given all the words I could ever need by the One that spoke truth and life. that I don’t need to know more about the Lord because, truly, I have all that I need.
- that fear does not come from the Father.
- that I can worship through the venti vanilla iced coffee with cream, no classic. somehow, the way that it is mine and something to hold and a helper when I need it is sacred. coffee lovers, tell me you get that.
- that I have to give myself grace on the worst and best days. because if I don’t, it’s hard to let Him. and if I can’t let Him, my best days are the best and my worst days are the worst. don’t lose the anchor.
- that natural light can cure anything. joy comes in the morning, babes.
- that you are never too old or too settled for a new friend.
- that doing things with God beats trying to do things for God a million times over. walking with the Lord is a new kind of song.
- that the things I am passionate about will be my callings, and I am thrilled about that.
- that He has already given me freedom and I don’t have to live like a slave to my past or my present or to all the future. freedom is mine for the taking.
- that I could never be enough, no matter how much I think I need to measure up. praise be to God, the Father.
23, I’m ready and expectant and believing. life is a gift, and the Giver is good.