Today, I turn 24.
I like birthdays – I’ve always liked them. I’m glad we celebrate them.
I took a new perspective on birthdays a few years ago, when I was 21, and doing cancer treatment. It was when I began to realize that every day and every year was an absolute gift to be celebrated. I will never complain about getting older, because to me it’s such a gift, and every year I see is a blessing. It took truly realizing that the air in my lungs was a gift and a privilege deserving of celebration.
When I look back on my birthday post from last year, it’s almost painful to read the words I wrote, because I thought I had discovered the purpose for my pain in my 22nd year and heading into my 23rd.
But wow, 23. I could never have imagined what this year would throw at me.
The past three years have been a roller coaster of continual ups and downs. Some really high highs and some really low lows. But…
As much as I couldn’t imagine what my 23rd year would bring, I also could never have imagined just how immensely I would grow, and just how much I would be challenged this year.
I’ve learned that in this life, it’s not about how many times you fall down. That doesn’t matter. Rather, it’s about how many times you get back up and say, “You know God, I thought that’s what You had for me, but now I know you have something even better.”
I trust that He’s got what’s best for me in mind – even if it didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. I certainly believe the best is yet to come.
Every year on my birthday, I’m reminded of a quote from one of my writing inspirations, Jamie Tworkowski and his post Happy Birthday.
i believe we’re far from alone in this, that God’s been at this for a long time, this business of buying things back, making things new. If this is starting to sound too Churchy or spiritual, i’ll simply say that i believe God gives a shit, about your life, about your story, about your pain.
If you look back on your past year and feel sad and disappointed, like I did, about the brokenness or pain that occurred – know that you’re not alone. Know that God sees and He cares. He’s been in the business of redemption and restoration for a long time. We’re far from alone in this life.
So, even if I look back on this past year and see brokenness, I also look back and feel proud. At 23, I see the girl who took her life back. The girl who never once took her eyes off of the Lord. The girl who began again.
And I’m proud of her.
Simply, today, I’m just thrilled to be here.
To be surviving – thriving, even – and sometimes it just looks like putting one front in front of the other in the face of devastating loss – but I’m here – and damn, I’m thankful.