So my birthday was March 10th and I have been meaning to post this blog since then, but this week has been pretty busy for various reasons. However, I knew it was necessary because of the reflecting that God had allowed me to do a couple days leading up to my birthday. Since I came to college, I haven’t really been able to do much for my birthday because either I didn’t have the money, or since during my first two years of college I was a student-athlete, I either had a tournament or practice. This year I was determined to do something big. I turned 21 last year and I spent the time with family. It was a nice time, but it’s not exactly what the average 21 year old does to celebrate that milestone. But this year, the closer it got to my birthday I realized, “Wow, not only do I not have any plans but I don’t even have money to do what I would really like to do”, which was go out of town and do some real shopping. So then I became “depressed” (just me being dramatic) and disappointed and decided well I’m not doing anything because I can’t do what I really want to do. So people were asking me if I was excited about my birthday coming up and I would bitterly answer “Not really, it’s just another day at this point, plus I have to go to work.” The struggle of growing up; when I was in college my birthday usually fell somewhere during spring break, so at least I wouldn’t have to go to class. But now that I’m a teacher, my spring break is the week after, which means most likely I’m going to have to work on my birthday for the duration of this particular occupation. So here I am upset, ungrateful and just plain unhappy until Sunday March 9th. It seems like no matter what, God can always pull me out one of my moments by going to church. At some point in service I had begun to think about my life and God began to remind me of different events in my life and I realized how His grace has kept me over these 22 years. Many people say they are just happy to see another year when their birthday comes around, and I’ll be honest and say that I never really thought about it that way. I don’t think it’s that I didn’t consider it a blessing or anything, but I never took inventory on my birthday to say “Hey, I’m glad I made it” or “God has kept me”. But this Sunday God really allowed me to think about some things.
The first thing He reminded me of was one night when my dad had come home after being gone for a couple days without notice. At this point he was on and off drugs and I’m sure that night he was under the influence. I was about thirteen at the time, sitting my room as I heard my parents talking, of course my mom was upset and giving him an ultimatum because she was tired of this, and I just wanted it all to be over. It was horrible because my dad and I were close, I hated to see him like that but I didn’t want him to leave. My mom came in my room sometime later and asked me how I was feeling, and I told her “I kind of want to die.” I remember those words and the picture I was doodling like it was yesterday. I know it broke her heart but she didn’t let me see her cry that time. But I just think about how if God had let me have my way that day, I would not have made it to twenty-two. But for some reason he’s kept me alive and I’m grateful.
The next thing I thought about was the story of my mom’s pregnancy. While she was pregnant she had a miscarriage, of course she was distraught because it had already taken so long for her to get pregnant and then to lose the baby was just too much. But when she went in to the doctor’s office and they did an ultrasound, they told her that there was another baby in there (me). So all along she was pregnant with twins and didn’t know it. In a sense, I was a miracle baby because she didn’t even know she had me until she lost my twin brother. And for whatever reason, God had her to carry me and give birth to me.
I came back up to recent events in my life as God has delivered me and protected me as I lived my life contrary to His ways. There were many instances where I could have contracted incurable diseases, gotten pregnant, and who knows what else just because of the places I went, alone, in the hours of the night. But God spared me! His grace is sufficient. And I am indeed grateful to be here at twenty-two, because at thirteen I didn’t plan on making it and at nineteen I wasn’t living in a way to say that it mattered, but God’s plan always prevails and I thank Him that I am apart of what He’s doing in this present time.
So I admonish you to be thankful, not only on your birthday but just spend time to truly count your blessings. Look beyond your current situation. Even if you don’t have the money to celebrate like you want to, thank God that you have another birthday to see and celebrate His goodness and mercy because it’s free and priceless!