Happy birthday to ME! And yes, I am still accepting gifts and mass quantities of coffee too. I’m another year older, and hopefully, another year wiser. I tend to get reflective about my life when January rolls around.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting about how life is a gift.
My last birthday was spent celebrating the incredible life of my Grandma-In-Law that walked into eternity a few days before my 36th birthday. Grandma Sara was the only grandma I ever knew- she was such a role model to me in life & faith. Her life continues to inspire me as a wife, mom, and Jesus-Follower (she was the best, seriously the best). Around this birthday, our family heard of a few losses of loved ones by those we know and love. I may not know everything, but I do know this:
Celebrating life doesn’t always include cake.
Sometimes it includes a colorful party.
Sometimes it includes a room full of joy and laughter.
Other times, it includes a room full of cold, pastel-colored flowers and
Celebrating life is still a gift.
Friend, let’s go deep for a minute…
We are never promised a peaceful life up to the spry age of 100 years old.
We have not been promised a life absent of struggle or strain.
We are not even promised tomorrow.
What we have been given is the gift of right now and it is brief -like a vapor- in the scope of all eternity.
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14 NASB)
When we wake up in the morning and we are able to breathe deep, it is a gift. When we are able to hug a friend during a regular day, it’s a gift. When we are able to smile at a complete stranger and brighten their day, it is a gift. When we find ourselves in the midst of a battle and are surrounded by caring friends, it is a gift. When we experience defeat or an unthinkable loss and are barely standing, it is a gift.
Let’s get even more real:
When you are holding a child who is sick or full of great need and you can do nothing else for them, life is precious and fragile and it is still a gift.
When you feel the panic of violation because articles of worth, your personal belongings, were stolen from you (true story ya’ll)…life is not about stuff; life is about people and sharing life with them. Even under these circumstances, we can know His perfect peace and know that life is still worth celebrating.
Through every season and situation of life, God is still good and this life is still a gift.
He’s given us all beautiful and mysterious gift and we need to remember to celebrate it well.
Celebrations usually include gifts.
Now, gifts are not meant to stay in boxes wrapped up with a shiny bow.
Our gifts were designed with a greater purpose and were designed for use. This life is full of opportunities to experience both. Often times, those opportunities will look more like
Loss…but when we’ve come through to the other side, whether by the skin of our teeth or with plenty of room to spare, we must remember that life, and celebrating this life, is a gift.
Your life is a gift my friend. Don’t let your gift gather dust or stay hidden. By holding back our gifts of life, we are depriving someone who is in desperate need of those exact experiences of hope and faith. Your life, all of it, matters. The glorious parts as well as those that feel mundane. The parts you want to put on display and the parts you think aren’t worth sharing. Every day that you are able to see this truth and know it deep down in your soul is a day for celebration.
“Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.”
(Ephesians 1:4-14 MSG)
Friend, I know this is not your typical birthday reflection on how wonderful it is to be 37.
I didn’t want it to be.
This is just my observation having only 37 years in.
I tried a couple other drafts, but I came right back to the deep. The exact place I try to live from. Sometimes I feel like I get it right, and others…well, let’s just say I’m a pro at the do-over;).
My challenge for you is this:
What will you do with this gift of life you’ve been given?
How will you spend it?
How will you celebrate and share your gift of life today?
Your life is precious and matters a great deal to God. Only in Him can we find the peace, joy, hope, courage, love, honesty, redemption, grace, and mercy that we can share with this world through our personal stories of experience.
I’d love to hear your thoughts today on how you will personally celebrate and share life. Please comment below or share this message with a friend (preferably over coffee and chocolate cake). Make today different by celebrating and sharing this beautiful-messy-challenging-awesome life we’ve been given.
Go the extra mile:
Check out this song- I can’t get enough of it!