It’s my birthday today.
But, I have mixed feelings about it.
I’ve always loved celebrating my birthday.
It’s a chance to start over. Fresh.
It’s one of the most reflective times I get to enjoy. To look back at the year. I get very sentimental.
I’m the kind of girl, after all, who walks into a card store and feels like she can buy every card on the display racks. I can think of a gazillion ways a card can speak to me. To reflect on the moments. To recall a good memory or sink into the reverie of a dream-that-might-come true.
But, not this year.
I can’t do what I usually love doing. I can’t make any plans.
I can’t look back on this year with much fondness. And I have no idea what’s up ahead.
That’s definitely not the way I want to celebrate my birthday. I like to set goals. See where I’ve been and decide where I want to go.
But, there’s no way around it.
I don’t have the timeline to my healing.
So, where does that leave me?
The answer is: I don’t know.
And that really scares me.
One Birthday Wish
As I look into the unknown, there is one thing that is keeping me anchored.
It is one birthday tradition that I developed throughout my young adult years, that continues today.
I had never grown up with the luxury of wanting something for my birthday. The best thing that could’ve happened to me on my special day during all those years was — nothing.
It was indisputably easier to feel guilty or selfish for wanting attention, rather than acknowledging the desire to be loved and celebrated. This is what happens when the environment surrounding you is emotionally scarce.
You live an internal world, where you absorb any needs before they arise. You tell yourself, you are fine, because people around you are not.
But, with Jesus, I ask Him for one thing. One birthday wish.
Give me one word — to remember this year by.
Let me know you see me. Tell me, you know my desires.
Give me the gift of one word — from you — so I can know you are with me on this journey.
Place it on my heart. Tell me, that you are really here.
Is it a praise or is it a prayer?
I can’t help it, but my thoughts keep circling to a repeating phrase: by now.
I should be all better — by now.
I should be more encouraged — by now.
You’d think — by now... (fill in the blank).
But, I realize as I stand here at the start of a new year, Jesus is placing a set of different words in my hands.
I keep thinking — By now.
Instead, Jesus whispers — By faith.
No Man’s Land
I thought about this as I closed the bathroom door a few days ago, to turn on the shower and wait for the hot water. I was praying, “Please Jesus, let me fall asleep tonight, without any panic attacks.”
As I did, I felt overwhelmed by the reality:
I don’t know if any flashbacks or memories will pulse through my body, pound my heart, steal my breath and choke me awake this night.
God didn’t take them away by spring or by summer’s end.
It’s already fall. And it’s still not over.
I’m going to have to keep walking through this, in order to get to the other side.
There are no short cuts.
Not even on my birthday.
As I stood there with the steam fogging the bathroom mirror, wilting my hair, I began to cry.
That’s all I could think of. And my heart couldn’t stop wishing things were different.
It was in this place of no man’s land, that I heard God’s voice echo into my heart, gently yet firmly.
By faith… Abraham traveled to a city that couldn’t be built with hands.
By faith… Abraham lived in a tent.
By faith… Abraham walked everyday without any plans, without knowing how long it would take or where he was being led.
I don’t think Abraham had the vision of celebrating his 99th birthday, living in the land of the unknown, past his prime when he left Ur.
I’m guessing Abraham looked up at the stars many nights, recalling what God once told him and thought, By now…
Abraham wasn’t in control of God’s timing or God’s plan for him or his family.
But, Abraham did choose one thing that God always saw and valued.
He kept walking into no man’s land. He did not turn back.
Abraham kept walking forward — by faith.
“By faith Abraham,
when called to go to a place
he would later receive as his inheritance,
obeyed and went,
even though he did not know where he was going.”
~ Hebrews 11:8
What is one word God is placing on your heart, as we stand at the crest of the holiday season?
Click to share a comment by this Sunday 12/9/12 . You’ll be entered to win Lisa Leonard’s Three Things Necklace. It’s new from Lisa’s Faith Collection (currently on sale at DaySpring until Friday tomorrow).
I picked out the silver-chained Three Things Necklace designed my friend, Lisa Leonard. The necklace is part of Lisa’s new Faith Collection, inscribed with the words “faith”, “hope”, and “love”.
It’s reminds me every time I think, by now… Jesus is whispering to me, by faith, giving me hope and love for each step of the journey.
Special thanks to DaySpring, sweet enough to celebrate with me and host today’s giveaway!
One (1) winner will be selected by random to receive the “Three Things” Lisa Leonard Necklace!
This birthday, I’m especially thankful for you. It’s with you, I took my first steps broken, writing afraid, through this journey of healing. It’s with you, I’m learning to walk by faith in the fog, to speak in full voice and break old family codes.
Thank you for the tremendous comfort and encouragement you offer me through your words, prayers and your stories. You give me courage to be vulnerable, by being present with me. You should know that every comment and email you’ve sent my way, arrive as letters to my soul. They are read with deep gratitude, with prayers of thanksgiving and amazement of you.
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Photo credit: jayesh911 via Photobucket.