Birthdays ~ we have one every year, and mine just happened to be yesterday. To be honest, there are days when I sigh at getting older, but I’m finding that the way to beat the blues is to enter each year (and each day) with a thankful heart.
As I sat and reflected on my birthday, I came up with this list of SOME of the blessings that have fallen to me in this last year.
- The blessing of getting to share God’s Word and speak to women. This last year I spoke again at a Pastor’s wives retreat not long after my birthday. You typically don’t get asked to speak when you’re still “green” in ministry. But when you’ve weathered the storms and can still smile and love God with all your heart, you have validity in your message. I also had the blessing of flying to Michigan and doing a ladies’ retreat at a great church. That was so wonderful. The ladies encouraged my heart. The time up north was beautiful as we looked out the windows at the drifted snow. I am so amazed at the blessings and joys God gives me in allowing me to serve Him!
- Thanksgiving with my parents. I am so blessed to be four hours from my parents and be able to spend time with them. Family grows dearer with every day. I realize more and more how precious a gift it is to be with them, to glean from them and show love to them. This year was the first time it was just my husband and me with my mom and dad. We put their Christmas tree up after dinner, watched Christmas movies with hot bowls of popcorn in our laps, and took drives in the country. It sounds like its own kind of Hallmark movie, doesn’t it? It was.
- Days of retreat at a lake cabin. To have dear friends who allow us time at their cabin that we might refresh ourselves is a blessing I cannot even describe. We didn’t need as many days to rest up when we were younger, but to have a day away gives us new vigor for the ministry and refreshes our weary bodies!
- Christmas with our grown children. If you think Christmas with your little kids was fun, wait until they’re all grown and you see their faces with their spouses sitting around your dining room table. My heart was as full as my dining room table as we ate, laughed, reminisced, played games, opened the Scriptures, prayed and shared gifts. Wow. How sweet.
- Enjoying a second trip to Israel. This would never have happened in my younger days! First, there was no desire to go. But also, the demands of parenting wouldn’t have allowed it, nor would our bank account! But God graciously provided in every way, and this second trip was even better than the first!
- Special times away with my husband. As in the prior blessing, our times away years ago were few and far between. We enjoyed dates near home, and that was great! But now we can go away for a night or an afternoon and not worry about homeschool, or schedules of children at home. We went to DreamMore resort in Pigeon Forge for Valentine’s Day and had so much fun! We’ve enjoyed Pigeon Forge Wyndham Resort a couple of times, as well. Afternoons at Biltmore are a favorite for both of us as we stroll the gardens, forgetting pressures and concentrating on communication and time together. We realize that every day we have together is a gift from God.
- Becoming a (foster) Grandparent. Though the twin boys my daughter and son-in-law are caring for are not our flesh, they were born in our hearts! They’ve completely taken over every chamber and we are blessed to be a part of their lives and smother them with love!! I had no idea how full this time in my life would be! Wow, just wow.
- Ministering to children, both at home and church. My weekly Bible club with my neighbor children is such a joy to me. What a gift to get to pour God’s Word into their hearts and minds. Pioneer Club at church has been another way to get to serve God and minister to first and second graders!
- Our first family vacation. I shared about that here on my blog, but I can’t leave that out of my blessings! It was so much fun!
This doesn’t include the times I’ve spent in God’s Word, hearing from Him, and talking to Him in prayer. I’ve left out all the sweet hours of fellowship with friends and family, in our home, in theirs, at church, in restaurants and other meeting up sites. Even on my birthday yesterday, we had “fellowship” in the hospital where my poor brother-in-law is recovering from surgery due to fall from a roof and subsequent severe injuries. We gathered in the waiting area and prayed, read Scripture and waited together. Those are not the planned kind of gatherings, but they do become sweet blessings because they add to the depth of my life as I reflect on the joy of having a family who can hold hands and run to God’s Throne together. Years ago I may have regretted spending my birthday at the hospital, but not this year. It’s a reminder that every day’s outcome is how you view it. This was all orchestrated by God’s hands, allowing us to have planned a trip home at this particular time. Only God knew why we needed to be here.
My birthday was filled with blessings and my heart is full. One last blessing is the growth of my blog. Thank you to each of you who read my posts regularly. Thank you to those who have followed me recently. Thanks to those of you who comment and encourage me. I am amazed that others read what I’ve written, but I’m so very grateful! I trust that as the year progresses, God will grant wisdom and help to make this worth reading each day.
What blessings would you recount on your birthday? If you haven’t, start making a list in a journal today!
Another year older, but even more blessed,