"Count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by friends, not years" - Anonymous
Today is my 35th birthday. For the first time in quite awhile it doesn't feel like my birthday. I mean, I know that as you get older birthdays really do just feel like another day, but this year is different. I don't quite know how to explain it but it doesn't feel like my birthday - I was neither anticipating nor dreading it. It's just Friday, August 21st. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.
In a way I'm a bit relieved by this. Last year my birthday was incredibly emotional. Olive had just passed away 3 weeks earlier and I was in such a daze. I look back to where I was, as a person, one year ago today and it's amazing to me how much has changed. One year ago today I could barely breathe. I spent my days laying around, not wanting to get out of bed. When I would get out of bed I would make a pot of coffee and sit on the back porch in my pajamas for hours. I didn't want to move from that place. I didn't want to see people. I still wasn't answering my phone. I was just trying to survive.
One year ago today I was extremely overwhelmed. I had nothing to do with myself physically but emotionally and spiritually I was a wreck. I was hanging on to God by a thread. I was questioning everything from whether or not God had changed His mind about me being fit to be a mother, to where heaven was. I would compare myself to a mother whose child had gone missing. I believed in my heart that Olive was in heaven, but because heaven is still such a mystery to us all I couldn't fathom what that meant. I didn't know where heaven was, so I didn't know where she was - and that was incredibly painful. I could not even bring myself to look up into the sky for fear of hyperventilating. The vast horizon, with it's sunshine and clouds was too much for me. It was such a powerful feeling, and one I was so fearful of.
I'm happy to say that today I can enjoy a good sunset. I have begun to find joy again and I'm looking forward to what this new year has to offer.
I've learned that you can truly find a miracle in every day - because every day is truly a miracle.
I have a deeper relationship for my husband and a respect for him I never knew possible.
So many beautiful people have come into my life, and some really special friendships have been formed.
I try to make time every day to spend with the Lord.
I have a deeper love for my parents, siblings and other family members - knowing that our time on earth together is shorter than any of us could have possibly imagined.
I long for heaven. I've never been afraid to die - but now more than ever I feel at peace with this temporary life, knowing full well that the salvation I've been gifted in Christ will bring me to my forever home soon enough.
I am eager and anxious to meet the sweet boy who is moving, grooving and growing stronger every day inside of me. I long to cradle him in my arms and breathe in his sweet smell.
While I'm no where near where I thought I would be at 35, I'm content with the path God has laid out for me. Each new day I'm more and more aware that this life, even with all of it's challenges, is working out exactly as it was meant to. It's not always easy to see the beauty in the pain - that's certainly something I couldn't do a year ago today, but God-willing - I have the next 35+ years to continue working on it.