I turn 33 today. I'm taking the entire day off to celebrate. Even now I have a blueberry muffin (one of my favorite things) and coffee by my side. I am immersing myself into a new story for a bit this morning then going to see the new Avengers movie, and I made Twix cheesecake to enjoy later.
I love birthdays. Adore them. I know so many of us cringe when the next birthday comes around. It's understandable. Youth doesn't last as long as we think it does. Our bodies start falling apart at the ripe old age of 25 it seems. And sometimes each passing year is harder when life hasn't turned out like we wanted or thought it should. Birthdays can be invitations to grief and disappointment. Or invitations to hope.
Age is such a gift. I have cellulite and wrinkles and love sleep more than anything these days, but it's worth it compared to the knowledge I have. I was reading 1 John 4:16 last night and it says 'We have come to know and have believed the love that God has for us.'
In college, this was my friend Jeremy's favorite verse. I liked it but I didn't get it then like I get it now. Because even though I knew that God loved me, I didn't understand it. I didn't understand that when I would make horrible choices or endure the horrible choices of others, that God would be there to love me. That His love never wavers. That I don't have to earn his love by doing right or performing well. His love has nothing to do with how I act or what I'm like. Isn't that amazing? The freedom in that love should daily make us stand in awe...the Creator of the Universe, the one who holds galaxies in his hand and orchestrates the details of every single life on the planet, is in love with me. He called me his daughter and wanted to adopt me before he even split the earth from the sky. I am his daughter. And nothing I could ever do could change that.
I get this verse now. Because yes, after so many years, I have come to know and do believe in the love God has for me. Not fully, because I think as much as I trust that love now, it is just a fraction of an understanding.
Do you know that love? Oh I want you to. To know that God loves you upside down, backward, and forward. In ways you cannot imagine with your little human brain. You were made for Him. Not to obey rules and get things right and be moral. But to show him off by letting him love you. Abiding in his love - letting him love you and sitting in the reality of that love and trusting on it - that is the best way to commune with God.
So today, I am 33. A child of God. Believer. Sister of Christ. Loved - completely. I'm a wife, a friend, a writer, a storyteller. A reader, worshipper, interceder.
I love coffee and good workouts. A book is my favorite place to get lost. Cleaning is my drug, baking is my therapy. I love snail mail and hot baths. I love that the God of Genesis is the same God of Isaiah, the Psalms, and James. Sometimes all I need is an hour to clean, or a good cry in a hot shower. Being with my husband fixes most of my bad days. Boundaries are something I am still learning. I love making up stories - it is the best kind of worship. Lists make me sane, summer is my favorite season, and I still get excited on Christmas morning. God shutting doors in my face has turned out to be the biggest blessing of my life. Grace is something I'll never really get. I hope that someday I'm as brave as the girls I write about. I think God chuckles at me a lot. I know He loves me to pieces.