I realized I did not want a party where people stood making small talk and eating all of my delicious birthday cake. This time it was the longing for connection that took me by surprise. My heart longed to connect. I wanted to have time with friends and family whether virtually or face to face. I wanted to share from the heart with sweet precious friends and put into words how much we have impacted each others lives.
That’s what had been stirring within me, when my husband asked me a month ago what kind of party I wanted for my 40th. I shocked myself with my reply–none.
You know those cheesy youth meetings you used attend where the youth leader makes everyone tape a piece of paper on their back. Bear with me, as I try to explain to you how I felt today as I received the gift of friends for my birthday. Or more like the gift of words of encouragement from friends. So back to my analogy, then you have to walk around writing things on everyones back including people you don’t know. You hate it mostly because it makes you feel so insecure. Like what if no one writes on my back, what if it just says, I like your shoes. But when you sit back down you’re surprised by all the words of encouragement you received from each person. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You realize people notice me, people think I’m cool and gosh darn it–people like me.
You walked out of that room feeling pretty cool. You walked out of that room feeling like you’re valued. You walked out feeling loved. You walked out of there vowing you really needed to be more kind to that girl who still wears pink and purple outfits.
Well, that’s how I felt this morning on my 40th birthday: loved, cared for, valued and like gosh darn it people like me. Feeling like my cup runs over with love and sweet friends and family.
I woke up to a butt load of love!
My kids and husband were making me birthday pancakes to bring up to me in bed.
At some point they all came around me to thank God for me and as my husband said, “Thank you for Mari a wonderful and beautiful mom and wife… my kids interrupted his prayer and said–you mean were thankful for a “hot mama”.
Before they came up I sat on my bed in the morning silence and read through the message board my husband set up for friends and family to share memories and words of encouragement for my 40th.
My spirit came alive, as I read each letter typed that formed words of grace and love.
I sat on my bed as tears streamed down mingled with laughter reading the old memories shared, words of encouragement and blessings from friends I’ve known since I was 8 years old, kids who are now adults whom I had the joy of investing in, my sunday school teacher, my pastor, my high school friends whom I would giggle my way through class with, friends I played pranks with or on during college, mothers who sat down next to me and told me this too will pass when I couldn’t breastfeed, friends who’ve seen me sob uncontrollably because life was too unbearable, friends who I sat around and debated life with, girlfriends who I shared clothes with, friends who I stayed up late at night figuring out new dance moves…
Thankful to God for the oh so many sweet sojourners I’ve been blessed to do life with and the countless memories. Thankful that God has put those precious few friends along the way like pebbles dropped into the pond causing a ripple effect–stirring the waters of emotion who’ve extended their hand out to me and have invited me into their life. And said, “Lay down your burdens. Let’s walk together. Lay down your shame, theirs no judgement here. Let’s do life together, however that looks in the distance, however that looks in a foreign country.”
My man was the person behind orchestrating such a meaningful 40th birthday gift for me. He’s also the man behind making me the birthday cake of my choosing. The cake is above it’s lemon blueberry with lemon cream cheese frosting–nothing black or “over the hellish” because life has only just begun! He’s also the man who was downstairs early this morning making me breakfast in bed with my kids.
My cup runs over with love and gratitude! 10 Days of Gratitude–Day 7 Friends and Family