Birthday Reflections

Well, I officially crossed the big golden threshold of my 50th birthday Sunday. And it was a sweet, sweet day. My husband and daughter began the day by serving me breakfast in bed (and I didn't even have to clean the kitchen!). At church I welcomed the birthday greetings of friends, but avoided any big to-do. It was the Lord's day, and I wanted to jealously guard His glory.

Later that afternoon, I picked up my good friend Kim at the airport. Us two gal pals share the same birthday, except she is one year behind me. We've had the privlege of sharing many birthday celebrations together for the past 14 years. This year she helped host a little party for me, just a few friends along with my husband and daughter, for a special dinner and some sweet sentiments.

The next day Kim and I ventured off for a short, little girlfriend trip. We enjoyed catching up with each other and simply resting! We had "saved up" our viewing of Downton Abbey so that we could watch it together, as we have the past two years on similar trips, although both of those were attached to speaking engagements. This little trip was just friend time, sweet time.

Of course, there were gifts and cards and phone calls and Facebook wishes as well. Birthdays can be such joyful days if they are celebrated in the company of good friends and thoughtful family. And this one isn't quite over yet. In June I have plans to join two bosom friends from middle school and high school days for another little girlfriend trip as we all three celebrate 50 years of life, much of it lived in the company and friendship of one another. We're venturing back to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where the three of us went on countless marching band trips. It will be old stomping grounds for us, but the accommodations will certainly be improved!

Something to Think About
If you're still hanging with me after my lengthy birthday report, I'd like to share a few thoughts with you. I had begun to dread the big 5-0 a few months ago. I'm not sure why, but suddenly it had become a daunting date on the calendar. But as I drew closer to the day I deliberately chose to celebrate rather than mourn or fear. I chose to praise the Lord, count my blessings, remember His mercies, and cherish the well as the years. And by the time I turned the calendar page to February, I had begun to anticipate my big day with joy and hope, instead of dread and doom. Instead of stealing my joy, this birthday became a huge source of joy.

This morning I heard a wonderful quote from Bob Lapine of Family Life Today. Bob is said to have remarked, "One good measure of our spiritual maturity is what can steal our joy."

Let that soak in. It's a good one.

One good measure of our spiritual maturity is what can steal our joy.

I have to admit that many a day I prove myself to be quite immature, because the smallest of things can steal my joy:

Did you notice how many of those things center around how I am treated by others? No mention on that list of how I treat others at all! Immaturity...

What do you allow to steal your joy? Truthfully, if our joy comes from the Lord, nothing should have the power to take that joy from us. True joy sticks with us through difficult circumstances, unkind treatment from others, sad situations, and even genuine losses. And the choice is ours. Nothing really steals our joy at all, does it? We hand our joy over, give it up, let it go...over the smallest of offenses. 

In the end, I chose to enjoy my 50th Birthday. And, indeed, it was a glorious celebration...thanks so much to my family, my friends and my extended family. But I still had to choose whether or not to embrace this milestone with joy or to endure it with self-pity and woe.

Silly, I know.

But we all have struggles, challenges, little things that annoy us, little things that attempt to steal our joy. It's up to us. Will we trust in the Lord, rejoice in Him and choose to celebrate whatever comes our the providence of God. Or will we wrestle against it, release our joy and recoil with sadness and self-pity?

Choose joy, my friend, choose joy!

What have you allowed to steal your joy? What do you need to do about order to get it back?

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