Birthdays for me used to come and go with something of a sense of regret. Not that I wasn’t thankful for yet another year, or for the people around me, or for the life God has given me. But birthdays were a bittersweet affair, usually a little more bitter than sweet, with a sense of regret at having not accomplished more in the past year. A sense of loneliness, I’m sure. A sense of uncertainty looking into the next year, and the vulnerability that came with being a single woman in my late twenties and then early thirties. A sense of there being something missing, but not really sure what it was.
A year ago today, I would have headed to work around 6 am, stopped for coffee with Brad at the end of his driveway, and spent the day in the thick of fire academy, doing burpees and running miles and dragging hose and bailing out of windows. I would have joined Brad for supper at the end of a very long day, exhausted in more ways than one. He surprised me with our first candle light meal and a space heater for my bedroom. That might not seem like a very romantic gift, but I can’t tell you the difference it made in my sleep! It was a delightful evening, and when I looked at the man sitting next to me, I knew exactly who I wanted to be. I knew I had found my missing puzzle piece, in the form of a good man to love and by whom to be loved. I just didn’t know when, and the job that had provided a level of satisfaction, the challenge that I desired, and the camaraderie of the fire service was becoming a lead weight in my heart.
This year, this day, couldn’t be any more different than last year. It really seems that all the years of waiting, of growing in my trust of God and my contentment in life, all have culminated in the blessings that God has just showered on me in this last year, and which are just flooding to mind today. What a year it has been! The uncertainty I felt a year ago, the sense of being misplaced every time I went to work, the anxiousness I fought, all have melted away as God has answered prayer after prayer over this last year. I told Brad yesterday that I’ve never felt so at peace or such a sense of belonging. I firmly believe this is exactly where God wants me to be. What a joy!
And what a picture perfect day. Waking up to my best friend is one of life’s simplest, sweetest joys, and then he brought me breakfast in bed and we spent the morning gathering cows in some beautiful country. I enjoyed my cats and my chickens, a long walk in one of the last of our 70-something degree days, birthday wishes from so many people God has blessed me with, and a steak supper. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
So as I embark on my 33rd year, I’m just so thankful for God’s faithfulness, and the ways it has been demonstrated so incredibly over the last year. What a beautiful, wonderful year. What a beautiful day.