Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Blessed Birthday

It was an ordinary birthday, in many ways unremarkable. A day spent at home caring for Elijah as usual; a few birthday cards in the mail, a couple of phone calls from friends and family; dinner out with my wonderful husband while a friend cared for the little guy (taking him to a restaurant is not my idea of fun). And yet my 26th birthday was also extraordinary.

In response to my post, I got a wonderfully encouraging and surprising email that expressed it quite eloquently--so much so that I wanted to quote it here (with her permission). I described God's work in my heart on Tuesday as "severe mercy"; she concurred, and added:

But the severity is quickly overshadowed by the intimate and kind hand of God to give you something you could never get on your own; nor could ever receive from mortal man--illumination, of your heart and of the truth. ...I can't help but celebrate the reality that what you most desire moved that much closer to you today--one day saying, without hesitation, "whom have I in heaven but you, and on earth what do I desire besides you?" ...I don't know what the other 25 birthdays looked like, but from this vantage point, today's topped them all!

Interestingly, Steve and I had talked about this very thing over dinner Tuesday night. Our hearts are so flawed, our affections so warped. There's such a chasm between what our minds know to be true and what our hearts experience and delight in. This discourages me, but it provokes Steve to hope in heaven. His perspective reminds me to look forward to the day when my heart will always respond appropriately to who God is and what He's done. And though I'm far from that right now, that deep desire of my heart did move closer to me on Tuesday, thanks to my heavenly Father's "severe mercy."

Scripture says that the truth sets us free; I believe I experienced that to a certain degree on my birthday. The clarity God brought in helping me understand and acknowledge the sin in my heart, in opening my eyes to see His truth--it was freeing, even joyful. And so a birthday that began with me feeling pensive and brooding ended up being, in some strange way, perhaps one of the best birthdays after all.


Zoanna said...

I'm so glad for you. The Lord is good to all.

My hubby actually used to thank his parents on his b'day for having him. He thought they should be the ones getting gifts as rewards for putting up with him! They are gone now. His birthdays are harder on him than mine are, yet I make such a stink over my own. Some day when I grow up.....!

Bethany said...

Happy late Birthday!!!!!!!!!!