Are You Really This Old?

strawberry-birthday-cake-by-chidorian

Well, they didn’t exactly say it this way, but it’s what they meant. It was the question my daddy and sister both asked within the last few weeks as February 7 is quickly approaching. Yes! They’re as surprised as me. I am that old. I received their questions with grace. No, I’m not going into depression that two digits are changing. However, I must admit it jars me and has made me a little blue.

I know I need to have the right attitude about this celebratory event and not forget it, as I would like. I can’t help but remember Sundays at our church when we lived in Caracas, Venezuela. The tradition each Sunday was to ask who had just celebrated birthdays the previous week. Those special people would then walk up to the front to be recognized. They were given the opportunity to say a few words. I will never forget the words spoken by Hermana Maria, who always seemed to be smiling although her life had been filled with tragedy. With a radiant smile on her face she said, “I just want to thank God for allowing me to complete another year of life.” Children learned through these testimonies that God is the giver of life and that life is a gift.

This week I am reminded that I don’t need to be whining about turning two new digits. I am to say, “Thank you Lord for allowing me to complete another year of life. It is a gift.” Just thinking these words bring a smile to my face and put joy in my heart as I remember the multitude of amazing blessings I received this past year. In spite of a year with difficulties, tears, and sorrow there have been countless pockets of joy that found their way into my life because of Jesus, the giver of life, the giver of all things good. He is the author and finisher of my faith who brings light because He is the perfect Light. May we daily walk close to Him always remembering, This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and thankful in it.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Man and woman painting wall.

The walls in our bedroom were freshly painted and the color was perfect. Now it was time for the really fun part: painting the baseboards and crown molding. I really hadn’t put a lot of thought in to the type of sheen of the paint we’d be using for the trim. I just took the old can of paint we’d used many years before and told the man I wanted the same color and type of paint from that can. I realized we were using different brands of paint, but didn’t really think that would matter. So, he mixed it up. We began painting. My husband graciously did the crown molding and I did the baseboards. After it dried I realized it was really shiny and I wasn’t too happy about it having such a glossy look on the crown molding.

I found myself feeling very guilty about my discontent and dissatisfaction and felt I was being way too picky. I knew I needed to pray about it, asking God to forgive me for my ungrateful attitude and to help me change it. I thought I’d also verbalize a prayer of thanksgiving which was truly an act of my will. My prayer was: “Thank you God, for that shiny trim.” Then my husband came in and said, “What do you think of the paint job?” Desiring to be honest in our communication, I said, “The trim is a little too shiny for my liking, but it is okay.” He blessed me by replying, “Go buy some more paint. I think it’s too shiny, too.” I was elated! I believe my husband’s understanding and willingness to re-paint what he’d already done was somehow connected to the choice I’d earlier made to be grateful and choose to find contentment in the semi-gloss that really wasn’t too “semi”. I’m also very grateful for a husband whose desire was to please me even if it cost him extra time, energy, and money. And, he did it all with joy!

All situations may not always work out quite as positively as this did, but this was an opportunity to practice being thankful for something I wasn’t happy about. I pray that this kind of thankfulness would become easier for me. I need to grow in realizing that what brought discontent was something of temporal value, not eternal.