Today I am 44 years old. Never before have I felt so comfortable in my own skin, so happy to walk in my own shoes, so free to be who I am called to be and to exist in the manner that I was fearfully and wonderfully made to exist.
Of all the presents I have ever received none come even close to the magnitude and beauty that the gift of awareness has meant in my life and that of those who share in this life alongside me.
To me a birthday is not an annual occurrence but a daily one, for each day is a fresh and new opportunity to share in God’s grace, to be showered in his blessings and to find new mercies in Him, and most importantly to be reborn and bathed in His Spirit . I want to spend the rest of my life cultivating a heart that is aware and grateful for all the good things and for the meaning, purpose and reason behind the bad things too.
Today on my 44th birthday I am GRATEFUL:
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that we have the opportunity to start afresh each day, for the bad to be washed away through Christ’s redemptive nature and for the new to take hold and meaning.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that up to this point it is the grace of God and his mercy that have sustained my faith, my marriage, my parenting, my children, my health, my home, our business, our extended families, our friends and those spiritual lighthouses who help us to keep perspective and a righteous frame in our daily walk.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that miracles are not only found in the unexpected, extraordinary, unexplainable, or grandiose occurrences, but much more so in the little details of our existence and that of our environment which we don’t take any notice of because we take these things for granted. There is a miracle in the new rose bud that is about to open, the dove that flies over my garden as I am praying, the weird and wonderful cloud formations that keep me forever wondering, the laughter of a friend who is able to laugh and appreciate friendship despite his personal challenges and struggles, the fight within of a cancer sufferer who refuses to give up and battles with all they have until the power of determination overcomes the power of the illness. There is a miracle in the Autistic child that can’t make heads or tails of why he feels the way he does but is able to say “Mum, I love you and what am I going to do when you are no longer here with me?”. There is a miracle in the husband who one day fights with the frustration of being let down by his wife and the next renews his affections and love by giving her a gift.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that much will be asked of those of us to whom much has been given and alongside that thought the awareness that I own nothing really but I am a steward to much and therefore have a responsibility to myself, God and others to look after those things and people who have been entrusted under my care; to be generous with them and compassionate.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that millions suffer everyday as they lack the most basic of needs and rights, and the painful DAILY awareness that their joy always manifests within them in equal measure to and despite their pain. What is our excuse for complaining about our own predicaments? How dare we?
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I am here today but may no longer be here tomorrow and what did I do with all my todays and tomorrows?
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that today never comes back and so after it is gone would I have left the world or at least “my world” a better place?
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that I fail my calling everyday to honour God and to love him above all else with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength, and yet He never fails to continue forgiving and loving me, because unlike me He is not the God of second chances but countless.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that the fire that keeps the coals of my faith burning does not lie within a church, a church family, a religious system or even a house group, but with the Spirit of God Himself and I therefore have a direct source and access to that Spirit for He lives in me and I in Him and it is that constancy and that assurance that keeps my fire burning and not any external agent within the natural realm.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that only when I have failed, I can learn what true success is and how to obtain it.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that every now and then I need to take some punches in order to be taken down a peg or two so that I do not think of myself higher than I ought to.
- GRATEFUL for the DAILY AWARENESS that my birthday is not today but everyday and with each new day comes a fresh opportunity to become aware of all the things above all over again, an opportunity to stop, take stock and give thanks for the grace and the unconditional love that God gives me and which I do not deserve.
THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT IS KNOWING THAT WITH EVERY BREATH I GET YET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME AWARE OF HOW BLESSED I REALLY AM AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE MY GRATITUDE IN A PRACTICAL WAY.
IF I CAN ASK FOR JUST ONE THING ON THIS MY 44TH BIRTHDAY, LORD I ASK TO NEVER LOSE THIS AWARENESS AND TO ALWAYS DO SOMETHING WHICH LETS YOU KNOW THAT I AM GRATEFUL.