Best Gift Ever

My heart is still overflowing with gratitude from the outpouring of love from my husband and friends who celebrated my 32nd birthday with me. I’m even overwhelmed by every sweet little detail that worked out (like the rain holding off for our patio party or having my favorite – ice cream cake!), and simply having a blast bowling and being silly!

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The night went better than I could have imagined and it was a tangible reminder of God’s faithful love, provision, and care. I also experienced something I haven’t known in a long time – peace, joy, and being fully present (That definitely doesn’t come naturally from a “Martha”!).

As I got ready to make a wish and blow my candle out, I was surprised at what my heart dreamt up. Normally Christmas and my birthday are when I decide to be fearlessly bold and wish for big things like kids, an awesome career, couple friends, traveling the world, etc. Those are no doubt some of the best things this life has to offer so I was surprised by my first instinct to wish for “closeness with God” which is honestly not one of my usual go-to wishes. In a split second my mind jumped in and said, “Are you sure?! Now’s your chance to really go for it!” But my heart said, “Nope – I want more Jesus.”

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I often think I know my own desires and get upset when I don’t get what I think I deserve. That’s what 31 mostly looked like – disappointment. I spent the better part of last year lamenting my losses, unfulfilled dreams, and waiting – LOTS and LOTS of waiting, which can drive one to despair. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12) is a true statement I can personally attest to.

However, there is hope! The latter part of the verse is also true: “…but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” To my surprise, along with disappointment also came gifts I never expected: God’s comfort through His Word, His Spirit, and His people (Thanks for ingraining that in me, Michael Easley!); grace to get through the hard days; new compassion for people in situations I never imagined I’d find myself in; and something impossible to achieve out of my own free will: CONTENTMENT.

31 taught me God’s desires for me are better than my own even when the process is excruciatingly painful. Three lessons I learned (and am still in the process of learning) from heartbreak is that:

  1. I’m the one that needs to align with God’s will and not the reverse because He’s God, and I’m not! (Again, thanks Michael Easley!)
  2. His best is best, even if it’s not what I envisioned
  3. Someone else’s “everything” or “best thing ever” might not look the same for me because His plan for me (and you!) is tailor-made

As I step into 32 I can’t help but praise God for doing the impossible in my life; I can still smile, press on, and believe that my best years are to come because Christ died on the cross for me and through that sacrifice, gave me eternal life with Him. That blessing and promise is enough to get me through anything.

Lord,

Thank You for fulfilling my heart’s true desire to be known and loved by You. I’m all yours, and here’s to 32!

❤ amanda mae

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