It's my birthday tomorrow. My forty-first birthday. To get in the birthday-blogging mood, I was re-reading my previous birthday posts: 39 and 40 (such original titles, I know...). Each pretty traumatic in it's own way. In comparison, this promises to be somewhat of a dull post, since I'm perfectly ok with turning forty-one.
Truth be told, it's been another crazy year. Seems as though every year holds it's own brand of crazy, I'm coming to discover. Unlike most of my years to date, however, this one has been characterized more by peace and joy and gratitude and grace - a refreshing change, to say the least.
But mostly peace. Not because it's been a particularly peaceful year - lots of unexpected and unwelcome things have happened, intermingled with much that was wonderful and very welcome. Rather, I think it's because I've been learning to be a more peace-filled person; and to take that peace with me into whatever storm may arise.
The statements above sound a little misleading - as if this peace has been achieved through any effort on my part. That couldn't be any farther from the truth. In fact, the only reason I've been able to (sometimes) practice peace in stressful situations is because God has been revealing to me more and more of who He is:
That peace is a Person - One who is with me always. That His love never, ever fails. That His kindness and goodness toward me are completely consistent and dependable. That His joy really is my strength. That He has endless patience with me. That He delights in me.
I wouldn't call it a perfectly peaceful year, however. It's so easy to forget that God is for me, not against me. It's so easy to make a mistake, then another, spiraling down into that dreaded place of discouragement and doubt. It's so easy to forget who I am, whose I am. And that makes all the difference in how I respond to challenges and difficulties.
I saw the term "imperfect progress" for the first time this past year. I guess that's how I'd best define my journey - not a steady, predictable ascent, but more of a meandering, three-steps-forward-two-steps-back kind of awkward-yet-joyous dance. And you know what? I'll take it!
All things considered, forty has been my best year yet; and I have every confidence that forty-one will be even better. Not because I've got everything figured out, but because I'm learning to trust the One who does.