Tonight, my heart stirs in fear. I’m startled because I haven’t felt it here in a while. Anxiety has returned and caught me off stride again. In moments like this, I often feel called to write. And so I pick up my pen and obey.
Naturally, I start scribbling. It’s been a few weeks and the soft, delicate paper seems somewhat foreign to my fingertips. And then, as if God felt my heavy worries and heard my silent prayers, He blessed me with a truth that faces so many—one I needed to hear in this moment of fear.
The message that came to me expressed, “Birthdays can often be so bittersweet.” It humbles me more than I could have ever hoped, because in true, heartfelt honesty, my birthday has always been a hard day for me.
I’m still not sure why this is. My memories of these days are truly far and few between. Yet last year, this fear of a day that is meant to be so special deepened more than I ever thought it could.
All I remember is praying that the day would end quickly. I was emotional. I felt forgotten. My fear of being unloved was restored, feverishly and wildly.
And so, although I am cautious to admit these ever-running thoughts, I slowly and safely release the angst I’ve felt about my birthday this month to the pages before me. I write about wishing that time would slow down and perhaps the day may never come, all so I won’t have to face it at all.
It’s not that I worry about growing a year older, but I do fear growing older without those I love the most. I entered this year having lost relationships I never thought I would lose, and now I worry that this heartache will be too heavy to hold with each passing day. My birthday, I assume, is a reminder of who isn’t here anymore, even when they still hold a place so dear in my heart.
Yet through prayer and purpose, I come to honor how this year feels different to me. Renewed, almost. It feels different because I now believe, and that has changed everything for me.
When I pray and express my heavenly hope, I come to honor how my heart is shifting even in the wilderness. My belief turns me, even with fears of loss, because I have something that makes every reminder of being alive so, so worth it: faith.
Faith has changed me. It has truly rocked who I used to be so I could become who I was always meant to be. And although it is wearying to see some heartfelt ties fade with the wind, I trust my love never will. I will forever believe that I can love those in my past from a distance, praying that their hearts are well and lives are sweet. I love them and pray for them because that is what I am meant to do, even when this heartache still feels so fresh and new.
In this season of life, I trust that I am rising. Some days I may feel as if I am falling under the waves of worldly pressures, yet my faith in the everlasting and hopeful unknowns that belief provides has gifted me more peace than I could have ever imagined in my abounding and unfailing daydreams.
And so, on my birthday this year, I am choosing to rejoice. I am choosing to show thanks and gratitude to the One who has saved me, for I trust that He has given me this day not to honor me, but to honor His work in me.
I feel so blessed to be loved by someone who will never leave, never forget, and never hurt me. And I therefore know that seeking His acceptance instead of acceptance from the world will bring me hope on a day that has often been hopeless.
On each and every birthday to come, I know that I will be in need of someone greater than myself to hold onto when the earth trembles restlessly beneath my feet. I now trust that I can only find that faith in God. Because He is love. And if I have Him, I have all I’ll ever need.