~My mother-in-law informed me that 30 is when she started celebrating the anniversary of her 29th birthday.
~One friend has promised that I will thoroughly love my 30s much more than I did my 20s.
~My brother (approaching 35) sarcastically asked me when he called if I could hear him (before we laughed at ourselves both yawning before 9:00pm).
~One of my dearest of friends told me she just can't wait to reach 30, that there's something exciting to her about finally arriving at that age...
My own summation thus far? I just feel...loved.
April 16th began with a half-day at work followed by an afternoon at home. The first thing I did upon arriving home at lunchtime was change clothes and sit on the couch. That's all. Just sat on the couch in my quiet livingroom, and loved on my dogs. My husband was out running some final birthday errands, so I savored the silence for a good hour before deciding to get up and move on with the rest of the day. I was then treated to an afternoon coffee date, roses, a gift card for a massage, and steak dinner prepared by my handsome man. And no dinner is complete without ice cream cake, the years-old tradition in our house. My husband loved on me all day long, giving things that he knew would make me smile, and making a meal that he knew would make my heart especially happy. He knows me well enough to know that some of the most simple of gifts, such as sweet little roses, speak the loudest to my heart. He reminded me throughout the day that I am loved.
On the evening following my birthday, I came home as usual and began the process of unwinding and getting dinner ready. My husband was pressuring me to get out of the house to run an errand. Completely annoyed (visibly annoyed...I apologized later), I put dinner fixin's back in the fridge, and hopped in the car with him. We apparently had to run this errand by a certain time before a store closed, so we reverted to drive-thru for dinner on the way. After our whirlwind dinner and heading to the store, he suddenly took a quick turn through a neighborhood and down the street of some of our good friends... All the way down the street, I couldn't figure out why on earth we'd be taking such a random detour. As we pulled closer to our friends' house, I started seeing familiar cars parked, and my husband finally admits with an evil grin, "Okay, so I totally lied to you about where we were going". Upon opening the door to our friends' house, I was greeted by 13 beautiful friends singing "Happy Birthday." The rest of the evening was filled with yummy food, sweet conversation, lots of laughs, and them going out of their way to ensure that I felt...yes, loved! The highlight of the evening was the exquisite tulip bouquet they presented to me. Tied to the flowers were 30 pieces of paper where they had written down things about me: things they love, are encouraged by, make them laugh, etc. I was relieved when they assured me I didn't have to read them aloud myself. They, instead, took turns going around the room reading all of these sweet notes to me. Unforgettable.Humbling.Lump in my throat.Honored.Blessed. Loved indeed.
There are so many things I don't know right now, so many things my husband and I are grappling with in regard to decisions, the future, our daily emotions, so I grasp for any assurances whether big or small. Turning 30 has most certainly not lessened the impact of these varying feelings. So in the midst of this uncertain, confusing context, I choose to take hold of the truth that I am loved. My husband loves me in spite of knowing me and all of my failings. My family loves me, history and all. My friends love me, close and distant, acquaintance and kindred. I am loved by a Father who takes delight in reminding me of this truth. No matter our context, no matter the season or trials therein, no matter when or how we have been hurt or disappointed, His love is great and His love is deep. He is glad to display that love through the presence of dear brothers and sisters, those He surrounds us with to extend grace and encouragement. My husband is so often the direct means of God displaying such love, and on occasions such as my birthday, the display of this love moved me to praise. Oh, how sweet a gift that is, the gift of loved ones. Such a reminder of the love undeserved, unmerited, and unconditional.