Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Birthday Blues -- Andrea Merrell

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Over the last decade, I have developed a love/hate relationship with birthdays. A constant reminder that I am getting older, they present another milestone that makes me look back at all the things I have failed to accomplish. They cause me to look a little closer in the mirror, searching for new wrinkles, gray hairs, and age spots.

Birthdays are bittersweet. Along with the unwanted feelings and regrets, they bring lots of smiles, laughter, and time spent with friends and family. Cards, cakes, and gifts always seem to make an appearance. Even e-cards and text messages are welcome surprises. Birthdays are a time to celebrate and recognize the difference one life can make in this world.

Children love parties, ice cream, and all the hoop-la that comes with birthdays, but I’ve noticed when you pass forty, then fifty, and start inching toward the sixty mile marker, you want less fanfare and more time for quiet reflection. You begin to take inventory of your life – what it means – what you’ve done – what you still have left to do. Someone once said, “I love birthdays because the more I have, the longer I live.” A true statement, but maybe we could add, “The longer I live, the more I appreciate the time I have.”

The truth is, age, like everything else, is relative. If we constantly compare ourselves to others or despair over our lost youth, we miss the peace, joy, and fulfillment of living one day at a time, looking forward to the experiences and opportunities God brings our way.

Life is truly a gift. We were given breath because God has a wonderful plan and purpose for each of us. We can take that gift for granted, or embrace it and determine in our heart to become all God created us to be, savoring every moment and living life to the fullest.

With that attitude, we can boldly say, “Birthdays don’t bother me – bring ‘em on!”

Andrea Merrell is a freelance writer with a passion to help others see God’s Word as practical and relevant for ordinary, everyday life. She has written material for ladies’ groups, marriage retreats, skits, websites and brochures, and served as both columnist and editor for Pan Am Bank Notes in Tampa, Florida. She loves Christian fiction and is currently working on three novels, along with countless devotions.
Andrea (a new “grandma” with two more on the way) has been married to her husband and best friend, Charlie, for 37 years and lives in South Carolina.