Birthdays are supposed to be happy occasions but sometimes birthdays end up being blue, melancholy days of remembrance. More funeral than party. More lament than celebration.
Today is my birthday. My twenty-sixth blue birthday to be exact. I requested a cake-less day without a party or the traditional, rhythmically challenged birthday song. For days leading up to this April the twelfth I have tried to forget that the day was even approaching. Twenty-six sounds dangerously close to thirty. A step into the later half of the twenties. It is a gigantic reminder that my life is at one big loose-end. My only birthday wish has been that somehow I could sleep through the day in a butterflies cocoon, hidden away from the reality of my unchanging circumstances.
This birthday has serviced as a reminder that my past six years have been pure turmoil. Six years of ill-health, fighting to hang on to my weight and my equilibrium. These years have been filled with more unknowns than sure-things. The mystery of it all has taken its toll.
When I fall on my humanness I become hopeless. The only way I've made it through has been choosing to fall on the grace of God. Not to say I always fall perfectly in His direction. Often times I find that I've fallen flat on my face and my knees before I've realized I need to collapse once again in the arms of my Abba, Father. He's brought me this far for a reason and although sometimes I question His intent, timing and purpose, I have found in the past six years that I have no other safe, soft place to land. I have to fall on God. Where else can I go?
This morning, on my twenty-sixth birthday, I found myself once again on my knees and in His arms, sobbing, chocking on my tears. As I laid there at a loss for a reason to pull myself up off the ground, a single phrase came pouring from my lips. It was as if the words themselves were spoken through Jesus Christ, right into this broken vessel: I can go on spiritually. As the words flowed from me I didn't even know if I could believe them or fulfill them. But the more I said it the truer the proclamation became. I can go on spiritually. I don't need to go on physically. I don't even need to worry about my physical body. The hope I have in my heart will keep me going. It has for all six years of my multiple sclerosis. God has kept me going spiritually, filling me with hope and endurance to carry on, bringing me to the age of twenty-six and He will not abandon me now.
With that promise hidden in my heart and those words propelling me forward I rose up off the floor and remembered the scene twenty-six years ago. A rainbow formed across the sky, painting a picture for drivers on the I-81 coordinator in Virginia. As my Father sped up the interstate on his way to join his laboring wife he looked up and saw that perfectly formed rainbow. In that rainbow He saw the promises of God - the same promises that, twenty-six years later, I still rest upon.
God made me twenty-six years ago this day. He has carried me through the ups and downs. He has sustained my physical body but more importantly He has rescued my spirit and given it the strength to go on.
On April twelfth I have every reason in the world to celebrate because I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine. In Christ I have received abundant, endless life. In Christ I have everlasting hope that speaks to my soul, carries my spirit and assures me that this precious child can and will go on.