The summer before my daughter turned 10 I heard someone share a family tradition.  I internalized it and adjusted it and implemented it for her that year-her 10th birthday.  We called it “10-the year of happiness!”  We got empty capsules from the drug store, wrote on little pieces of paper 12 activities or gifts for her and stuffed them in the capsules.  So on her birthday she received this little jar of these ‘pills’ with a note indicating that every month on the anniversary of her birthday she would open and redeem another one.  The boys can’t wait for their turn!

 Last week i turned 40.  i am delighted about it.  Yes i am reflective and introspective (when am i not?) 

i am delighted to have grown.
i am delighted to have been redeemed-it’s not quite for half of my life yet, but getting closer
i am delighted for those on my journey to this stop in the road who have made it possible that i am here…and not somewhere else. 
i am deeply aware of the turns my life could have taken.  the misery i could still be in.  had Jesus not rescued me, and key people not counseled and befriended and discipled me. 
i am delighted to be delighted!

 And i am thankful.  so so very thankful.  yes i am keeping track of all the ways He loves me-my heavenly Father whom i get to call da-da (English for abba)

 For a month now i’ve been planning in my head a special party.  where these key folks would be invited.  where i would present them with a gift and words of blessing and thanksgiving for them and their specific gift of influence to me.

 it stayed there in my head.

 i even made up a couple of invitations-picked out a potential date.  i made a couple of the gifts (journals for giving thanks, recording joy-thanks Ann) the date came and went, invitations not sent.  my birthday coming closer and then passing-the party not happening.

 the day of my birthday i went to lunch-and gave out two of the gifts-with a had written note as best i could scratch out in a moment how dear that person was.  i gave my husband and children gifts.  When everyone balked; “what!  you can’t do that-it’s your birthday.”  i declared 40 is the year of opposites.  where did that come from??? i’ve no idea. 

but the thought has lingered.  the failure of my initial plan need not discourage-as in every other instance in my life (and there have been MANY);  a failed plan is an opportunity for a new one to emerge.  it’s usually a better one in the long run. 

 So I have self declared that i will finish the rest of those gifts and i will deliver them-this year.  for me that’s the opposite of my normal not following through with what the Spirit has prompted me (dare i trust that is what it is??)  When visiting with another friend a different day-i shared this continual need for courage to share what is going on in my head.  her words to me; “Share it!  you are withholding blessing from people if you don’t.  By all means, share!”

 so as one who over-analyzes; over-introspects; talks myself OUT of things all the time.  This year of being 40 is self-declared the year of opposites.  i will seek courage to share-when it seems foolish; to act when i’m thinking “oh-just forget it, it was a silly idea anyway” give gifts when it’s my turn to receive.  Really it’s a year of thinking less of myself-and acting on that thought. 

 instead of the year of acting…-or not- based on fear.
i will act-or not…. based on courage????

 this is not a self-declared year of having a different personality.  i have fought that battle and lost time and time and time again.  it seems that the 20’s were figuring out who i am, and the 30’s growing to accept and work with who i am-the 40’s need not be;  ok, now let’s change who i am.  no, it’s more about letting who i am out more.  no, not even that type of pulling up my bootstraps.  its moving into a deeper trust in God with what He has declared about me and allowing Him to move me out in public as is.  it’s that showing up thing.  Receiving courage from Him to show up….and then maybe to open my mouth….and to let what happens next just be.  just let it be.  talk with Him about it-let Him assure me of Himself.  Quit over-analyzing how i could have been better, or how i should not have been. 

 we’ll see how it plays out-but the next step is to finish those gifts and begin making plans to deliver them.  journeys of 1000 miles do begin right here from this place of stillness-taking just the first step!

 For He has said; “I am guiding you in the way of wisdom, and I am leading you on the right path.” 

my choice is to actually believe Him….

 and it will be a delightful year of being 40!