Birthdays draw me into deeper reflection about the past and the present. This past year something in me changed- or perhaps it was a gradual change that I only noticed this past year. But the timing doesn’t matter; what does matter is that I’m more aware of how time is passing.
On the eve of my birthday I met my face in the mirror and glimpses my 13-year old self. In an instant memories flashed through my brain from that year- memories of thoughts, memories of emotions and memories of experiences. “I still remember you,” I said to my 13-year old self. “And now here you are: a wife, a mom of 7, a friend to many lovely people…well, what do you think? Do you like who you are?” How is it possible to so clearly remember being more than two decades younger? When did those years happen?
And then I look at the people around me and I see that time has not overlooked them either. They are no longer the memories I have of them- they are older or taller or more accomplished or more fragile. And I realize that I cannot spend this life dwelling on mistakes, mine or theirs. There are a myriad of instances from yesterday and over the past decades that I regret. And there are almost as many of which I am satisfied. Of the two options, I want to focus on the latter.
The birthday conclusion I’ve come to is that the nuances of living are happening outside of my line of vision. I might think I know the bigger picture but really, I don’t; after all, I can’t begin to tell you how I spent each minute of the past 8,760 days. And because of this I am thankful that while I don’t have it all together, God does. He faithfully works in the moments between the moments: molding, shaping, guiding, nudging, protecting. He takes my misspoken words, my fumbling fingers, my stumbling toes and my countless face plants and shines His glory through them. He knows exactly how the finished product of my existence will look like and He will accomplish it.
I’m not saying I am going to live flippantly in my new year, not at all. But I am going to live more gently by understanding that every day we each learn a little more about ourselves that we didn’t know before. And I’m going to live less fearfully by remembering that God made me to be me and my place in this world is important and unique.