Welp, I really appreciated all the birthday love from last week that you sent my way. It just added to the sunshine of my day.
Although, I can't lie. My B-day did have some pits. I had already cried twice by 8 a.m. Just the expected mixture of high birthday expectations mixed with trying to get the kids dressed, fed, and ready for school. For some reason, I thought those steps might run smoother on my birthday. Um, yeah not so much. (It also should be against the laws of the universe for hormones to be wacky on your birthday too. Just sayin.)
But after the house was quiet, one special friend and her little lady came over with yummy breakfast treats and iced teas for us to enjoy. Then the three of us went to get pedicures. That was fun. I haven't had one in I don't know how long.
Next stop on the birthday train was the mall. Another sweet friend met us there, and I think the highlight (besides the coconut cupcake she brought me!) was wondering whether the individual in the Victoria's Secret marketing department passed all his or her spelling tests in school. One boxed Halloween costume on the clearance table featured a sub-classy ensemble for a naughty airline employee. The name of it was "Air Hostress." Hostress. Hmm. And speaking of school, when I showed Julie the jammie shorts I was buying that said "extra credit" on the back and said, "Look what I'm getting," she replied, "Of course you are," because she knows I am a recovering overachiever and still loves me.
The day of fun chugged along as I said goodbye to my pals, picked up the kids, and we all went to the harbor with some more friends for an ice cream. It was there that I started to notice my little guy's cough. I thought it was because he was running a lot. Except then he was suddenly congested, and flushed, and ...oh no. By the time we got home and I put him in the bath, I realized he had a fever and his cough was sounding awful. How fast those bugs can descend, huh? I knew we'd have to cancel our family celebration and get him in bed early.
After letting go of the plans and wrestling with feeling sorry for myself, I was reminded that God was still celebrating me. He was smiling on me, proud of who He has made me to be. Honestly, it really lifted my spirits to think about God being with me that night. My Immanuel, just like I talked about a dozen times last month. It's real. It's now, not just for Christmas.
Then I sensed a word that He's been bringing around me lately. I hadn't noticed it until that night.
It is HOPE. That's what He wants me to focus on this year.
Hope is the word I heard in a movie I watched.
Hope is what jumped off the page in my Bible reading the other day.
Hope was the name of the woman I was behind in line.
Hope is in the title of this free eBook I downloaded and read straight through last week.
Hope is and has been all around me.
He's been whispering it to me for days.
And on my birthday, I finally heard Him. It was His gift.
I'm really curious. What will He do with my hope this year? What exactly am I hoping for? And how intentional do I need to be with this hoping? There is so much to think about. Perhaps God is giving me that word because hardship will tempt me to forget. Perhaps heartache will leave me feeling hopeless.
So I have it, a holy admonition to HOPE.
Dear friends, through the ups and downs of this year, please help me not to forget.
Do you have a word you want to focus on this year?