Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My 40th Birthday

My plan for turning 40 was to travel to Los Angeles and run the marathon that supports the efforts of the DreamCenter. Obviously those plans changed, so after Christmas I implored Shaun to not do anything for my birthday, knowing it would land on a treatment week and, quite frankly, just being really sick of feeling like every day is Lisa Day.

However, my warning went unheeded and he gave Amy permission to forge ahead with a surprise party. Since I can't go out anywhere, she decided to bring the party to me. Literally, she brought decorations, food, everything and, with the help of some trusty assistants, had it all set up in the time it took me to get ready.  And really, even though it had to be, the perfect location was in my home...I love having the walls filled with people.

Aiden came to escort me downstairs for the "surprise before the surprise".
I was shocked to find my friend, who just days before I'd Facetimed with from her home in Denver, standing in my dining room. Shocking! Shelva flew across the country on days notice just to see me and to be at my party! Such love!

Maddy was a big help, keeping her mom on track, helping the girls look presentable and doing my makeup.
Lil and Meg have been steadies in my life for many years now. They have such servant's hearts and helped make everything happen flawlessly "behind the scenes". Meg is also the one who took all these pictures.
Heart. Breaker.

Amy lined up several people to share something....my dad, my mom, Shaun, my brother Tim, Amy and Shelva. I was blown away. They told stories from many years ago and spoke generously and lovingly about me (and didn't give away too many of my childhood secrets ;). Very touching. The girl they described is not the one I bring before the Lord each morning and beg Him to "make me more like You".

I kept looking around the room, marveling at the 35 or so people gathered in my dining room. These people have stepped in really close to us over the last four months when it would have been easier to just take a quiet step back and wait til this whole cancer thing blew over. They are beautiful, amazing people who are so quick to give and love. They are inspiring and make me want to be better and live with a heart wide open.

I'm so grateful to Amy for all the work and thought she put in to making the evening as special and perfect as it was.  At just 22 months apart we were each other's first friend and we've been through a whole lot together. She knows me like no other. I joke that I'm glad we're sisters because there's no way we would have been friends otherwise. She truly is a rare treasure and I'm so thankful she's mine.

Many people have asked me how I feel about turning forty and I actually have two slightly varying answers to that, one pre-September 19th and one post. My pre-September 19th answer would have been that 40 feels comfortable...it feels right. Though my skin is saggier and my hair grayer, there are many things I had to worry about and work through in my 20's and 30's that are settled now. God has changed me and grown me in so many areas. Shaun and I are reaping the rewards of time and effort we've invested in our marriage and our love, though not perfect, has never been sweeter. I love being a mom and am enjoying these school-age years. I think of the song that inspired my blog name:

I have been blessed
And I feel like I've found my way
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones
That love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed

My post-September 19th answer can be summed up in the words of my father-in-law, who has done his own battle with cancer:

As I got older, I started dreading birthdays. Now I consider each one a precious gift from God.

So true. We all think we have this big long road stretched before us and, though we know in theory that life ends at some point, we don't actually live that out in reality. But when you come face-to-face with something that makes you realize for certain that life is indeed terminal, you begin to look at each new day, each new birthday with a certain amount of awe and wonder and gratefulness.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will 
dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 
Psalm 23:6


The Bug said...

What a wonderful gift! I'm so glad your wishes were not heeded :) (and my goodness what a cutie in a bow tie!)

Amy said...

Wow!! Beautiful post and such wisdom in BOTH your pre and post feelings! So eloquent!

sara said...

I smiled and teared up throughout this post. Happy Belated Birthday, my sweet friend. And though you don't think that girl they described is you...I have a feeling it is more you that you think..because they see God in you. We have a hard time seeing Him in ourselves. Love you!!

Meg A. said...

Loved this night...your house, full of people, is always a treat but this celebration was extra special. XOXO

benilhalk said...

Wow! I just loved your birthday arrangements! Your friend and family members has done amazing job and organized perfect party for you. Even I don’t think so organizing any event at home is easy to plan. As I have faced many problems while searching event location rentals.