Wednesday, October 22, 2014

turning 32 = food, family, fun, and needing more grace

I turned 32 on Friday! {Exclamation point because it is exciting, right? ha!}

If the last week is at all foretelling of the coming year, I'm in for a lightning round. :)

The birthday celebrations started on Thursday night with Abbie and my friend Lindsay at a new pizza place. They are great friends- encouraging and real and funny. :D Also, if it weren't for them, I'd have no record of this moment: 


You know you're getting old when you don't mind being sung to by a crowd of servers if it means you get a free canoli cream puff. :D Free food > embarrassment! Always. :) {I can't tell you how many times I've been tempted to eat the untouched leftovers of someone's plate at a restaurant. :P}

A late night post-celebation chatting session ended later than expected when my car ran out of battery and wouldn't jump. I can proudly say I've now used jumper cables, though not successfully. :) Again, thankful for friends like Abbie who will stay with you and help you try to figure out how to pop the hood... and then give you rides home when you're stranded. :)

The car incident rerouted our Friday events a little, and Rob surprised me with my favorite kind of birthday breakfast:


Seriously. When I had my own car as a senior in high school, my favorite breakfast after our college class was a Dr. Pepper and a Chick-o-stick. {which believe it or not, Rob remembered and tried to buy me first but they were old!}. There was a reason I gained an extra 5 lbs. that year. ;)

More surprises were to come though, like these Stargazer Lilies:


 And then we had lunch with my dad at Chuy's:



Dad took the kids from there so I could have the day with Rob. Good men on both sides of that deal! :) Rob kept the munchkin in the car while I shopped alone: 


I hit a few stores and found absolutely nothing {probably a good thing when you're building a house...}, and then I visited a barn sale where I found three old hymnals. :)


That night, thanks to my dad again, we had our very FIRST DATE alone in 14+ months!!! :D {cue the Hallelujah chorus!}. It was fantastic.


Rob didn't tell me where we were going, but when he looked up directions I knew it was somewhere we'd never been. :) We went to this quiet little French American restaurant and enjoyed the BEST food. I had Moroccan Chicken {stuffed with feta cheese and pesto!} and Rob had bleu cheese meatloaf:


I was in food heaven. Sooo good!

And then we hit the grocery store for a coconut cake:


This year I asked for a cake at home instead of the restaurant so we could all share. I am not sure what I was thinking bringing home kryptonite. Let's just say I will be visiting the gym a few extra hours in the next two weeks. ;)

And I really think birthdays keep getting sweeter because of things like this:


All the texts and FB messages and birthday wishes mean so much to me these days. I am so blessed and thankful for all the friends and family who love me. It makes me want to cry!  :)

I'm amazed that I have been given 32 years of this life. The last few years have gotten so much harder, but so much sweeter too. Sometimes life feels like a battle- just to keep up with it all. 

So many times I get overwhelmed by all the work there is to do- both in my home and in my heart. I know I'm not the person I used to be 10 years ago, but I can imagine in 10 years from now I will be a different person than I am at 32. Looking back, I can see all those uncomfortable and pressing situations I've been through aren't for nothing. I see the Lord's hand in them, humbling me and showing me my sinful heart time after time. 

At this point it feels like I'm moving through quicksand though...slow and barely able to walk forward. But then I look back and see how far the Lord has brought me, and it encourages me to keep moving, to not be afraid of the pain of discipline, to not be afraid to give up more, to not be afraid to lose myself. I know I don't want to keep it in my control anyway, you know? On my own, I choose selfishly every time, but He helps me through reminding and convicting me that my life is not for my own benefit. It's for His glory. 

Putting myself on the throne of my life is making myself my god. But dying to my own wishes, giving up what I prefer, dying to my own pride {thanks to humbling situations! ugh!}- these are actually really good things. I can't keep the life and all the things that I want and do the will of the Lord too. This flesh seed must die in order to bear fruit. I know that true joy is found in the death of my will, and in doing the will of God, but it is an all-out battle.

The hardest thing I've done so far in this life is to deny myself, and I've barely scratched the surface of it. I have so, so far to go. It feels like getting older means pretty much seeing how much more you're a sinner- which would be totally depressing if it weren't for the blood of Jesus! Seriously. I would have nothing without Him.

Like the song says- I'm so thankful that His grace is greater than all my sin- "For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." {John 1:16}

Grace upon grace, upon grace.  Upon grace. Only because of Jesus. 

Such, such good news. I know I will need more of it this year. 

Thank you Lord God, for 32 years. Please help me to live for you and die to myself this year. I want to bring you glory, no matter the cost of my own life. Please help me, Jesus. I need you so desperately- I can't do this on my own. Thank you for giving me true, abundant life. Please help me to do your will.
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