I take a lot of flack from friends and family about celebrating my birthday.  I don’t know why they think it’s so strange that I like to celebrate all month long!  Of course, I’m the only one celebrating, so it’s just a lot of lunches by myself and trips for ice cream in between clients…. So just another normal month, I guess.  Seriously, I don’t know why I love birthdays so much.  And I’m a total spaz when it comes to “landmark” birthdays.  I threw my husband a full-on Star Wars party complete with little kid party hats when he turned 21.  I did!  And now, 20 some years later we will throw a Star Wars themed party for my son when he graduates high school this year.  I love to celebrate the people I love!  And, I am sure that there is some deep seeded emotional mumbo-jumbo behind my incessant need to celebrate my own birthday for a full month and the fact that I “helped” to plan my “surprise” 30th birthday party a decade ago.  Ok, moving on….

So, this year I’m making a change!  In just 40 very short weeks, I will be turning 40 years old!  Another decade will be in the books and for the first time in my life I’m having some struggles with it.  The only way I can think of getting through this next year, is to celebrate this landmark birthday for a full 40 weeks.  It’s really the only thing that makes sense if you think about it.  (*snickering*)

I, of course, can’t do it alone.  So, just as I drag my family into my craziness in October, I will be dragging anyone who dares read this blog through the next 40 weeks.  I think I’m struggling with turning 40 because I had so many things that I thought I would have accomplished by now.  I watch other women who are my age and they are doing all the things I thought I would be doing by now and it gets me down. (I know, I know… comparison is awful and I shouldn’t do it. We’ll talk about that later.)  One of these accomplishments is writing.  I was sure that I would have published a book by now.  I love to teach and write and help women understand the scriptures and their walk with God.  Over the last 20 years I have probably started and gave up on over a dozen books and/or Bible studies.  I can list out all the “reasons” that this hasn’t happened for me yet, but the bottom line is I keep letting my insecurities get in the way.  If I’m not asked to teach, I get myself all worked up into thinking I’m an awful teacher.  That then pours over to my writing.  I don’t have anything new to say.  There are other women I know who are telling their story that’s identical in many ways to my own.  Why do we need another voice out there?  So, I back off all the more. 

Until now.  I’m turning 40 y’all!!  FORTY!  If I’m going to follow this calling on my life, then I need to stop listening to the voices holding me back and just go for it!  To get my mind back in the game, I am going to post 40 blog entries in 40 weeks.  These 40 blogs will somewhat tell my story.  They will be my journey to 40 and you get to come along for the ride.  If you dare to get caught up in my “crazy” that is.  I am praying that this effort will open up my pen again and that I will be inspired to work on one of my many, already started book projects and complete just one of them this year. 

So, here we go!  Forty weeks to 40.  What am I getting myself into?! 

Week 1 – The Most Important Part of Me

In Acts chapter 22, the apostle Paul is being arrested and turned over to the Roman government by the Jews who hated him.  He gains permission to get in front of this group of haters to share his story.  He could have begged for freedom.  He could have retaliated with hate.  He could have preached at them and told them how evil they were being.  Instead, he shares about the moment that Jesus changed the trajectory of his life.  His testimony of his salvation.  My husband and I have used this model given by Paul to teach countless teens and adults how to tell their own salvation story.

My testimony, how Jesus changed the trajectory of my life, is the most important part of my story so I will share it first!  My parents were too young to have a baby and were very far from living for the Lord.  There were some who thought that adoption would have been the best option. I’m sure they regretted thinking that once they got to know me. As it is for every human being, it was by God’s divine work that I came into this world.  He saw that my heart was protected through the early years of my life.  There wasn’t a lot of stability in my life growing up.  My early years especially were filled with fears, insecurities and lots of change.  I won’t get into details, because that part is not my story to tell… but it’s important to my story that you know that trusting people has always been difficult for me.  My experience through my first 5 years was that people leave you or hurt you or you have to leave them.  So, when I started going to church for AWANA, and started at a Christian school for Kindergarten, I began to learn more about this man named Jesus.  He was the Son of God. He made me.  He loved me.  He was someone I could trust completely, always. God wanted to be my Father and that could only happen if I gave my heart to Jesus.  I learned that I was a sinner and that my sin was keeping me separated from my Father, God.  I learned that there’s a penalty for sin and someone had to pay that penalty.  God sent Jesus, His only son, to earth to live as a human.  He came to die on the cross to pay the price for my sin.  That was strange to me that someone would do something so selfless for me!  So, I had a choice.  I could accept the payment of Jesus, or I could pay the price myself one day.  Accepting His payment meant that I would have a Father that would NEVER leave me.  It meant that I would have someone helping me and guiding me through the rest of my life as I followed Him and obeyed His word.  I was about 6 years old when it all sunk in and I was ALL IN!  I gave my heart to Jesus one afternoon after school.  I remember sitting on my top bunk in our home on Franklin St. and the first thing I did was jumped down and shared this incredible gift with my little brother!  I wanted him to go to Heaven with me one day and I wanted him to experience the joy of knowing Jesus that I was experiencing.  Then I told everyone I knew that I had asked Jesus to be my Savior.

You may be wondering how a 6 year old girl can say that the trajectory of her life changed that day.  The answer is simple.  Before this day, I was still lost in my sin.  I was on my way to an eternity in The Lake of Fire without my relationship with Jesus.  The Bible says that those whose names aren’t found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.  My name wasn’t in that book yet.  As soon as I made the decision to follow Jesus, my name was written in that very important book, and there’s no eraser!  From that moment on, I have been on my way to an eternity with my Father in Heaven and I’m just doing whatever He wants me to do on this Earth until I get there.  Trajectory changed! 

I hope you will stick with me for the next 40 weeks, because I want to tell you more about the last 40 years of my life and share with you the amazing things that God has done.  My prayer is that you will be encouraged, challenged, and uplifted as I share with you the Hope that is in me.