There’s Always Something to Celebrate

Thoughts on Birthdays, Being Me & Breaking Free

Life has flown in the 6+ months since my last blog post!  Last summer, I decided to start “moonlighting” and I took on a part-time side job with a regional magazine. I had never worked in sales, and advertising sales proved to be challenging– 100% commission, generating my own leads. We work and are paid on a quarterly basis. My first quarter, Fall, was ok. Winter was a dud. Finally, in Spring, success! I finally earned what I consider to be my first “real” paycheck, which was my goal all along. It came at the perfect time when my family needed it most, and it was a blessing. The feeling of accomplishment far outweighed the monetary gain.

Over Christmas break, I decided that I wanted to do more with my writing. I joined a couple of Christian writing groups (for mutual support and encouragement purposes), and I got to work. This month, thankfully, I had my first article published! The trade journal that picked it up has a limited readership and circulation (in the U.S. only), but it’s a start! Seeing my name and photo in print on a magazine page was a great encouragement.

Finally, last month, I decided that I wanted to move forward with pursuing my MBA– for real this time; no more dress rehearsal. I discovered what I now consider to be the program of my dreams, I applied, my previous credit transferred, and now I’m registered to begin courses next month.

Despite all of the political, social and economic challenges present in our country (of which there are many, and they cannot be glossed over or ignored), I am still thankful to live in a place where a girl like me can dream up an idea, and then decide to go do it. I am aware that this is not the case for so many women.

While I so enjoy connecting with other female entrepreneurs here in the US– and trying to encourage, help and partner with them however I can– it is one of my driving passions to partner with organizations that provide opportunities for women in developing countries. World Vision, Kiva and a women’s shelter in Guatemala called El Refugio are my three personal favorites that are close to my heart.

I don’t have any big dreams; I have several small dreams that make up a full, big, beautiful life.

Without Christ in my life, I had nothing. When I found Him I found my true identity. Suddenly I had something to seek and live and run and strive for. I well remember the emptiness of not having Him. Maya Angelou put it this way: “When I found that….I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that….when I internalized that, I became courageous. I dared to do anything that was a good thing.”

This week I am celebrating a Birthday. There are a few different ways that I could look at this one. I’m turning 36, which feels somewhat momentous. I am now tilting more toward 40 than 30, and I’m well poised to be rushed along toward middle age at speed. I can sympathize with Job: “…..What’s left races off too fast….My life is going fast, like a ship under full sail, like an eagle plummeting to its prey.” (9:25-26)

I’m turning 36. According to one of my specialists at Johns Hopkins, I will be blind by the time I’m 50. Therefore, I could choose to see my birthday as the subtraction of one more year of sight. Instead of 15 years of sight left, I now have 14 years remaining. The enemy of my soul would love for me to fixate on that. He hates me and he has always hated my birthday, and he almost made me hate it too– starting with the time when something tragic happened to me on the day I turned 15.

But no. I refuse to live that way.

John 9:4 says, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.” We have work to do. In a very real sense, end-stage Glaucoma is darkness closing in, threatening to choke out the daylight. Therefore I cling with all that is within me to John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Whatever it is that threatens the light in your life– failure, mistakes, pain, financial crisis, a bad diagnosis or an unfavorable prognosis– instead of allowing it to suffocate or overshadow your dreams and goals, allow it instead to be fuel to the fire that burns within your heart…..The very fire that was first ignited by His love. Allow it to propel you forward.

Keep moving forward, following His leading, trusting in Him, allowing Him to open doors for you. (Oh, but He will!) And while you’re at it, extend a hand to others to help them do the same.

“This really is your one wild and precious life. You matter so much. You are writing a good story for your children. Your community and church need you, your neighbors and family need you, God adores you and Jesus is obsessed with you. Here we are, your community of women running this race together, proud of you, moved by you. We’ll stumble, that’s part of the course; but we’ll leave no woman behind.” ~Jen Hatmaker, For the Love

So this weekend, I will be out celebrating my birthday and exulting in the exquisite gift of this one wild and precious life.

I hope you will be celebrating too! There is always, always a reason to celebrate– Be it a life well lived, or the first bloom of Spring, or the way your hand still fits so well in his in spite of everything.

“Life is a gift, and the Giver is Good.”

-Pat Barrett, Housefires

Cheers,
Helen

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