Today we celebrated Eden’s first birthday. Though her actual birthday isn’t for a few more days, it was wonderful to celebrate and rejoice over her first year of life.
Honestly, I’ve always thought first birthday parties were pretty stupid. It seems silly to spend a lot of time and effort since she won’t even remember it.
But we made a big effort anyway. For one thing, I have creative friends and I’m a sucker for cute party themes. But, even more importantly, I realized that the party really wasn’t for Eden anyway.
It was for Jason, me and the community that we have around us which has played a huge role in her first year of life. They have become our family.
It was with these dear people in our lives that we both remembered her day of birth and also held a time where we officially and publicly dedicated ourselves to raising her in the Lord. Then we prayed over her life.
What a special time.
What made it even more meaningful was the sentiment that both Jason and I had going into this day. We have a hopeful anticipation of what the Lord is going to continue to do in our lives, and that starts with the close of this year.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of talking to someone I respect greatly in ministry. As I asked him questions about his life serving the Lord, he mentioned a four-year period in his life that was very low. I think he even used the word, “dark”.
A four-year dark period.
Four years is my entire marriage. It’s most of my time on staff with Cru. It’s a huge chunk of my adult life.
But for this man who has served the Lord for 30+ years, four years feels much different. I’m sure that time was significant to his life- of course it was. But it in no way defined him.
Because of the events of the last four years, I think there have been times when I have been tempted to think that this is my life. It ceased to be a season and just became… my life.
Having that conversation gave me so much hope. I’m sure that my dear friend never thought he was being encouraging by mentioning a four year dark period in my life.
But I latched onto his words, and I was encouraged.
I pictured being four years away from now – in a completely different place in my life – and being able to look back over the past few years as the dark time.
It has become my prayer.
It would be foolish to say that pain and tragedy will never have a place in my life again. It will – that’s just life.
But we are hopeful, and tonight my dearest friends and family joined with us in praying that this might mark the end of the dark period.
There will certainly be more to process and more that God will want to reveal to us through what we have experienced, but we are praying in faith that we may, in a significant way, close the door on this part of our lives and move forward in joyful expectation of the next chapter that God is bringing.