My four-year old asked me this morning, "Mom, are you thirty or one hundred today?"
"Somewhere in there", I told him, patted him on the head, looked in the mirror, and yanked out another grey hair.
THEY ARE TAKING OVER. So, yes. I am losing the war. But, I ain't going down without a FIGHT and a good hairdresser with a stack of trashy magazines and a tub of color me happy.
I always feel this strange mix of emotions on my birthday - about getting older, about days gone by that will never be again, about the life God has given me. Maybe birthdays are really supposed to be for kids and balloons and birthday parties, but truthfully? I LOVE my birthday. I LOVE a reason to celebrate. I LOVE that my husband has a GOOD reason to take off of work and take me to lunch and shopping all day... like he did today. <---- #lovelanguage
I love that he bought me high top polka dot Converse.
And, I LOVE cake.
I love that God has given me another day, another year to live here on earth.
Can I tell you a birthday story?
My mother miscarried a baby before she got pregnant with me.
When she and I talk about it, which we do from time to time - usually on my birthday or when I've had a baby, a certain sadness comes over her followed by a thankful smile, "But, if God had given me that baby, I wouldn't have you."
It always makes me cry. I lost a baby, too.
When I was born, she and my Dad named me Sarah Grace.
When I first asked her, "Why did you name me Sarah?", she responded, "That was your father's choice. He was very adamant about it." A biblical name that he loved. So very Dad to choose Sarah.
But, why "Grace"?
Grace was born from uncertainty. Grace came after loss. Grace was God's gift after sorrow. God loving through and after pain. Grace was God's triumph over hurt.
You see, when my mother lost the baby she was carrying before I came to be, her doctor looked at her and said, "Sharon, you can't have more children."
"Can't?", she asked. "Or shouldn't?"
Her doctor looked at her with stern concern: "Shouldn't."
Here I am. Celebrating another birthday with polka dot high top Converse, five children of my own, and a Chipotle burrito bowl.
A "Shouldn't" that was. A "Shouldn't" that is.
My father's girl. Sarah. And, God's unexpected gift to my mother. Grace. A "Shouldn't" baby who helped heal and stitch new love where loss had left empty arms and hearts.
Today, my heart's song is grace. One of my closest friends once told me, "Sar, you crave grace like chocolate chip cookies."
Don't all of us? God's unmerited favor. God lavishing on us what we don't deserve. Despite all of our screw-ups and selfishness and hurt and pain and loss.
YES, I crave it. I want to bathe in it. And, I desperately want to be grace to others. Extending it - even when it isn't deserved because it's been given to me ten-thousand fold - and I don't deserve it.
God saved me. He saved a "Shouldn't" baby and knit me together in my mother's womb and gave me a perfectly imperfect body. My body bears scars - the outside and the inside. Outside scars that tell even strangers that suffering is part of life. And, heart wounds that tell those closest to me that God never promised easy. To any of us.
But, God has never been short on grace in my life. He has always showered me with it - over and over in every season. Through every trial.
And, here I am. So thankful that He's given me another year.
Here to tell whoever will listen that while my body and my heart bear the wounds of suffering, Jesus died for me in the biggest grace-display in history. He died to give me life - new life as a baby in my mother's arms, and a new life and new heart that gets to spend eternity with Him.
He gave this to you, too.
You may know me as Sarah - wife to Jason, mother of those five disheveled whippersnappers, writer of stories, taker of TOO MANY pictures, and the one laughing too loud at the most inappropriate times.
But, if you know me as no one else, I want you to know me as Sarah Grace - the "Shouldn't" God brought to be, the daughter of Larry and Sharon - God's gift of grace after loss.
Sarah. Who craves grace like chocolate chip cookies and whose great privilege is to live out loud a life of thankfulness, obedience, and joy to the One who brought me to life, saved me, and loves me as His own.
Just a simple girl that God loves and Jesus saved and whose name is written in the great book of Life.
A "Shouldn't" who, by God's grace, is -
...and who wants you to know, today on my birthday and every day in between, that Jesus loves you, He died for you, and His amazing grace is for you, too.
Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.