Birthdays means so much more these days.
Every day means more than before the dreaded “c” word was spoken, which, ironically, makes the word not so dreadful.
I almost didn’t write your traditional birthday message this year. It’s late, and they say patients need to be in bed early. And to be honest, there’s not a lot of energy at the moment. And technically, if I don’t get this done in the next two hours, the clock will strike midnight and then I’ll be a day late. So I figured this year I’d just skip it altogether.
But then I thought… What if I’m not here next year? Not because of some awful disease, but for any number of unforeseen reasons. You know, we don’t have to have a dark diagnosis or grim prognosis to confidently know this… There are no guarantees for any of us!
Scripture states it plainly—“THIS is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Jesus said clearly to pray—“Give us THIS day our daily bread.” And Paul wrote, “THIS is the day of salvation.”
Yeah, it’s THIS day, the one we woke up breathing in, that matters. Because today is the only one we know for sure we’ve been given – the rest is usually reason for worry and Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. For who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his span of life?”
So I decided to write this to you even though we’ve already celebrated and who really cares if it’s late, because seriously, what if I wasn’t here next time? Would I have shared all that I wish I had? Would I have written enough truth on your heart’s tablet of growing wisdom?
Ummm, that would be an emphatic, “No!”
I could live to be 120 and still feel as if there was more to give you – to teach you – to show you. It’s the natural byproduct of motherhood. Simply put … We never. stop. caring.
So when a lady in a white coat comes in and says, “You’ve got six months,” one of the first thoughts that starts swirling in the Cyclone of Fear is: What about my children? My daughter? My boys? It doesn’t matter if they’re toddlers or towers, they need me! And regardless how young or old, they never stop learning. So my job here isn’t over!
Oh son, please listen to me good THIS day. I don’t know exactly how my years are numbered. I just know that they are. So I don’t have time to fiddle around like some bumbling oblivious fool. If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that each day is a Golden Opportunity – for all sorts of good things to happen. And to share any lessons learned with anyone who will listen, especially my kids.
So on your 26th birthday (or in this case, the day after) here are 26 things I’d want you to remember were I not around to remind you.
1.) Don’t wait until later to give that hug. Or smile. Or pat on the back. Now is your chance. It might never come again.
2.) Laugh a whole lot. Never hold it in. Laugh even when you’re not supposed to!
3.) Be quick to forgive. Don’t focus on the process so much. Just forgive. And let it go. I promise, you’ll save yourself a ton of turmoil if you learn to forgive easily. A grudge only hurts the one holding onto it.
4.) If you see something beautiful, just stop, take a minute to behold its beauty, and be grateful. (Don’t do this with women, they’ll think you’re weird. I’m talking sunsets, falling snow, things of that nature! 😉)
5.) Don’t be afraid to speak truth. Or to practice chivalry. Or to do the hard and noble thing. Even if you’re the only one. The world needs more integrity, more courageous people.
6.) Read something positive every day. (I recommend scripture!)
7.) Learn the art of being content in silence. Turn off the noise, the news, social media, anything distracting. Especially before you go to bed. Silence is peace.
8.) When you get that “gut feeling” (Daddy calls it a “check in his spirit”), don’t ignore it. It’s there for good reason so pay close attention.
9.) Hug people. Often. And let them know they’re really special.
10.) Whatever you do—as the saying goes— Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Tip: How to know if it’s small stuff: Ask—will it matter in eternity?
11.) Be good to yourself. Love you. You can’t expect anyone else to do this for you. It is your responsibility.
12.) Believe big. Never ever, never ever, no, never stop believing!!!
13.) Breathe consciously. As much as you can throughout your day, be aware of your breath. It’s healing on so many levels.
14.) Exercise the gifts you’ve been given—and we are ALL gifted.
Tip #1. How to know what your gifts are: Get close to the One who gave them to you.
Tip #2: In case you’ve forgotten, one of your gifts is drawing/creativity. 😊
15.) Pursue peace. In all circumstances. With all people. Your heart—and health—will thank you for it!
16.) Trying to control everything only backfires on you. You become controlled by the efforts. It’s just not worth it. So release and relax. It feels great!
17.) Looking back keeps you there. If it’s not where you want to be, focus forward.
18.) Take the trash out. On a continual basis. Otherwise it will spoil and your “house“ will become odious.
Tip: Note the analogy—applies to body mind soul and spirit.
19.) Fix your foundation and watch your step. Most of our troubles can be solved by repairing the bottom layer. A crack in the concrete? You stumble. Solid ground? You are secure and stable.
Tip: How to identify cracks and repair foundations: Put the Cornerstone in His proper place.
20.) Don’t just look through the window. Open it! Amazing things are on the other side.
21.) Go ahead and cry when it hurts, Son. It’s okay, really. Just let it out.
Tip: The Bible says God collects our tears and puts them in a bottle; how comforting is that!
22.) Drink plenty of water. Both kinds. Your body and soul desperately need it.
23.) Think the best of others. It’s what we would want them to do for us. We are all in this together, and we all need grace.
24.) Do you want to be wise? Look no further than your tongue. Mastering it opens you up to receive a wealth of wisdom!
25.) If you stump your big toe, be glad you didn’t break your foot. Put another way—find something to be thankful for, no matter how bad things seem. 😊
And finally (the best for last):
26.) LOVE. Give it unconditionally. Accept it . Replace judgment with it. Embrace it above all of the things! As Jesus so perfectly stated in the greatest commandment ever given, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind. And love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
OK, so I’m going to add one more for the upcoming year. It’s actually a repeat of what I wrote before starting this long list…
#27.) Listen to your mama! 😁😁😁
I love you so much, Son. More than these birthday messages could ever express. And I’m sure glad to have you in my life, my
Middle of the Oreo. 😉