gifts at 37.






I celebrated my 37th birthday this week. I don’t feel that old. I still feel an awful lot clueless about most things. This year has been full of hard fought surrender and beautiful communion. So many things are still the same. And so many things are so very different. Sometimes I wish God would change the things I want Him to change and leave the rest alone but His heart is best and what He has wrought over the last year in me is sweet and humbling. There have been little bits of gifts along the way.


There’s the man who walks his two adorable beagle dogs every morning right about the time we’re leaving for morning drop off. I’ve watched him walk his dogs almost every school day for the past four years. This year? There is a woman with him and she has her own dog. I don’t know all of the particulars but I smile when I see them. It’s just good to have company on a cold morning when you’re hunched over in the face of the wind. He is very businessy but she looks like she got up just in time to go with him, her hair in a top knot and her pants spilling over the top of her boots.


The leaves on my two favorite trees are a canopy of yellow right now. What I thought were red oaks are actually black maples, I think. Either way, I can’t help but stop under them every single time I walk by. I try to cement in my brain how everything glows right there underneath ochre leaves tinged red at the tips. I watch how the branches run like charcoal veins, cutting through layers of golden light. I like to think that God was giddy over knowing how He made Fall a painting that would dazzle us.


My girl’s brain is on fire. We started slow but she is taking off in every direction, always questioning all the things. It can be tiresome and I get a little ruffled when she assumes I don’t know my 3rd grade English but I’m just trying to do what a wise woman encouraged in me this week: I’m going to love her little self exactly where she is right now.


I picked up a well-loved coffee table from a sweet friend and we have felt so fancy with that thing nestled in our den. It is becoming a place to gather around–this room–and I love it. Our books are stacked and I have fresh flowers from a sweet friend. This is the room where my morning prayers are uttered and these two books are changing me: Gospel Identity (Do this one in a group with hearts that are for love and community.) and A Million Little Ways. Along the way, I got into the habit of trying to patch up the seams of my paper heart with a do more and not enough mentality. I see failure. I receive condemnation. I am beginning to understand that working harder and viewing myself more unkindly is not the way to freedom. Instead, the Lord wants me to see as He sees, especially myself and others. Adoration begets adoration and I am praying that the more I look on Him the more I will understand how He loves us so.


This week we got to eat a Thanksgiving feast with each of our short people. On the first day I turned toward the cafeteria and I felt that teenage panic wash over me. Many seats were taken and I don’t understand how a 37 year old woman can feel 16 and seatless in a skinny minute. We ended up sitting with two young fellows who didn’t have family there. One of them we’ve known since my oldest was in kindergarten. I wish I could take you to that moment because it is what I want most of all to be lifted up in my life. My husband knows how to love on a child who is in need of a little extra or has walls up or is just an easy laugh. I don’t know but it is Jesus to me to watch him use his gift. And I wish that every time you came here you saw THAT, how he bulldozes walls with laughter and love. We’re both human and you know the whole drill but I am so humbled by the importance and everyday of the way he has been made. We’ve done this every year and somehow I forgot in that second. I’m so thankful God saved a seat at that table for us.


For every gift-giving holiday I always ask for an American flag. We live in a parsonage and sometimes I feel a little insecure about our patchy grass and our wimpy landscaping and our overgrown bushes. Somehow I’ve felt that an American flag would stamp HOME all over this house. Every year I don’t get one. And this year I had already received a few things I needed. I’d forgotten to even ask. But my girl wouldn’t let the day pass without a little something and Tom remembered. I got my American flag, the sewn and fancy kind. We all hung it together in our bare feet on the cold front steps. It made my cry how he remembered.

I’ve written more than I ever like to write here. But these are my gifts. I’d love it if you shared yours.

5 thoughts on “gifts at 37.

  1. That American flag gift story is just wonderful. I love that the time you forgot to ask was the time you got it. Him knowing your heart just reminds me so much of Jesus knowing ours and giving good gifts in His time.

    I had a similar feeling when Alan hung the porch swing he gave me for Mother’s Day. I have dreamed since I was little and swinging on my Grandma’s porch of having my own. Good gifts.

  2. Happy birthday! I forgot how close our birthdays are. Loved seeing your pretty, smiling face on the blog when I visited today! :)

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