I had a birthday on Sunday. It was met with a great morning at church, a beautiful dinner prepared by my family, an iTunes gift card, hand-crafted cards by the kids and a trip to the movie theater for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Joy, laughter, family time, secret plans and birthday candles all make birthdays fun and memorable. This birthday has also brought about a lot of reflection over this past year. Honestly, I don't know that I am where I thought I would be. Will you take a little stroll back in time to September 29, 2012?
On my 40th birthday I was enjoying the warm breezes, sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets of Maui, Hawaii. Joe and I had spent 4 days visiting a ministry we were considering being a part of on the island Molokai. 2500 miles in the opposite direction of our home in Salem, Oregon was another ministry opportunity at Lake Ann Camp where we were set to interview just one week later. Another event pending on the horizon was my kidney donation surgery set for October 23.
So many unknowns. So many questions. So many what-ifs.
In spite of these looming unknowns, my hopes and dreams for my 40th year of life included getting in the best physical and financial shape of my life. I wanted it (I still want, and am working for it), and I thought that on my 41st birthday I would have it.
The physical, mental and emotional toll of moving our family across the country, starting a brand new ministry, entering a new market (for my business), living in a new culture, recovering from kidney donation surgery, recovering from hernia surgery 9 months later was far greater than I could ever have anticipated. It's the funny thing about the extraordinary life: Saying yes to it is easy, but actually walking the path is a great challenge.
Would I trade it? No way! The rewards of the challenging path are far too great. I don't always see that in the circumstances around me, but I know its truth, because I've come through other valleys of this extraordinary journey called life.
Will you still choose extraordinary even when a detour comes your way? Will you persevere and persist in making it to the other side? I hope so because it's only from the other side that we are able to have perspective and see how extraordinary the journey actually was.
I don't know what my 41st year will hold, but I do know this...the journey will be worth it.