Happy Birthday to Me, Indeed!!
Before I even begin, I want to thank you for the sweet birthday wishes all week, I truly appreciated your comments and emails. Just so you know, I had a Fantastic birthday yesterday!! I wanted to post last night about it, but I was just too tired when I got home, so I opted for sleep instead. However, it took me forever to get to sleep, because my birthday was so fun and full of great surprises! 28 was not a milestone I've been thrilled about, but I'm starting to think if my birthday is any indication of how this year is going to go, maybe 28 is going to be my year!?!
Although my day began yesterday with dreary skies and rain that wouldn't quit, all day long my heart was warmed with sweet people and phone calls and emails. I hardly noticed the weather.
When I got to work yesterday, my precious little guys sang "Happy Birthday" to me with their mom, and we ate the cupcakes they made for me. If I was thinking, I would have taken a photo, but I forgot to bring my camera. After a fun day with them, I went to Starbucks for an hour by myself. I ordered their new brew, Pike's Place, (which is fantastic) and I spent some time reading and writing and just reflecting on these 28 years God has blessed me with. It was a good "perspective" moment.
Just nine months ago, I imagined this birthday much differently. When I found out I was pregnant in Septemeber, my doctor gave me a due date of May 6th. I immediately fast forwarded to the Spring and thought about all the things that would be different, with a baby on the way. Of course my birthday was one of them. I wondered if maybe I'd even deliver early and get a baby for a present? It was certainly possible, but regardless, I knew this birthday was going to be unlike any other.
When I woke up yesterday, I thought about that dream and the way it had been shattered. The rain I heard outside was reflective of the way my heart felt. Dripping a in few tears while I showered, I asked to Lord to fill that hole and help me be thankful for this day and all the blessings that have come along with it. I'm happy to say, I was able to leave those tears in the shower and move on in His abundant grace through my day. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I knew I was going to trust Him and not dwell on what I could not have. His grace was very sufficient.
After I left Starbucks, I met Travis at one of our favorite restaurants, Maggiano's. We fell in love with Maggiano's back in our seminary days,when we used to go with Buddy and Meredith and Mike and Holly. When we moved here, we were THRILLED to discover a Maggiao's in Edina and it's become a place we go when we have something to celebrate.
My sweet husband met me with roses in hand and a big smile on his face. I had that feeling in my heart when I saw him of overwhelming gratitude. Sitting there alone, waiting for my "date", I was casually people-watching, and thinking about those years of being single and how I wondered what my future-spouse would be like. Then he arrived and I felt my heart race a little, like it always does when I see him. I know this is sappy, but I don't care. I LOVE Travis and I am incredibly blessed with a great husband. He is a living, breathing, reminder of God's faithfulness and goodness to me. The wait for him was worth it and given the opportunity to do it all over again, I would wait 10 years if I knew he was the one I was waiting for.
When we sat down, I knew something was up. He couldn't wait for me to get my coat off and to even get our drinks ordered. He was dying with a surprise! From the moment I met him, I've realized he cannot keep a secret!! I believe he had my engagement ring in his hand for about 40 minutes when he proposed to me. He is not one of those guys who held onto it for months, waiting for the right time. He got that ring and headed straight for me! I know he didn't even have it for an hour before he put it on my finger!! I love that about him. I've learned to never hint at a gift I may have bought him. It's absolute torture for Travis. He loves surprises but he is no good at waiting for them. Last night was no different.
Our poor waitress barely got our drink orders in when he flat out turned his back on her and turned to look me in the eye. "I am so excited about your gift, I cannot stand it. I want you to open it right now," he said. "Ok," I replied, "where is it?" Like a little kid brimming with excitement, he pulled out a litte bag and put it in my hands. I reached in and had no idea what I was pulling out when he blurted, "It's a new i-pod!" I was totally shocked and thrilled. I loved it! It was exactly what I wanted and he picked it out, and totally surprised me. He also bought me 4 i-tunes cards, with lots of money for new songs. "How comepletely sweet," I thought. He read my blog and actually took one of my wishes and made it come true, and he's genuinely excited for me.
And then he hit me with more. "Steph, I'm so excited for you because not only are you getting this new i-pod, but you are going to be able to use it with your new MacBook-Pro, which is in the mail and will be here in a few days."
I think my jaw may have hit the table. I couldn't even put a sentence together! "What??? Are you serious?", I replied. Then he explained the best part. He got a call Wednesday night, from a friend of ours who we got to know at Church before they moved to Atlanta in the fall. Jill had read my blog and called Travis to say that they could, and would like to, help out with one of my wishes on my list. Travis must have died when they said it was the thing I've wanted most, a new computer. Long story short, Jill and Brent graciously blessed us with something we've been talking about for a long time. They had exactly what I was hoping for, and what we were hoping to be able to buy in the coming months, and they thought of me and generously called to offer it. Isn't that they sweetest thing? I cannot even describe how touching that was/is to me. I totally felt my eyes filling with tears and my heart brimming with gratitude once again. I just remember the thought running through my mind, "Lord, you are so amazing...you know every detail of my life and you do not withhold any good thing from your children." In the sweetest of ways, Jill and Brent provided the "icing on my cake yesterday." They blessed me by giving me something I longed for and they blessed Travis by relieving a burden and allowing him to surprise me with something he also longed to give me.
I just love it. I cannot get over the blessings of the Lord. The ways He prompts us to love one another and the ways He prompts us to give for his glory. He knew our need, He knew the blessing our friends would receive, and He knew the great story we'd be able to tell. All for His glory, all for His fame. True kindness, genuine love, and over-the-top blessing. What a birthday!
After my sweet husband got all those surprises out, he left to go to the restroom and I found myself sitting there, dumbfounded. I pulled out the card he wrote me, that I hadn't read yet, and I cried. Cards, written words, thoughts expressed are my love language. I know, given the length of every post I write, that is not shocking! But it was not something that came easily to Travis when we first met and yet, as he realized how important it was to me, he's consistantly written some very sweet cards to me and yesterday was the best one yet.
Our waitress came back, probably thinking we were rude and/or odd at this point because we were so wrapped up in our own little world, and she asked me, "What's the occasion?" She saw the roses, the present, and the card I was holding, and with tears I answered her, "It's my birthday." "Oh," she said, "and what did you get?" I told her honestly, "I got the best husband in the world, a total answer to all my prayers." She looked at me, holding an i-pod, and said, "That's sweet and did you also get an i-pod?" "Yes," I laughed, "and a Mac Book too", as if that was just an additional bonus. What I wish I would have added, was that the Lord was the best gift I've ever received and He is truly the only gift that is worth getting. He is the author of eternal life, the provider of salvation, the prince of peace, and the giver of all good gifts. All else pales in comparison and is just icing on the cake. I should have added that, but I was too overwhelemed to think of it. I hope she left with a picture of a husband and a wife who are truly more in love today than the day we met. I hope she caught that. Regardless, I know it's true.
My birthday was nothing like I thought it would be nine months ago. The gifts were different, the circumstances different, and the outcome different. But you know what, different is good. God is not limited in what He can do and He is not bound by expectations and plans. His ways are higher than our ways and His ways are always for our good.
Thank you for caring about me yesterday. It was a good day...a mighty, fine day as matter of fact and it won't be long until I'm blogging on my new computer, with my new i-pod playing in my ear! Birthdays aren't about what you get, but isn't it fun to make a wish and find it coming true?