Waking up on Saturday morning after my birthday, I had my plan for the day all mapped out in my head. Go out to eat breakfast with the family, one quick errand and then back to the house. Once home we would put up the Christmas tree, make cookies with the kids, and then watch a movie cuddled on the couch with my hubby. I looked forward to this day of rest and family time all week. I was determined to enjoy Pressing Pause in the now.
After finishing our breakfast, my hubby started driving in the opposite direction of the errands we had discussed. The more he drove in the wrong direction, the more agitated I became. What was he doing? Where were we going? This was not the plan. Now it would have been nice if I kept these as thoughts in my head, but I didn’t. Looking over at him in the driver seat, I fired question after question trying to figure out why we were not going back home. Ugh!
When he does respond to my rapid questioning, he tells me we need to stop for gas as he pulls into the gas station. I sit there trying to replay our conversation the night before to see if I missed anything. Did we talk about going somewhere else and I was just too tired to remember?
Climbing into the vehicle, we drive into the parking lot next to the gas station and he parks the car. Now I am really getting frustrated. What is he doing?
Looking around, I catch a glimpse of a friend and I immediately look over at my grinning hubby. “C’mon,” he says while getting out the car. As soon as he opens the door to the pottery store, I hear a joyful “Surprise”. Standing in front of me were women who are my friends, my community, my family, my Sisterhood.
For a moment, I stood frozen. In awe that my hubby and these ladies had been planning for weeks to create a surprise birthday party for me. Tears flowed down my cheeks. Yes, I cried tears of joy for this beautiful moment with each of these ladies.
But it was more.
These tears held my praise for a faithful God who answered the quiet plea of a broken and lonely woman.
When I prayed for community years ago, I had no idea that it would manifest in this way. It is above what I ever thought I would get to experience in my lifetime. My heart was overflowing with gratitude.
But this moment did not just happen.
My prayers were the first step in continuing to cultivate my relationships and willingness to grow new ones. I also had to choose to participate in what God wanted to do in my life. Decisions had to be made if I was going to develop a healthy support system and be a better friend in the relationships already present in my life.
Instead of wearing the mask of perfection, I would be authentic.
Instead of pulling away, I would be present.
Instead of focusing on what I felt was missing, I would be thankful.
Instead of being consumed with the fear of rejection, I would take steps in faith.
Instead of waiting for things to happen, I would be intentional in creating space.
Instead of avoiding the messy parts, I would be willing to have the hard talks.
The journey to build healthy friendships has not always been easy; however, it has been worth every moment. Thank each of you for believing with me, for holding me when I was at my lowest, for being my friends. I would not trade one part of the journey. Thank you all for the love sent my way to celebrate my birthday. I am truly thankful!