33 Years Ago, On Easter Sunday

33 years ago, I was born on Easter Sunday. On Saturday, April 7th, I celebrate my 33rd birthday, and I have a few thoughts:

First, Jesus was very young when he died on the cross. He was only 33 and that’s incredibly young.

Second, my life at 33 is nothing at all like I imagined but way better than anything I could have planned.

When I turned 30, I mourned for about six months the loss of one of my dreams. I was unmarried and childless and I had to face the reality that this was one dream I had no control over. (I honestly don’t have much control over the other dreams. It just feels like I do). I was disappointed and saw that dream slowly dying. Not dying forever, just dying in the way I thought things might have been.

I moved from one city to another, each time dealing with the disappointment of leaving another city alone, of moving to another city alone, of having to make big life decisions on my own, and constantly living with disappointed hope—or no hope at all—things would be different.

As I drove across country from the East Coast to the West, I had long, painful conversations with God. “I’m done,” I told him. “I’m taking myself out of the game. If you want me married, you’ll have to do it yourself. I’m not helping you out anymore. You’re a big God, with lots of power. Do it, or I’m out.” Basically, I was totally pissed. It felt like God was messing with me every time I got my hopes up.

April 1st is also my sixth month anniversary of my move across the country. Six months ago, I wasn't entirely sure I was going to make it. If it had been up to me, I probably would not have. I'm here because of God's goodness to me and that is the true story. 

I’m where I am because I’m single, not in spite of being single. This isn’t the afterthought or the backup plan or the second string.

This was the plan all along. This was God working through yuck and pain to make something new—the plan that was the best plan all along.

And I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or more content.

I wrote those last words with trepidation. I know in a moment, I could be hit with a wave of loneliness. I know in a few days or a few weeks, I’ll grieve once more for delayed desires and disappointed hopes. But today I’m celebrating, and kicking off a year of joy and laughter and big ol’ parties thrown just for the good things in life.

Last year, the theme was hope. Last year was a year of hopes and dreams shattered one after the other and recognizing Christ’s goodness is the only secure hope.

This year is a year of celebrating even the smallest glimmer of light in dark places. This is the year of tasting and seeing that God is good.

I’m 33 on Saturday. This will be the best year of my life so far. I know this, because even though every year of my life has been full of soul-cleaving sorrows and days spent wondering if the pain will ever end, every year has been better than the last. Every year has been better because I see God better. He is more real, more beautiful, and so, so good.

And while I struggle to celebrate in the shadow of imminent future pain and suffering, this year, I determine to celebrate in the moment. There is no need to postpone the party because sorrow is just around the corner. God is good now, and he will be good when the next storm comes. 

Do you know what today is? It’s Easter Sunday. It’s the day Jesus rose from the dead and gave us new life. 

It’s also the day I, literally, received life. I was born on Easter Sunday. What a cool thing that is.

The party doesn’t end at midnight. It keeps going—every, single, day.