Havin’ a Private Party…..

“I’m havin’ a private party, learnin’ how to love me…celebrate the woman I’ve become.  Happy Birthday to me.  Happy Birthday….”  India Arie

 Today is my birthday and I am just so thrilled to be 38 years old.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some things about nearing the 40 mark that really stink.  My metabolism is not what it used to be.  I have to work out harder and eat cleaner just to maintain.  I told a friend recently that I “fell off the wagon” and ate 6 chocolate chip cookies in one sitting.  A couple of days later, I weighed 3 lbs more. 

“How does that even work?”  I asked her.  “How is it possible for 6 cookies to transform into 3 lbs?  They don’t weigh that much when you eat them.  It really isn’t fair….”

She stared at me for a moment and then shook her head and chuckled.  “That girl is just not right,” her expression seemed to say.

And then there is the whole list of things I did when I was younger that have caught me such as wrinkles (sunbathing in baby oil and iodine for hours on end as a teenager) and loss of hearing (too much loud rock music in the ’80’s) and…..degenerative arthritis in my neck (headbanging to the ’80’s rock).

Of course, the worst part of nearing 40 is…..GRAVITY.

Still, turning 38 is exciting because I have the wondrous experience of seeing the promises of scripture come to life in me. 

 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.   For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.   So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”      2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The outside of Sherri Gragg is fading but the inside is brighter, better, richer, deeper and more beautiful by the day.  The Great Artist is faithful to continue His work in me and because of that…I am filled with hope and hope gives birth to JOY.

Sometimes, it even shows up on the outside.  The wilderness of our two year adoption journey was horrific but God did not waste a moment of it.  He turned the very thing the Evil One meant for my destruction into the tools He used to bring deep freedom and abundant transcendence in my life.  Somewhere along the way, it showed up in my appearance as I began to feel completely at peace to simply be myself.  One change was that I cut my hair.  Before, my hair was shoulder length and unremarkable really.  Now it is short and spiky.  Women (and some guys, actually) regularly approach me and want to know where I get it cut.  Recently, I was sitting in my hairstylist’s chair and we were talking about it. 

“Well, it is good advertisement for you.” I told him.

He stopped cutting and said, “It all depends on how you look at it.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

Somewhat exasperated he said, “They come in here and they don’t just want a haircut.  They want me to turn them into you.  I want to tell them, ‘It’s a pair of scissors honey, not a magic wand!”

We had a good laugh and then I said, “You know what I think they want, Mark?  I think they want to be free.”

Yes.  I am free, blessed and loved by the God of the Universe.  38 is looking pretty good.

Excuse me now, it is time for to have my private party and celebrate the woman I’ve become.  Happy birthday to me….

10 Replies to “Havin’ a Private Party…..”

  1. Happy Birthday to you, beautiful friend! My 38 will be coming up in September. Maybe I’ll get a spiky haircut! 😉

    BTW–I have been reading your series on the lost boys and Sudan and haven’t been commenting, because, well…I don’t even know what to say. There are no words. Just prayers. Thanks for the work you and others are doing.

  2. You go girl! Cut that hair! If you don’t like it, it grows back.

    Thanks for the encouragement and birthday wishes. I am having a fabulous day.


  3. Have a blessed birthday, my dear friend! I pray that the next 38 years will be even more blessed! Here’s a poem for you by Henry Van Dyke:

    A Prayer for a Mother’s Birthday

    Lord Jesus, Thou hast known
    A mother’s love and tender care:
    And Thou wilt hear, while for my own
    Mother most dear I make this birthday prayer.

    Protect her life, I pray,
    Who gave the gift of life to me;
    And may she know, from day to day,
    The deepening glow of Life that comes from Thee.

    As once upon her breast
    Fearless and well content I lay,
    So let her heart, on Thee at rest,
    Feel fears depart and troubles fade away.

    Her every wish fulfill;
    And even if Thou must refuse
    In anything, let Thy wise will
    A comfort bring such as kind mothers use.

    Ah, hold her by the hand,
    As once her hand held mine;
    And though she may not understand
    Life’s winding way, lead her in peace divine.

    I cannot pay my debt
    For all the love that she has given;
    But Thou, love’s Lord, wilt not forget
    Her due reward, – bless her in earth and heaven.

    Henry Van Dyke

  4. Happy Birthday Sherri!!
    ( you share this day with my brother 🙂 )

    …i planned to cut my hair when i turned 40, but end up doing for my 30th, so now i am growing it for my 40th… 😉

    Have a fab day!!!!!

  5. I’m with you, Sherri. I hacked off a good 12 inches in March, and I refuse to wrestle with flatirons and curling irons anymore. It is remarkably liberating. Happy birthday to you, along with blessings and best wishes for all.


    I just have to share…when I was 38, I thought I would dread turning 40, but guess what, it’s the best!!!!!!!!! I love it!!!!! I have a new-founded freedom!!
    Best Wishes to you!!!!!!

  7. Happy Birthday indeed!

    I’m only 4 years behind you, sister… I want to be this accepting of my age right now!

    I am feeling that way about my hair too… I got it cut. I always had it long because my mom liked it short. Now it’s short and I could let it grow or get it all spiky or whatever and I find myself really wanting to do something fantastic instead of being blahhhhhhh some more.

    Take care and have a wonderful week!


  8. De-light-ful. Whats this? No black arm bands? No tombstone birthday cakes?

    I have to say I like the 2000’s much better than the 1980’s–which looks pretty bad when I write it.

    Here’s to being another year closer to heaven…

    “…the word of God is not bound.”
    –2 Timothy 2:9

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