“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….