Over the years, I have been reluctant to celebrate myself. Often, if received too much attention for doing something good or celebrated myself too much, people close to me would do the following:
I’m 40. Wow. I remember when my mom turned 40 and I thought it was old. I even threw her a party and looking back, considering things she's undergone since then, I'm glad I threw the party. In fact, one my dearest family member and best friends, my aunt died at 40. So, I'm just glad to have made it! And I'm going to celebrate!
In the Bible, 40 is a time of testing and trial. Certainly, I have come through many of those and I won't recount them. Yet, in spite of it all, God has given me everything I’ve wanted or went after in the midst of it. Particularly, I got my own family and a best friend in Francemise to redeem any of my dysfunctional family or bad relationship experiences.
I was telling a millennial once that I felt like I had lived about three lives reflecting on the time I've spent as a pastor, educator, and attorney. When people ask me why I am so educated, I tell them it's not because I necessarily wanted to get so many degrees. I had to get the degrees for the particular jobs I had and to take care of my family. (Except pastoring: I got that degree because I just wanted to know what I was talking about when I stood before God's people.)
The best part of this turning 40 thing is that “I don’t looks like what I’ve been through.” I actually have been told I look younger than 40, although in my twenties I was told that I looked old. It’s not a cliché or a catchy, emotion-grabbing song for me. I really don’t look like what I’ve been through and “I’ve been through too much not to worship Him!” God has kept me. I’ve had to be a lot and do a lot and be responsible for many so young; actually well before the time for certain things. However, it’s made me savvy, wise and experienced.
I’ve been excited about this birthday because in my pursuit of purpose and living out God-given purpose, I’ve endured process. I didn’t always endure it with the best attitude, but I endured it. And in the process, I didn’t mentally faint or give up on God. I haven’t always understood and I’ve had to readjust, but I went on anyway. Yet, one day, I realized that much of my purpose and God-given assignment I’ve been after has been fulfilled. I relocated to fulfill a purpose and to be a blessing to where I’m from and I’ve done it.
I'm so excited about turning 40 (as you can tell!) However, there is a part two to me. This next half or more holds so much more and in this part, I’m confident about being me and comfortable. My attitude, stances, impetuousness, boldness, loyalty, wit, things that I am, I will be more assertively. Over the years, I’ve had to fight for my person-hood in various other areas of my life. I now understand, appreciate, and have accepted certain things about myself and now it's time to fully release myself and offer a complete and uninhibited me to the world. I have learned that time is precious and life is to be lived fully with the time you have. Thus, I'm giving y'all everything this next half!
To celebrate me and this new phase of life, I had my first photo shoot. I am excited and pleased and highly recommend the photographer, Ken Bledsoe. So, here I am. Happy Birthday to Me! Everyone deserves a day and a season, so celebrate with me!