Tomorrow I will turn 34. Birthdays have never bothered me as far as getting older; however, I've always struggled with the whole idea of making a big deal about myself. I've kind of carried a complex with me all of my life about being born to parents who were young, not married, and certainly not planning on a baby. In fact, I don't know my biological dad, other than his name. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that my Dad later adopted me and raised me. It's just something that's always bothered me...how the day of my birth changed lives forever, in a way they never wished for. In addition, it's also the day many years later that my brother died of his short, hard battle with cancer. It was the day I turned 30, but I was dreading it for reasons other than the obvious "big 3-0". I knew when we heard the phone ring around 4 am that it was over. I joke about it and say Mikey had to get the last word in and die on my birthday, because that's just how our relationship was. :)
So yeah, I struggle with this day. I've always had a hard time accepting compliments and have never been one to want to give anyone a reason to look at me - I'd rather just blend in. I have an amazing husband, a wonderful close circle of friends and a great family, but outside of them, I'm outside of my comfort zone. I've always been very self-conscious and struggled with my self-esteem. I spent part of my childhood worrying that I was a burden, that my Dad was stuck raising me when he and my Mom seperated and later divorced. I think that's partly why Andrew's illness has bothered me so much. First, with guilt because the mito came maternally. Not that I could help it, but still.... Second, because I know what it's like to feel like a burden, and I have to rely on the whole village to care for my child. I struggle because I don't want to bother people or ever have Andrew feel like a burden.
Saying all that, I can tell you that I was a born encourager. I truly love people and hate to see them hurting and heartbroken. For years, I've told people that "God doesn't make junk" when they're down on themselves, but I haven't accepted that in my own life. Recently I was reading a devotional that hit me square between the eyes. It was talking about pride, which is something I obviously don't have a problem with, right? WRONG! It spoke of the two forms of self-centered people: arrogant people and people with low self-esteem. It went on to say, "they are both opposite expressions of the same thing. It doeosn't matter if you think you are better than or worse than everyone else - it is still the same, it is self-centeredness!" OUCH!
Just like an onion, we all have layers that must be peeled away. Underneath the layers and the tears, there is something that can be used for God's glory. I love Jeremiah 1:5 "before I formed you in the womb I knew you." It shows God has a plan for all of us, even if we weren't planned by our earthly parents. I also take great comfort from another verse in Jeremiah, this time in 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Regardless of my circumstances, my hurts, or anything else, God has a plan for my life. He has a plan for all of us! And He created us...and we all know that God doesn't make junk! And He loves us! So, as my little buddy Zach says, "Thank you God for making me!"