Birthdays, New Years, and Fresh Starts

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Articles | 2 comments

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 NKJV


Today’s my birthday.  It’s hard to describe the way I feel about my birthday.  I don’t hate it.  I don’t tell people to forget it, don’t mention it, leave it alone and pretend it doesn’t happen.  I don’t want it ignored.  I think it’s safe to say that if my husband didn’t wish me a “Happy birthday” with his bright smile, or if my mother didn’t call and sing “Happy Birthday to You” over the phone, or no birthday cards showed up in the mail box, my feelings would be seriously hurt.


No, I don’t hate my birthday.  I don’t, however, spring out of bed bright and early, smile joyously and wish myself the best of birthdays as I look at my early-morning face in the mirror (how terrifying would that be?!?).


I think I have a like/hate relationship with my birthday.  Part of the problem is where it falls.  My birthday gets caught up in the craziness of the busiest holidays of the year.  We plow through Thanksgiving, shop till the credit cards explode for my middle step-son’s birthday early in December, gifts for Christmas, and my husband’s and oldest step-son’s birthdays in early January.    Christmas Day is hectic with opening gifts and getting ready for family coming to dinner.  We get through Christmas and get hit with New Years.  There are parties and family gatherings.  The goofy Northern New York weather adds a bit of mystery to the travel.  (Sunny in Syracuse?  Guess what?  It’s a blizzard in Orwell!)  Friends drop in and neighbors come to call.  Our days tend to fly at mach2 from dawn to dusk and sometimes later.  We just get too busy.


The other problem is my frame of mind.  My birthday will usually find me staring in the mirror, pointing out each new gray hair and tracing the deeper lines on my face (Better wrinkle cream is definitely on my shopping list!).  I observe the pounds I’ve gained from the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasting.  I evaluate every choice I’ve made over the past year, scrutinize every step taken and take notes on the failures and faulty attempts.  I record the hours wasted, the pages unwritten, the dust particles unswept, the ungodly thoughts that crept into my mind.  When the day is over and I’ve beaten myself to a mental pulp over just about everything I haven’t done right over the previous year, I fall into bed and dread the next day – New Year’s Eve – when I get to do the same thing all over again.  Let’s just say that it’s a good thing I don’t suffer from depression!


I woke up this morning filled with the same mix of emotions.  I anticipated my husband’s birthday greeting, my mother’s singing, and the cards in the mailbox.  Simultaneously, I dreaded looking in the mirror, stepping onto the scales (this year it only groaned.  It didn’t scream out in pain like it has in years past!), and the mental torture that would soon commence.  I spent nearly half an hour under the covers after I awoke, fighting getting out of bed.  I listened to a blue jay screech outside the window.  The dog ran up and down the stairs at least a dozen times, stopping by the bed to say “good morning” during each trip.  Sunlight streamed through the blinds (a miracle for Northern New York this time of year).  Still, I had to throw myself out of bed and begin my birthday routine.


It followed its usual course.  I dragged around the house in my “I’ve-failed-miserably” frame of mind until late afternoon.  I fixed a cup of coffee, sat down to my computer to write this article.  I checked my emails.  A birthday message from one of my high school classmates (from a hundred or so years ago!) snapped me out of my funk.  The words in that message made me rethink the thoughts from the day.  They helped me to see what the Lord has done in my life over the past year.  She mentioned reading my articles and my book and shared what the words did for her.  Her kindness and her openness with me allowed me to see the Lord at work.  What God has done and what He has allowed me to do far outweigh the negative.


Yes, there are things that I didn’t accomplish that I wanted to.  Choices were made that weren’t the wisest.  There are things I need to change in my life.  But, God reminds me that through Him, if I will allow it, He will take the failures and turn them into successes.  He will do new things.  If I let Him have His way in my life, I won’t forget that birthdays and new years are really new beginning and fresh starts!


  1. You are so wise for your young age. Many women do not realize what you understand until they reach 50 years old. Everything in our life (the good and the bad) has a purpose to help us learn and grow to get to where God wants us and can use us for His glory. I have found that the bad experiences have been stepping stones to reach greener pastures if we keep our eyes on God in the process. You are such a blessing to me and like your high school classmate, I too have been blessed by reading your book. God will continue to use you to reach others and to make a difference in the world through your writing.

    • Thank you, Charlene. Your comment means a great deal to me. It blesses me deeply!

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