Around 3:30 am this morning, my husband jumped out of bed. I was in such a deep sleep, after just going to bed at 12:30 I didn’t even hear his phone go off. I rolled over and asked what he was doing. He said, ” I have to go-fire.” I whispered back, “but it’s my birthday,” although I don’t think he even heard me. Instead when he kissed me goodbye I only said, “be safe,” just like I always do.

It’s currently 4:30 am and of course  I’ve been up since 3:30 am-scanner on-and all I want for my birthday is for my husband to return home safe. That wasn’t even a thought on my mind when we went to bed last night. or when I decided what cake I wanted, or when we made our plans for the day. Plans are a funny thing and as I turn 38 today and am learning ever so slowly to be flexible-and failing at it on most days-I am reminded that life doesn’t stop for our plans.

So for the past hour I have laid here willing my brain to shut up so I could go back to sleep, but it won’t. I’ve prayed for my husband, for the other fire fighters, for the families displaced by this fire. I’ve tossed and turned. My mind has wondered every which way. And I started thinking of my mom. This is my 10th birthday without her, her 10th birthday gone from this earth. She would have been 73 today-in my mind she will always be 63 with her flaming red hair, her gawdy jewelry, and her NY accent singing me happy birthday. As I said goodnight to Logan last night, Frankie Vallie played on the radio and I thought, perfection-on the eve of our shared birthday-oh how she loved Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons, and I sang, “Oh what a night, late December back in ’63…”

But life doesn’t stop for our plans- it goes on and it’s a hard thing to reconcile with. I’m a thinker, ok I’m an over thinker, and as I’ve tried to make sense of life and death over the years-I can’t. At times it has frustrated me. It has brought me to tears and most importantly it has brought me to my knees. Today at 38 years old/young(cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full) I don’t want to overthink. I want to trust God. I don’t have control over this life(though often I try). I don’t know what today will bring(besides a whole lot of tired), but I do know that God has a plan in all of it. I do know that I am a sinner in need of a savior. I know life changes in a moment, and what’s “normal” right now can change in a heartbeat. I know that I can’t control any of it. I know I can’t understand why certain things happen-my overthinking brain doesn’t like it-but I know I am not supposed to. Things happen; fires, accidents, illness, divorce, death… That’s life happening and as I get older-I see that life is hard. There are so many hard, heart breaking things. But life…There are so many beautiful things-love, friendships, children, family, fresh air, sunshine, freedom… You can’t have one without the other. Some are hard and some are beautiful and I think if we let ourselves, we appreciate the beautiful, simple things more after we go through the hard things. I don’t know how I could ever reconcile any of the hard things without God. I hear house fire at 3:30am-I pray. I hear cancer diagnosis-I pray. I hear sickness-I pray. I hear heartache, grief, loss, pain, anxiety, fear, depression, anything-I pray. I’m not saying this because I think I’m perfect. I’m not perfect-far from it-and I never will be. I struggle every day. I struggle with anger, impatience, fear, anxiety, idolatry, selfishness, envy, laziness… So I pray. I’m human. I’m just now learning that these things I struggle with don’t define me. They can get overwhelming and overtake me sometimes-cause I’m a thinker-but God is bigger than all of my struggles and He has blessed me immensely in my 38 years. Even though I haven’t known Him my whole life-He has always known me. He formed me in my mother’s womb, He knows the number of hairs on my head. He loves me and He loves you. I don’t know what my birthday will bring today. I don’t know what 38 will bring-but God does and I trust Him and His plan for my 38th year.

And that’s why we just celebrated Christmas-because God saw our need for Him. He saw that we are sinners in need of a savior. He saw that life is too much to bear without God. So in His great love for us-He sent His son Jesus to be born on Christmas-to live in human form, to walk this earth as a man, to eventually die on a cross and rise from the grave all because God loves us. Not to give us a perfect life-there is no such thing-but to give us hope-to give us eternal life-to remind us that we are not alone in this life-though at times we may feel it. We are not here to live this life for ourselves but to love and serve others. And at 3:30am that’s what my fireman did-he jumped out of bed to love and serve others.