Attention All Celebrators:
Due to unfortunate events and unforeseen circumstances, Kandis’s birthday has been canceled.
I wish I could keep this announcement above my head all day. I wish I could send it to all my friends and family that will think of me. I wish I could post it as a status to keep away all the Facebook posts, phone calls, and text messages.
Yesterday I posted a reflection piece about a tragedy and today I’m supposed to write about the excitement of my birthday?
For the first time in my entire life celebrating my birthday feels wrong.
I am known to be a big celebrator. I love throwing parties and being around people is my favorite thing in life. But today, for the first time ever, having a birthday seems off.
I made it home around 12:30am last night. My heart was heavy. The birthday messages had already begun to pour in, but I felt sadness instead of the normal excitement.
How can I celebrate at a time like this?
I laid in bed and bawled my eyes out. I tried to cry myself to sleep but with every tear came a bit more anxiety. Fear gripped me in a way I haven’t felt since trying to drive up that dang Utah Mountain. Thoughts raced uncontrollably through my mind.
How can I calm myself down? I feel like I’m about to have a panic attack.
I called His name.
All other words seem futile.
I hope He was able to translate words from my cry because in the moment, I couldn’t figure out a better way to express the pain I was experiencing. I couldn’t articulate the weight by which I was being crushed.
“I can’t have a birthday like this.”
Cancel the Party
I can’t celebrate like this. We need to cancel the party and pray.
I hit up my friends who’ve been planning a weekend celebration for me and told them to cancel it because we need to pray.
I don’t know how many people will come to a party turned prayer night, but I can’t eat cake and laugh like nothing is going on in the world.
The extra long to-do list of responsibilities I have to get done while “on E” is weighing on me.
The death of Alton Sterling compounded with the death of 122 other black men killed by police this year alone is weighing on me.
The struggle of watching my unannounced boyfriend (Well, now you know. He is quite amazing by the way) fight through the toughest season of his life is weighing on me.
The less than ideal family dynamic I’ve lived in “public secret” with for the past few years is weighing on me.
“Public secret” – a term I just made up that means it’s obvious, people around you see things and probably have questions, but no one says anything to you because, well, it’s secret. Even though it’s secret, from a public perspective, things are quite perceptible.
I’m not bringing these things up to clean out a dirty closet. I’m also not sharing this to expose or hurt anyone, especially my family and boyfriend. They mean everything but Jesus to me and we’re all for each other, support each other, and are still active and present in each others lives.
I’m bringing these things up to share why celebrating and partying seems like the last thing I want to do right now.
The only thing that seems right to do is pray.
I want to cancel my weekend party to pray and I’m hoping my friends who were originally planning to party with me, would be game to change our plans, shift our focus and pray with me.
Not The End
Despite all of the unfortunate things I just shared, I am hopeful and hope-filled.
God has sustained me the past few years in ways I didn’t know possible.
I am seeing some of the things I’ve prayed and believed for in faith for years finally start to manifest. Let me tell you, when He promises something, He makes good on it every single time and I’m extremely thankful for that (2 Corinthians 1:20).
I am learning more than ever how to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
I am learning that He catches and keeps every tear of ours in a bottle (Psalm 58:6).
I am seeing how God perfects the things that concern us (Psalm 138:8).
And most of all I am confident that He is actively moving in my life, in the lives of the broken, in the lives of the hurting, in the lives of the oppressed, in the lives of the mistreated. He is present in the midst of this mess and I am SO SO SO confident that we are going to witness miracle after miracle as we humble ourselves and pray (2 Chronicles 7:14).
The weight I’m feeling today will be traded for overwhelming, great joy in no time. And I’m expecting to celebrate BIG here in this life and later forever in eternity.
So in the meantime, I will keep praying and continue to give thanks in every circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
I will speak the truth and life of God’s word over every injustice, every pain, and every weight (Proverbs 18:21).
I have a ton to be grateful for this 31st birthday and I won’t ignore that because that is the evident and unmissable goodness of God.
For my birthday, I’d like for us to pray together. Let’s not pray prayers full of panic, fear, and requests, but let’s pray prayers of thanksgiving. Let’s thank God for His active presence in our lives and in the lives of those we know need Him extra close right now.
I’ll kick us off and you guys continue this Prayer of Thanksgiving in the comments (I’ll count it as the best birthday gift possible!)
Father I am so grateful for your presence today. I’m thankful that we can come to you and know that You are here, close, and attentive; eager to sit with us, excited to hear, and faithful to respond. You know what me and so many others are carrying right now and I just want to say thank You. Thank You for always doing what You said You would do. Thank You for never leaving us alone. Thank You for coming through on time, every single time.
I’m thankful for my family, for how you have been faithful to sustain and keep us. I’m thankful for the amazing man you’ve given me who supports and encourages me like no other. I’m thankful for your Holy Spirit who will comfort those who are mourning. I’m thankful that you are already at work to set injustice and evil straight and that your plan is in motion to end all of this crap once and for all.
Most importantly, I’m thankful for the blood of your Son Jesus who makes a way for all of our requests to be known, heard, and answered. Thank You for another year of life. Thank You for every person reading this. Thank You for this day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
After you pray (hint, hint), feel free to check out my previous annual birthday posts: