thoughts on my birthday

Today was my last birthday in the States for a while. I’m not going to lie…it’s been a hard one. No huge epiphanies to report, but a few thoughts I’ve had today that I wanted to process through and decided to share:

1.My friends and family are incredible gifts. They will put up Christmas trees in the middle of September, write notes reminding me about significant moments in friendship, drive for hours to come to a birthday dinner, grant me inhuman amounts of patience and point me back to the Lord over and over again when I am so tempted to fear what is coming in this next season. It is a tall order to find ways to love them as well as they love me.

2. Long goodbyes are hard. By the time I get on the plane to Kenya, I will have been heading that way for a year-and-a-half. For a sentimental person (me), this can be a tricky area. I feel so much pressure to make every second count that sometimes I struggle to enjoy what I am actually doing. This is nothing new, but feels heightened in the face of this transition. I am praying for the grace to trust that God, not me, guides my days and gives them significance.

3. Jesus is better and totally worth it. This season will be hard and it will be good. Those go together. I’m learning this. Slowly. But above all of it, I know that Jesus is better than the good things He has given me and worth the hard process of saying goodbye to my good life here to pursue a good life He has prepared for me in Kenya. My life is good in either place, not because of the people He puts around me (though those are certainly His good gifts to me), but because I have Him. If I am at home, He is with me. When I move 8,000 miles away, He will be with me there.  When I was wondering a year ago where my life was headed, He was there. Now, as I have some ideas of where that is, but sometimes I am scared of all that could mean, He is here. His promise is that I will be conformed into the image of His Son and Jesus knows and trusts His Father perfectly. Because I belong to Him, I am headed toward that as well. That’s  good news. Everything else is only worthy to be laid at His feet to see how He might use it to increase my joy for His glory.

Today in Kids’ Village I taught a group of 1st graders that my Father is generous – He gives what is best for His children. As I celebrate my birthday in Kenya next year, I pray that my testimony for my 31st year will be that I have known my Father’s generosity in greater measure and that I trust Him more then than I do today.

2 thoughts on “thoughts on my birthday

  1. Hi Stephanie and Happy Birthday! As I read your post today I was reminded of all the wonderful friends and experiences that God has afforded me and my husband in many African countries including Kenya. You have such a great God adventure ahead of you! You mentioned fear and fear I know can be crippling. I encourage you to remember that when we allow fear to grip us we are expressing faith in the enemy. So the antidote is to choose faith in God over fear. Many times when fear would raise it’s ugly head I would read Psalm 139 and God’s light would always shine through my darkness. I am praying Psalm 139 for you today and asking God to continue His good work in your life and to use you to bring healing and hope to the people of Kenya and glory to Himself.

    MaryDean Phillips

  2. Love, love, love you and am so thankful for you heart and our faithfulness. And selfishly, I’m kind of thankful for the long goodbye!

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