Today I turn 32.
Some dread birthdays; others embrace them with open arms. For me, it always seems to turn me introspective, thinking about the year gone by and looking ahead to what the next trip around the sun will hold.
If the first part of my 32nd year were fairly status quo, the last has been anything but. You might or might not know that behind the scenes here for the last few months have been a whirlwind of challenges and changes. We received news in May that our family would be relocating to Texas, and within a month, our crew of six (and a beagle!) had moved from Nashville into a tiny 2-bedroom apartment in Austin, excited and anxious to begin this new phase of our lives. The search commenced for a new home, a new school, a new church. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to live closer to family, something we have prayed for for many years!
And then, in the midst of our cross-country move, a phone call of the type that makes the world stop spinning on its axis.
My Dad: “Amy, I have cancer.”
If you have ever experienced that type of call, you know what it means. That one 6-letter word changes your entire perspective; the moment it comes into play, the rule book is erased, and a new chapter begins.
For the last weeks, the challenges of establishing a new life in a new city have been compounded with the stress and fear of potentially losing someone I love to an insidious, ruthless disease. As my husband and I have searched for a new home here in Texas, walking through houses and poring over their rooms and features to determine if that will be the place we choose to settle down and raise our not-so-little family, I have been agonizing over not being able to simultaneously be with Dad and Mom as they have endured countless tests, innumerable sleepless nights, and the surgery and radiation therapy that we pray will save my father’s life.
I have always heard the saying that God never gives us more than we can handle. One thing I have learned quickly over the course of the last months, though, is that saying couldn’t possibly be further from the truth.
Friends, it isn’t about what we can handle ourselves, but what God can handle for us.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
As I blow out my candles tonight, my wishes will be quite different from years past.
I will wish for my dad to be completely healed. For my mom’s continued strength. For my family to settle into a new home we will love even more than the one we’ve left behind.
But, more than anything, I will wish for the peace that comes in knowing that those wishes, those prayers, are already in the loving hands of the One who has already overcome the problems of the world for all of us.
Happy birthday, indeed!