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My Birthday Words



Birthdays are not my favorite. It’s not about getting old, I like getting old. it’s not even that they’re bad at all. They’ve just never really been my thing.



This birthday, however, this year that hangs in the balance between two decades of my life, feels significant. it has a gravitational pull that sometimes feels weighty and secure, but usually feels more scary than anything else. I’m not afraid of aging, but I’m afraid of some of the question marks lurking there in the hallways of 49.



For as long as I can remember, when I’ve needed a sense of certainty about anything, I attach words to it. Words are like anchors, connecting lofty and ethereal thoughts, dreams, fears and grocery lists to the solid ground of real life. I pull these nameless, faceless feelings out of the air around my head and paint colors onto them with words so that I can know what I’m really dealing with and at least a little more about who I really am.



I did that this morning with year 49. I pegged two words to the coming year and I’m telling you right now, they don’t make sense.  In fact, they are so incongruent with my life circumstances that I kept sending them back to the pile and fishing for new ones. But these two words – these strong, scrappy words keep popping their heads up out of the fray and demanding to be seen, noticed…and attached to the days and weeks and wonder that lies ahead.



There’s a little terror in my fingers typing them out, but they are: exuberant expectation.



Though life feels soaked in sorrow right now and my heart and hands are trembling from the weight of it all, I am daring to believe that these are my words.



Exuberant expectation for:

  • a life lived honestly
  • greater intimacy with the God and people dearest to me, birthed out of necessity and fueled by grace
  • new ideas and dreams and crazy schemes
  • the legacy being lived out by my children
  • and even…exuberant expectation for Steve and wherever the road ahead leads him – healing or heaven – I am determined that I will live with hope and expectation for the future God has planned for that wonderful man.



Tomorrow is my birthday. Those are my words.



Bring it, 49. I’m ready for you.



September 18, 2014 - 2:46 pm

Teresa B. - Happy birthday dear Bo! I do hope and pray that our Lord brings you exactly what you want: Exuberant Expectation 🙂

September 18, 2014 - 3:41 pm

Cathy Wood - Bo I know I’ve only known you for a few moments in person but you are so dear to my heart. You have touched my children’s lives. And there have been so many of your blogs and teachings that have touched my husband’s and my hearts. So with true love in my heart I say Amen and will be agreeing with God with exuberant expectation (love those words)!!! Believing for the best things straight from God’s heart for you and Steve and family! With love, Cathy Wood

September 20, 2014 - 8:28 am

Jody Lee Collins - Bo, your perspective is perfect…and makes me think ‘wow, God.’
And your words about writing well, I just might steal them.

50 looks beautiful on you.

Jody (friend of Gwen’s) Collins

September 22, 2014 - 10:17 am

Jenny - I love your two words so much. They don’t make sense and that’s what makes them awesome and from God. I hope you had a memorable birthday Bo Stern! Much love and prayers to you daily!