Birthdays are such wonderful days. I sit here this morning reading all of the wonderful words of love so many of you shared with me as I celebrated my 53rd birthday yesterday.

Early yesterday morning as I was talking to the Lord, I thought about what was it like for Him 53 years ago when He gave me breath. What was it like for my aging parents to hold their newborn baby, or my grown brothers and sisters to hold a new little sister. Without a doubt, I am who I am because of the love I was given from the moment I was created. I never remember a single moment in my life when I thought no one loved me. The Lord has showered me with an indescribable depth of His love, my parents and siblings loved me unconditionally from the moment I was born.

Yesterday I spent the day being the Momma and Mommaw of the family the Lord has given me. I realized that although my parents went home to heaven when I was younger and even some of my siblings have now joined them, I continue to be surrounded with family who love me deeper than any human love I’ve ever known. Days like yesterday that I am blessed to spend an entire day surrounded with my children and their families is by far my favorite days. Of course this year is very special since I’ve been away from them most of this year. What a joy to be home!

Some say they don’t count birthdays anymore, of course they say it in humor as our birthdays come around each year whether we count them or not..but for many it is a struggle! Yet, I just don’t feel that way. I love being older, embracing who the Lord created me to be. Some years ago He helped me to understand that to not be happy with the aging process of this body He gave breath to, was to not be happy with Him.

It amazes me that often times I can’t distinguish between Mothers and daughters today. I’m concerned that my generation is so consumed with looking and acting younger that we’ve not given to our children and grandchildren a realistic or healthy image of life in later years. If we continue to act and look like the younger generation, who are our children and grandchildren going to look to for wisdom and maturity? If we live our daily lives in a constant battle to overcome the aging process what are we saying to the generation coming behind us? If we are not careful we will create a lifetime of struggles for them.

My most vivid memory of those I first came to respect for their wisdom and maturity was the adults I went to church with. I can close my eyes, scan inside the church building and see them, see where they sat, how they stood, hear their voices as they sang those great old hymns and most of all hear them pray. They looked different, they acted different, .they were different. They had walked through a lot of life, good, bad, sad and joyful times.

As another year has come and gone for me, I give praise and glory to the Lord for giving me the opportunity to be a year older…and what a year it has been! Today I sit here praying for what God would have me do for Him should He give me life here on earth until my 54th birthday, how can I be a more mature and wise Momma, Mommaw and servant of God. Without a doubt my hearts desire is for this wisdom and maturity to come from a deeper walk with the Lord as I continue to immerse myself in His Word and grow to know Him more in my daily communication with Him through prayer as I surrender daily to His perfect will for my life.

For those of you reading this that are part of my family, thank you for loving me so deeply and unconditionally. For those of you reading this that are part of my childhood memories, thank you for being wonderful wise and mature grownups. For those of you who have come into my life along the way over the past 53 years, thank you for loving and caring about me. I am most blessed to have all of you in my life.

Love to all.

Joy Breedlove

Missionary-East Africa