Good morning, Blogging Family! Thank you so much for all the kind birthday messages I received over the past weekend. It’s a privilege to walk alongside you all, whether virtually or in-person. I look forward to that day in Heaven when we will all come together and worship Jesus face-to-face!
The last birthday I wrote about on the blog was my 24th birthday, in 2017. Like this past weekend’s, March 12th , 2017, also fell on Daylight Savings Time. But the reason I highlighted that day was not because it represented a time to wake up early (ugh) or celebrate myself (double ugh). That birthday was important because I lived to see it. Just three months earlier, on December 3rd, 2016, I wasn’t supposed to live to see December 4th.
March 12th, 2017, was also significant because it followed the week I began transitioning from wheelchair to walker. If you’ve been with blog from the beginning, you might remember that figuring out when I could learn to walk again was a big question during my acute recovery. That walker was a fantastic birthday present!
If you know me even moderately well, you know that I spent the 364 days between the March 12th ’s of 2022-23 trying my best not to turn thirty. Alas, I’ve still gone and done it. While I concede 30 is usually a milestone, I’m not writing about it for further congratulations, but to praise God for what He’s done in my life thus far.
First off, I’m extremely grateful that God placed me in a Christian home. That didn’t mean our lives were perfect or circumstances were easy. My Dad worked at all hours to provide for us while he was a fulltime seminary, since he and my mom agreed she would homeschool me and my sister. As we grew older, our family faced the usual strains of full-time ministry. But I cannot overstate how I grateful I am that I heard the gospel frequently as I grew up, and that church literally was our schedule for the week, rather than being a half-empty building we visited some Sundays.
I’m also grateful that my parents supported my musical education, since it came at a high cost. Although we were low-income, they found ways to pay for lessons, buy sheet music, and somehow find me a good instrument before I started high school. I say “my parents” because they were the human agents, but all of us knew it was God intervening on my/our behalf at just the right moment. Whether it was receiving a scholarship at the last minute, or buying a repaired instrument (sounds just as good, worth a fraction the original value), God was constantly teaching us to trust his provision.
I still include my parents in my thanks, however, because they were willing to let God provide. Many parents would have looked at the unfavorable odds (too many “gifted” children, too few openings with elite music teachers, too high of a price for everything from sheet music to violin strings) and told their children “no.” Classical music is too expensive for people like us. Instead, my parents taught me that if studying music was God’s will, he would provide what we needed. They never hid how expensive or unlikely something was from me, but they were never ashamed of it either. If God wanted me to play violin, then God would provide.
As I look back over the past decade, there’s not much you don’t already know! In March 2013, I had just moved back to California after my time studying violin in Rochester, NY. Ivan and I knew of each other, but not enough to be friends. Most of you’ve probably read how this changed rapidly in the ensuing months; Ivan and I were married in December 2015. We created this blog in January 2017 after I was hit by a car as a pedestrian in December 2016. The blog’s purpose is to post medical updates, keep in touch with our prayer warriors, and share what the Lord is teaching us through our blessings as well as our trials. I couldn’t summarize six years of blog posts if even I tried, and I certainly wouldn’t do justice to how closely the Lord has walked with Ivan and me through situations that were harder than we ever could have imagined.
What I can say is this: God has been very merciful to me. I have been redeemed by the Son of God and can call the Master of the Universe, “my Father.” God’s given me a kind, sacrificial husband who models Christ’s love to me every single day. I’m blessed with a family who’ve sacrificed themselves tirelessly, over and over again, to help Ivan and me stay afloat. We’re also grateful to Ivan’s family for their prayers. Even though I spent several years isolated in our apartment, now God continues improving my health and opening doors at church so I can share what I’ve learned and be blessed by others in return. Perhaps most amazingly, God’s also provided a Christ-centered publisher who’s taken my writing and is polishing it into a story that I hope will bless many people.
I’ll close with one of my favorite verses, a “short and sweet” one I hope will set the tone for my thirtieth year: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” ~ John 10:27
10 thoughts on “Thankful for Thirty”
Dear Grace, you are such an inspiration to so many. I just love your blog and you look great. Happy Birthday too. Mine is March 19, I was a pre-me and wasn’t supposed to live so I too cherish birthdays. All the best, Lisa
Happy early birthday, Lisa! It’s crazy how easy it is to take being alive for granted, even after a near-death-experience or uncertain beginning. Thanks for the reminder to give thanks every birthday! ❤
Thank you Grace and Ivan for your willingness and faithfulness to reach out and encourage us ! Happy Birthday Grace ! Larry form Virginia
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Hi Larry! Thanks so much for your kind words. 🙂
Happy Birthday, Grace. You are an inspiration!! Vera Breheda
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Thanks Ms. Vera! Hope you’re doing well. 🙂
Rejoicing with you, and happy birthday, Grace! It is such a gift to all who know you that you choose to live out Philippians 4:8. You intentionally dwell on what is true, and your understanding of God’s character blesses all of us. YOU are a gift! 🎁
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Thanks so much for your encouragement!
Happy 30th Birthday Grace. May the Lord give you the courage, strength and health to glorify Him for your next 30 years. You are in the unique position to see every birthday as a gift from God.
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Thanks so much! ❤