Dear Belinda. This month you are turning 55. I have seen the days of your life play out before you through all of these years. While you have focused on your failures and unrealized expectations, I have watched strength and beauty take root in you. You have fought your way through depression, anger and self-hatred to find acceptance, forgiveness and surrender in the truth of Jesus. You bravely laid down your wall of protection and let God shine His light on your wounded heart. All the love you worked so hard to give to others passed through your festering pain. Until you yielded. You invited God to search your heart and find any hurtful way in you. You admitted. You accepted responsibility. You confessed. You did the hard work of surrendering your will to obedience to Christ. And God met you at every point of surrender. As you laid down each idol and turned your face towards Him, He was there. His gifts exceed every expectation. His perfect love in exchange for your selfish love. His protection for your wall of pride and denial. His Word, living and active, piercing and separating, revealing and setting you free. Free to forgive. Free to love. Free to set boundaries. Free to let go. Free to trust Him to know everything and justly rule on your behalf. Calmly laying down your flesh wrapped in grave clothes, no longer a slave to sin. A child of God. Working out your salvation every moment by searching for His footprints and placing your feet in His path. Not to find salvation…that is completed by Jesus. But to learn to follow Him and to grow up into the fullness of Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit working in you. To allow Love to grow in your heart. To humble your SELF before Him as He sits on the throne of your heart. You have found your place at His feet where you can freely worship Him and pour out your grateful tears at His beautiful feet that stepped down into the ugliness of your life without flinching, without scorn, and lifted you out of the pit where you laid helpless and wretched in your sin. He washed you. Laid you beside still waters and restored your soul. Now I look at you and the beauty blooming in your heart and can’t help but smile. You are beautiful. Like a cloud at sunset reflecting the light of His glory. And I say to you, dear belinda, rejoice in this 55th year of life. For He has made you glad. He has prepared a table before you in the presence of your enemies. He walks beside you through the valley of the shadow of death. Goodness and Mercy shall follow you all the days of your life and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.