Birthday Blessings

flowers
Photo Credit: Flowers by Just4You

Today is my 29th birthday, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than sitting here at my favorite breakfast place writing, reflecting, and thanking God for the blessings of the past year. Here’s a recap of how my personal and professional lives have converged (and diverged) over the past twelve months—showing me how God takes a very personal interest in the mundane details of my life.

Last Summer

I was fretting over what I saw as conflicting desires, including the desire to write, teach, and (though I didn’t much tell anyone), have a baby. God started to drop things into place when Paul Coneff of Straight 2 the Heart ministries asked me to help him write his first book, The Hidden Half of the Gospel. During July of last year, I was also starting to write my master’s thesis (eventually 100 pages), which was a perfect warm-up for the book-length project I was taking on. Now busy with writing, I tabled my internal baby discussion for the time being.

2012-11-08 22.27.41

Last Fall

I was still working fervently on my two writing projects, but there came pausing points in both works, during which time I was left with nothing to do but finally start writing what was in my heart. Four notebooks and one month later, I had the rough draft of my memoir and the beginnings of this blog down on paper—both would wait for January for further development.

I looked around one day on campus and asked myself if this student life was what I wanted for five to eight more years. I didn’t see how that life would allow me to be the parent I knew I’d want to be—if we decided to have kids.

One day in October, while writing a paper for my last graduate class, I broke down at my computer and finally faced the truth: I was tired of this solitary student life; I wanted something more. I called my husband in tears and he came home early that day to take me on a walk-and-talk through the local state park. As I unknowingly acquired poison ivy, it was a relief to hear myself finally saying words I had been repressing for a long time: I want to have kids (this was a fun scene to write for my memoir).

In December I completed my master’s program and sent out two graduate applications—one MFA, and one PhD—just in case we didn’t conceive, and just in case God still wanted me in graduate school.

girl on bench

Last Winter

I did not get into either of the grad programs I applied to, which told me that was not God’s plan for me right now. I went off birth control in January, began this blog, and started officially calling myself a writer.

I spent the early months of the year feeling lonely and a bit depressed—now I was alone in our big house all day long, getting to write, yes, but without the promise of much people time during my days. I started really missing my family in Minnesota, whom I hadn’t seen since the previous June. I also realized I had been taking my husband for granted for most of our eight years of marriage—putting him on the back burner as I worked on emotional issues, self-improvement, and career development. I decided to be more family oriented.

Around the same time, God also brought many friends into my life to help alleviate my loneliness. This told me that God could meet my need for people contact with or without a baby.

Amanda and me

Last Spring

In May, when I wasn’t expecting it, I found out I was five weeks pregnant. Yay! We had a fun time surprising our family with the announcement, as most hadn’t been reading this blog and didn’t know we were trying. I rededicated my efforts to finishing my memoir “before thirty,” and now I also vowed to try to finish before baby.

2013-01-09 23.52.05

Currently

I have just returned from two weeks in Minnesota—probably my last trip to see my family before baby comes in January (I am four months along today). While in Minnesota I attended my ten-year class reunion and felt additional closure about God’s plans for my life. Though visiting Minnesota always makes me wistful, I clearly saw God’s wisdom in moving me away almost nine years ago. Visits back home used to be hard—brought painful memories—but more and more they bring happiness. Now, my husband and I are talking about getting a summer house in MN in a few years—which prospect fills my heart with joy.

My memoir is going well, and I have made contact with a favorite author of mine, Trish Ryan, who has agreed to consult on my book in late August to help me prepare it for publication (my hubby is giving me a “loan” because I told him it would be a good investment!). This fall I will be searching for an agent and/or publisher as I prepare for this baby’s arrival—and hopefully this winter I will have both a healthy baby and a manuscript headed for publication. The healthy baby is more important, of course—the book would just be a bonus. Regardless of how long it takes to get the memoir published, The Hidden Half of the Gospel will be published long before my next birthday—showing me that God heard my “before thirty” prayer six months ago.

It is 10:10 as I finish writing this, and my dentist’s office just texted, “Happy Birthday, I hope you have many reasons to smile today!” I am happy to say, “Yes, I do!” Today, I am smiling about my immediate future that will consist largely of family time, writing time, and more Minnesota time—and that doesn’t even compare to my eternal future!

Thank you, Lord, for taking such a personal interest in the mundane details of my life. Today I praise you for how you care about my heart’s desires and how you’ve led, not just for the past year, but for the past twenty-nine years.

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13 thoughts on “Birthday Blessings

  1. ithabise July 30, 2013 / 11:41 am

    Happiest birthday to you!

  2. Mike Crape July 30, 2013 / 11:44 am

    An incredible year of growth, an amazing journey of life ahead. Happy Birthday Lindsey.

    • lindseygendke July 30, 2013 / 12:00 pm

      Thank you, Mike! Because of traveling recently and book deadlines, I’m behind on reading other blogs I enjoy, such as yours, but I’ll get back to it before long! Have a good day!

  3. Calebtrain July 30, 2013 / 12:26 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!! 🙂

    • lindseygendke July 30, 2013 / 12:27 pm

      Thanks! Right back at you, bro! Miss you already!

  4. Lillian Boyington July 30, 2013 / 12:36 pm

    In five months you’re going to wonder what ‘solitary time’ is. May it be a joy!

  5. Susan July 30, 2013 / 1:02 pm

    Happy birthday, lambie. You were and continue to be a gift. We are so grateful for you and all that our Creator is doing in and through your life.Wishing you blessings all around, far beyond what you could ask or hope or imagine. Love, Mom

    • lindseygendke August 2, 2013 / 7:59 pm

      Thanks Mom. It’s great to have you reading; and I wish you a blessed year, too. God is so good, always planning bigger and better things for us than we would even dream. Glad to be walking this journey of faith with you!

  6. Donna Trana July 30, 2013 / 11:07 pm

    Always fun to see what your latest entries have to say. It has been (and will continue to be) such a pleasure to watch you grow and develop into exactly what God intends for you. I know this is going to be a rich and blessed year for you and Buc.

    • lindseygendke August 2, 2013 / 7:56 pm

      Donna, I’m so glad you’ve been reading. Hearing from loved ones inspires me to keep writing. Thanks for the words of encouragement; I know it will definitely be a wonderful year! I wish the same for you!

  7. Kate July 31, 2013 / 8:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Lindsey. I love hearing the God-story of your life. Keep sharing it with us! It’s an encouragement! And happy birthday!

    • lindseygendke August 2, 2013 / 8:02 pm

      Kate, glad to share; and I enjoy reading about your “God-story,” too! Thanks for reading!

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