All my life, I've been trying to be the birthday queen. I've secretly wanted everything to be perfect. I've wanted to feel perfect. I've wanted everyone else to feel that I was perfect.
This year, I got to actually feel like a queen for the first time. And it had nothing to do with me being perfect, or everything being perfect. Actually it had to do with everything being terrible, and me watching the people around me respond to tragedy with such incredible love and generosity that I've been blown away, over and over again.
I started a fundraiser last week to raise money for the orphans I worked with in Haiti - $21 dollars for my 21st. I was hoping to raise $210.
I was nervous to start the project, worried that I would never even get to $100.
I started the project before the tragedy in Haiti struck.
When it did, I realized that the things I do are sometimes led by forces much greater than I know. I had started my fundraiser without any idea of how much the people I loved would actually need it.
I reached my goal of $210 for my 21st yesterday, before my birthday even came.
Actually, I reached $286 by midnight.
People who I don't know have donated more than I have ever donated to anything in my life. People who I do know, and know can't afford it, have donated more than I ever expected anyone to.
I have never felt so incredibly blessed to be turning any age - or so happy to be getting anything. I don't know why I don't do this every year. There's a joy in me that I can't even express to you, in the midst of my sorrow. There's a joy in partnership, in watching people live out the things that Jesus has called us to do for others.
I keep thinking of the kids - of Spend, who I don't have word of yet - of my boys, are they okay? Of the children that I love, and where they are/how they're feeling/what they're thinking.
I just want to hold them all at once. But mostly Spend.
And yet, in the midst of it, my heart is rejoicing in such huge ways. God is so amazing to have put such incredible people in my life. Thank you all for making me feel like a queen just to know you.
Please, keep donating. Every bit makes a difference. I have a secret much higher number I'm praying/hoping for (I'll let you know if I reach it).