So what is a girl to give herself for her birthday? Especially a mid-life girl. One who has messed up and fessed up and who is still working it all out, still messing up and fessing up? A massage? A book? A meal out? An extra helping of chips and milk? Perhaps it's all of those things. But those come and go and go and go.................. Way too quickly. So what can I give myself this year? I've been thinking about this a lot. A LOT. Asking myself what I need. What will help my soul to breathe? And my heart to heal? What will hold me through the long days and the short years? So here's what I'm half-thoughting about right now. It's what I whisper (and sometimes shout) over and over again to myself in the shower naked as a jaybird, under the covers with eyes wide open at 2:30 am when I’m overthinking again, in the car when I’m driving to who knows where, probably the grocery store again for the millionth time in my life, and to the mirror where a bleary-eyed, older but still somewhat recognizable version of me looks back. FIRST: (and stay tuned for the second one—do not click off unless one of your people is laying in a ditch crying for help via text) GRACE. grace. grace. grace. grace. grace. GRACE for who I have been in the yesterdays of life. The one who... messed up. fessed up (that was a rough go for a long time). tried hard (to have it all together). didn’t know better. was afraid and proud and very unhealed. loved like it was my job. Also GRACE for who I am in the todays. The one who... still messes up, even 10 minutes ago. fesses up much more easily now (I've had a ton of practice). still tries hard (but it looks a little different now). knows a lot better than ever before. is still afraid lots of times, but is owning it. finds pride sneaking in to all the unhealed parts of me. loves like it’s my mission. Because it is. SECOND: (stick with me here...this is for you too) SPACE. space. space. space. space. space. SPACE for who I am becoming in the tomorrows. The one who will... keep learning. need to eat humble pie in gulps and gulps and gulps. hopefully never want to stop changing and growing and asking myself how I can do better next time. keep messing up and fessing up probably most days (I'll still be human, right? There's no cure for that). love like it's the only thing that matters. And also SPACE for who I will be when meeting Jesus is just on the horizon. The one who... is healed from fear, guilty and shame over all the messes. looks back and says to herself, “Great job! You did it!" is more of her true and beautiful self. loves (to the best of her ability) until she takes her final breath. is free. So yes, these are the two gifts I am giving myself on my birthday. And hopefully every day after that. I want them for me AND for you.