I woke up in my own Tennessee bed this morning after spending Thanksgiving in Alabama and my birthday in Georgia. Leading up to the holiday, I started a study on Giving Thanks — in joy, in sorrow and suffering, in work, in rest, in plenty and in want. Through this, I’ve learned that Thanksgiving isn’t just my favorite holiday where I get to fill my plate with all my most-loved foods, but a daily discipline brought into every sphere of life, every minute of every day.
It felt timely as this coincided with my birthday. Thirty-eight doesn’t hold as much weight as I thought it might. Most people asked if I feel different. I don’t. “Getting close to 40!” they say. “Bring it,” I respond.
I’m actually looking forward to my 40s, knowing so much more now, feeling settled and content in my career. And my life — it feels like a whole new landscape of opportunity for wholehearted living has opened to me! On two recent occasions, I’ve said that in some ways life feels it’s just beginning.
After a celebratory breakfast (complete with surprise crêpes!) on Saturday the 24th, my mom and I ventured out for Small Business Saturday shopping. A local coworking space was hosting a Sip & Shop with several local vendors and we agreed that sounded like a fun way to spend some time. After wading through a variety of makers (and MLMs), we happened across a jewelry artist in the very back.
Her work struck me – bracelets with large stones centered on spiralized silver cords. I made obligatory small talk and complimented her work. My mom even purchased a pair of earrings for me as a Christmas stocking stuffer (which I prematurely took and have already worn two days in a row).
The artist directed our attention to a raffle for a complimentary bracelet. I reluctantly filled out a card, reminding myself I could always unsubscribe from mailing lists. “Which bracelet would you like if you win?” she asked. I picked one in the corner of her display – the only multi-colored stone with strands of red and blue. She placed it on my arm, forming the pliable silver to fit my wrist, and held my hand.
“Are you familiar with prophetic words?” she asked. Skeptically, I nodded. The artist explained that she receives them with each piece. Then, she asked if I’d like to hear the message she received when working on the bracelet I chose.
My cynicism internalized an eye-roll. Is this girl for real?
The red is the blood of Jesus; the LIFE hovering, clearing, separating dark from light. The blue is comfort from the Holy Spirit bringing restoration. There is new life coming forth.
She also wanted to be sure I knew the meaning of my name – which I did – and confirmed the importance of Amanda meaning worthy of love. My mom saw the tears in my eyes and explained them with a Cliffs Notes version of our 2018.
This is my recurring theme over the past 11 months: a constant struggle to stay out of the darkness, desperately clinging to the light. It was as if this stranger had read every journal entry I’d written and been in every thought I’d had.
I’m not sure how we walked away after that, but we did. A few hours later, my mom received a call. The artist said she wasn’t in this for the money, she just really wanted me to have that bracelet.
It was the Godwink icing on top of the already most delicious birthday cake day.