“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…”
I received the lyrical text moments after midnight, ensuring my friend’s birthday wishes were the first I received on my milestone birthday. Yet I had been receiving early birthday wishes all week leading up to my birthday this week.
The day before my birthday, I came in from the mailbox with a package in hand. The return address indicated it was from a dear friend whose friendship spanned close to three decades. The kind of friendship that often requires no words–a single glance is all it takes to know what the other needs.
There is something about milestone birthdays for me that prompt reflection, or perhaps it was my husband’s diagnosis and cancer journey this year, but regardless, I found myself quite contemplative recently. As I spent this week reflecting on my life and especially this past year, I have thought about how the year since my last birthday has brought many lows as we have walked in the valley a great deal of time this year. But I also see how God has been faithful to sprinkle our walk with respite moments of joy to refresh us, and renew our hope of better days to come.
As I review this past year, I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness in many ways:
-The birthday package I received was from a friend I’ve known just shy of 30 years. There is something so comforting about friendships that span the test of time and go with you through life’s ups and downs.
-Part of His faithfulness was experienced in the new friendships He brought my way over the course of this past year, and the rekindling of relationships from years gone by.
-Part of His faithfulness to see us through the difficult times this past year was experienced in the prayers of so many of you when we cried out in need during chemotherapy treatments, hospitalizations, doctor’s appointments, after the burglary, and just in moments of weariness when we needed our arms held up in prayer.
-Another way He showed His faithfulness was through the encouraging texts, emails, and private messages many of you sent just to thank me for my posts, or to let me/us know you were thinking of us or praying for us, or benefited from “Hope Prevails.” You will probably never know just how much each and every one of those communications met the need in my heart at the very time He prompted you to send it-Every. Time.
-Another way He showed His faithfulness was through the reviews many of you left for “Hope Prevails.” It may seem like a little thing, but to an author who pours out their heart on paper, hoping and praying it makes a difference in someone’s life, it encourages us to keep being obedient to the call God has given us, and to keep writing.
So today, as I reflect on this milestone birthday, I am thankful for life: mine, my husband’s who has fought for every moment he has been given these last six months, and for yours, my friends–those I’ve known for decades, those I’ve known for a few years, those I’ve just become acquainted with this year, and those I’ve only known virtually. But you all have a place in my heart. Thank you for making each day a bit more special for me. You are loved.
As I look forward to the next year, my birthday wish is simple:
I wish: that you would know how much you are loved by those around you, by me, and by your Heavenly Father.
I wish: that we would slow down and enjoy the journey instead of thinking it’s all about the destination and missing the joy along the way.
I wish: that we would be more present in the moments of each other’s good times and bad, remembering it’s not about knowing the right thing to say or do, but just being there.
I wish: that we would take every opportunity to show and tell those we care about how much they mean to us, because truly, we never know how much time we have with them before they will be gone.
I wish: that you would know that no matter what you are facing right now, or will face in this next year, that you are never alone. God promises to never leave you, and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
I wish: that each day would bring a greater appreciation for how deep, how wide, and how high is God’s everlasting love for you, not because of who you are or what you do, but because of whose you are and what He did for you on the cross.
Because of Him,
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
Thank you for being such an encourager. It’s so needed in today’s world. Birthdays are a reason to celebrate God’s giving us another year to live for him and others.
God’s richest blessings be upon you and yours,
Thank you for your encouragement. Words that uplift me through these days of trials. I’m overwhelmed and full tears but God has been so faithful in life. His love is what keeps me going when all else is just to much. My prayers are with you and family.
Thank you again for sharing your heart with us. Happy Birthday ?
Well happy and blessed birthday to you! 🙂
Beautiful post and happy birthday! “Remembering ” has been key to me being able to persevere and fight for perspective during stormy seasons. Thank you for sharing your remembrances. It was a blessing to all of us! Praying this morning for you and your family ?
Happy Birthday Michelle! Such lovely reflections and wishes!
What a beautiful post. Happy birthday! Thanks for linking up at the Home Matters Link Party! We hope to see you again next week:) #HomeMattersParty