When I was little, it always made me sad that the saying was “April showers bring May flowers.” It wasn’t fair, I thought, that my birthday month was the “shower” month and not the “flower” month. April brings flowers, too, you know—flowers and gorgeous, perfect, fresh weather. April isn’t all showers.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]At a quarter of a century, I’m starting to understand my worth and what I’m capable of, and that’s more than I can ask for as a birthday present—indeed, more than I can ask for a lifetime of birthday presents. Finally, I’m blooming.[/pullquote]But I would be lying if I said it didn’t rain at all. The tale my brother and cousins like to tell me about the day I was born—25 years ago today—is that it was a dark and stormy night, and they were playing Monopoly at my Mimi’s house. They were in the middle of their game when suddenly, the phone rang and the night was lit by a flash of lightning. My dad was on the phone, and he told my Mimi that I had arrived. When Mimi shared the news, lightning again lit up the sky, and thunder rumbled across the earth. According to my brother and cousins, I was brought into the world with rain.
Likewise, rain has shaped me throughout the years (figuratively, of course). Life hasn’t been a bunch of flowers. It’s been a lot of showers—lots of bullying in elementary and middle school, lots of mistakes in high school, failed friendships, failed relationships. But I wouldn’t change that rain for the world because if I hadn’t gone through it, perhaps I wouldn’t have grown in college. Perhaps I wouldn’t have finally understood and believed in the Gospel. Perhaps I wouldn’t have found a home in the WVU English Department and the Writing Center. Perhaps I wouldn’t have met the people who have shaped me as a Christian, a woman, a writer/editor, and a wife.
Looking back, it hasn’t all been sweet and smooth, but I can say I’m feeling pretty fresh at 25. No, I don’t have it all figured out, and I don’t think I ever will, but I’m learning that that’s okay. The job I have now might not be the job I have in a couple months. The place I move to next might not be the place I form roots. What I want to be doing right now might not be what I want to be doing next year. And it’s okay. It’s all okay. What’s important is that I’ve made it to where I am, and I am so proud of that. At a quarter of a century, I’m starting to understand my worth and what I’m capable of, and that’s more than I can ask for as a birthday present—indeed, more than I can ask for a lifetime of birthday presents. Finally, I’m blooming.
I know that many readers of this blog have probably understood this important piece of information for a while, but I invite everyone—regardless of age and life experience—to listen to these words and take them to heart: You are doing better than you think you are. It’s so easy, as a woman, to feel constantly rained upon, to feel insignificant and weak. But you aren’t. You are stronger than you think you are. You are smarter than you think you are. You have more say in things than you think you do. You are more beautiful than you think you are. And you are capable of doing anything—anything—you want to do. Aren’t these sentences, these often forgotten facts, such refreshing pieces of truth? They’re so easy to read and nod your head in agreement with, but knowing them, really knowing them, is life changing. I’m learning that I can do anything, and this truth is changing my life. And I pray that you will start to know that truth, too.
For the past couple of years, I’ve given out cookies on my birthday. I know, it’s weird: me giving out cookies when people should be giving them to me, I guess. But since I don’t currently have colleagues I’m physically with, I wanted to share something positive with my friends—something even sweeter than my chocolate chip cookies with the perfect balance of salt. When we believe lies for decades, it’s so hard to transition into believing truth. But a flower pushes through dirt before it starts to grow. And after that growth comes the bloom, and the bloom is the most beautiful part. Live your life in bloom, and thank God for that rain.
Natalie currently lives in the greater DC area with her husband, Andrew, where she works as a Technical Writer/Editor for a global IT company.