Happy Birthday to Me

24. That’s the age I turn this fine day in July. I'm a big birthday person. July is typically "birthday month" and I love making a really big deal of celebrating birthdays; not simply my own but others' as well. The speed at which life is zooming is astounding, and seems to accelerate each year.You always think about birthdays up until your 21st. And then it’s as though you forget it continues after that. I have been blessed more richly in these 24 years than I ever could have imagined. This list narrows down 12 reasons I am grateful and 12 lessons I’ve learned over the past years (to total 24, of course).

I’m thankful for...

  1. My relationship with Jesus Christ. His relentless pursuit of me even in the midst of my unfaithfulness to Him. Grateful that my God never changes and loves me despite how undeserving I feel of it.
  2. Jordan Jeffrey Shirkman. This man has been the biggest surprise I never saw coming. Marrying him has been the most amazing, fun adventure and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this life. I love his heart for the Lord, the nations, and people. He exemplifies Christ’s love to me in such a tangible way that has healed my heart and given me the confidence to start seeing myself as Jesus does. And he loves me even when I’m a pain in the butt =)
  3. My family. Each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart. I love how close we are and greatly cherish the time we spend together. This includes the wonderful family I’ve gained through marrying Jordo--you have welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like a part of the family from day one.
  4. Cru. Being a part of Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) as a student was a life-changing decision for me in college. Now I have the privilege of calling it my “job” to travel the world telling people about Jesus and to impact lives for eternity. The friends we work with are a major highlight as well. Which brings me to...
  5. Deep friendships. I could write pages of who you are and what you’ve blessed me with in life, but to each of you that have touched my life in a significant way, that point me to Jesus and encourage me to pursue all God has for me, I am forever thankful.
  6. Coffee. Any style. French-pressed. Latte. Cream and sugar. You name it.
  7. Books. I love reading and learning. Books help with that.
  8. Travel. The world is so diverse and unique. I love seeing new places in both the United States and around the globe.
  9. Food. New restaurants, familiar ones. Thai. Italian. Sushi. Asian. Steak. Sweets. I just really love food, making me also grateful for my...
  10. Ability to cook and bake. It’s an art to me and therapy as well. With a pretty delicious result to partake of in the end.
  11. Exercise.
  12. New experiences. I love trying new things: new products, restaurants, stores, technology, anything. When in conversations, I enjoy being able to have an opinion on things. My hubs calls me a “marketer’s dream” for this reason.Now 12 things I’ve learned so far...
  13. Life with God is way more satisfying, fulfilling and fun than it ever could be without.
  14. Spend more time planning your marriage than your wedding.
  15. People and relationships are more important than my tasks and to-do list.
  16. Daily time in the Bible is essential for my peace, sanity, and stability.
  17. Be present in whatever moment you’re in.
  18. Be content where you’re at, with what you have; not always looking to the next thing or believing that more _____ or less _____ would make it easier.
  19. Ask for forgiveness quickly.
  20. Extend forgiveness even more quickly. And just let it go.
  21. Loving people like Jesus does will always cost you something; be it time, convenience, resources, you name it. And will always be worth it.
  22. I have nothing to prove to anyone.
  23. Comparing myself with others is not only exhausting, but essentially telling God the gifts and talents He’s given me aren’t good enough.
  24. Cherish each season of life and every change that it brings. The only constant is God and He’s with you every step of the way.

Now for most of those lessons I need to start applying them to my life, but luckily God is pretty patient with me =) Thanks in advance for the birthday wishes!

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Niki

Twenty-something follower of Jesus, wife to my best friend, aspiring kitchenista, and lover of handwritten type, all things coffee, traveling and baked goods. Currently in the United States until my husband and I move back to Ljubljana, Slovenia, where we are missionaries with Cru.