In early June, I started contemplating whether or not I would have a party for my milestone birthday, number 40! I prayed about if I have one how and where would I celebrate it. God showed me so many things, which I will share in time but today I wanted to share with you what he placed in my heart that was significant about my 40th birthday.
I was hesitating to have a birthday party because of resources, both time and money were so limited in this season of life, as I pay off debt and start saving for the business. God placed two things in my heart, he said you need to celebrate your birthday and for your 40th it would be beautiful to serve and celebrate all the people in your life that walked alongside you as you have become the woman you are today.
The second vision he gave me was this outdoor, lush green beautiful dinner with all my closest friends and family. I was praying about a place, and with limited financial resources, it was getting quite frustrating trying to locate a spot.
One day after many of times of him whispering to me to walk up the hill of this park close to my house, to show me something. I was always too busy running off to the next errand, but this time I felt a strong whisper so I parked my car and walked up the hill.
When I got to the top of the hill, my breathe was taken away by the gorgeous view of the skyline and the grand perspective of the hill. It was absolutely beautiful. I immediately saw a vision of a beautiful dinner party at the top of that hill. God confirmed in my heart that this is the place to have the party.
I have to be honest with you. There was a reason God was placing this park in my heart for the party. For twelve years I have lived in Bridgeport, I reluctantly moved to my humble apartment with the motive to move out after a quick couple of years to save up for a place to buy and then buy in a better location in the city. To be completely honest, I was embarrassed about where I lived. All of my friends were buying gorgeous condos in South Loop, Printers Row, and Wicker Park and here I was in an apartment building with a bunch of IIT students.
God wanted to show me something about my heart. He told me its time to let that dream go and be grateful for what you have in the present. I was so busy chasing my dreams and goals to one day buy a beautiful condo in a different location of the city, that I was missing the beauty higher here in my own backyard. I came to this neighborhood thinking I would only be here for 2 years, and now it has turned into 12 years and counting.
As I look back now I can see how God was working in my life. This very apartment that I was ashamed of, saved me when my role was eliminated at my corporate job. Because of the low rent that I pay, I was afforded the luxury to take the time I needed to pursue the dreams I really wanted for my career, and that was to pursue the blog.
This lesson has taught me to see the beauty in the present. If I would just slow down a little bit on chasing dreams and follow his lead, he will show me exactly why I am experiencing my current circumstances.
So with that at the end of my birthday party, we had a sparklers ceremony to celebrate all the people who have been a light in my life. We celebrated people, my family, friends from high school, my salsa days, my church family both at Willow Chicago and Willow Barrington. It was truly a night of celebrations.
The ended with the best birthday present I had ever received ever!! My beautiful friends and family (Thank you, Erica, for organizing it!!) created a “My Greatest Love” magazine leaving a beautiful note of why they are celebrating my being in their life. I cry every time I pick it up and read it. It is so beautiful! I told my friend Erica, most people only say things like this at people’s funerals, I am so blessed to have heard these words in person while I am still with my friends and families. I will always come back to the magazine if ever I should feel alone and lost. These words will always be a reminder of what is real in my life.
Thank you again for all the warm birthday wishes and being a part of my milestone day. It is a memory forever implanted upon my heart.
Photography by Kayla Lynn