Dear me…

In just a few short hours I will have another birthday…turn another year older and let’s hope another year wiser. And as the hours tick away and my 47th birthday gets closer, I just wanted to share some thoughts to me, by me…so I wrote a letter to myself.

Dear me,

You should be excited. Tomorrow is another milestone in your life! You are one of the lucky ones…and while it feels awkward to celebrate yourself and your 47 years in this world tomorrow, shouldn’t you??? I mean, God gave you this GIFT of your life for 17,155 days…why WOULDN’T that be a cause of celebration?

You have had quite a journey…one that is uniquely your own. Some paths have been carved for you, others you carved for yourself. You have loved and been loved, have hurt and been hurt, have lied and been lied to, have been lifted up and kicked down, have disappointed and have been disappointed. Life has definitely not been easy nor particularly hard…at times incredibly painful yet others joyfully abundant.

You have made choices you regret and decisions that make you beam with pride. You have broken hearts and you have had your heart broken. You have cried so hard that you couldn’t breathe and laughed so hysterically that you couldn’t catch your breath. You have gained the titles of daughter, sister, friend, teammate, girlfriend, fiancé, wife, mother, daughter in law, sister in law, aunt, Godmother, cousin, and niece in your 47 years on this earth…that ALONE is pretty special right??

(SOOOOOO, I am pretty sure if you are reading this, many of you are shaking your head and saying “yes, that’s me!” While others are quite possibly still praying for the title of “mother”, “wife”, or maybe even “friend”. 😦 Let’s face it, life is ridiculously tough sometimes. God doesn’t hand us a map or step by step directions to love, life, and success when we are born. Instead, we are given one thing.

A life. Period.

I truly believe that what we DO with that life that God has blessed us with has everything to do with US. And please understand me when I say this…we are NOT all given the easiest of paths. In fact, some of these paths are downright OVERWHELMING and feel IMPOSSIBLE to venture through. Be rest assured in one thing. If you are relying on Him, He is walking WITH YOU and there IS a reason. I say this KNOWING I have struggled with MY path more than once in my almost 47 years. It’s not easy to keep falling. Taking blows left and right. Having doors shut… many of which you know will never reopen. Many of which you may have closed yourself unknowingly. We get in our OWN way…our OWN paths. I have done it to myself a thousand times.)

Okay…sidetracked…lol. Back to my letter to me. 😉

You…YOU, my dear are strong. Stronger than you think. You may not always be the sharpest tool in the shed as it takes you a little longer than most to learn from your past mistakes. But you ARE strong. And you know what? I am proud of you. Even when you screw up, you recognize it pretty quickly and you are not afraid to say “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” And let’s face facts. When you screw up, you do it royally…I mean, you never were one to do things half assed. And when you make a mistake, it’s usually pretty monumental. But you love hard and with all that you have. Even when you don’t always receive that same love in return.

Keep doing that.

Because the more of that we have in this world, the better life will be in the future for your daughters.

Speaking of Hannah and Hailey…WOW! How lucky are YOU? God decided that they would be yours and then put the cherry on top by blessing you with a gorgeous 6’4″ heart of gold that wanted all 3 of you to be HIS. He lives to love you and them. Remember when you thought life as you knew it would never be the same? That you would grow callous to love and live your life with the girls alone after divorce? (The tough path that I was speaking of earlier…P.S. a new path of love was made for their dad as well 🙂 ) Well, God was walking with you the whole time…through all your heartache, mistakes, and misunderstandings…and in His perfect timing He chose your new path. It was no coincidence that it coincided with the path of this new miracle named Bart. Why? Because you trusted and BELIEVED that He would take care of you and the girls…even when you felt you failed. And MAN did He ever!

Is the path that we are currently traveling on as the Burton family easy? No. Not in the least. You and your husband have lost 2 children together. One that you delivered, named, and held in your arms…your daughter Sammie. You have had countless opportunities dangled in your faces only to have the rug swept out from under you. You have suffered lonely nights and days for a job that relentlessly takes away time, rest, laughter, date nights, the girls’ game days, and sometimes sadly your smiles. There have been times when your lack of time together and your loss has caused resentment, anger, irrational emotions, hurt and tears. You know what else it has caused? What else it has shown you?

PURE LOVE.

The kind of love that has no beginning and no end. It is the kind of love that listens even when the words hurt and understands even when things are beyond comprehension. It is a love that only God can grant you and it is special. And it’s not only shared between you and your husband. It belongs to you, your husband and your girls as well. It is precious and rare…and you should NEVER take it for granted. Cherish it and it will last until you take your last breath.

OH. And that’s one more thing you have learned. Your last breath? Yeah. THAT can come at any time. Don’t forget that. Love like there is no tomorrow because you just might not be given one.

Remember when you were little and your mom told you you could be anything that you wanted to be? You still can! You are never too old to chase a dream, start over, or walk a new path. Just remember where you failed and adjust your sails. Remember what you can and can’t control and give the rest to God. Hold tight to those you love and those that love you BACK. Cry when you need to cry, talk when you need to talk, and walk away when you need to walk away.

Happy 47th birthday to you Shannon! For the first time in maybe my lifetime I am going to say this out loud…

I love you.❤️

May this be the best year of your life thus far! Hold tight to your dreams, cherish every day with your children and family, and ALWAYS remember THIS…because no matter what love is ALL that matters.

Corinthians 13:13

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not ENVY, it does not BOAST, it is NOT PROUD.

It does NOT dishonor others.

It is NOT self-seeking.

It is NOT easily angered.

It keeps NO RECORD of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It ALWAYS protects

ALWAYS trusts

ALWAYS hopes

ALWAYS perseveres.

Here’s to an amazing 47 years of life! May God bless you with many more.

Hugs,

Shannon