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Beyond Surviving: The Beauty of Celebrating Life's Victories

Have you been through something really hard in the last few years? Felt like you were in survival mode? Have you or someone in your family conquered a cancer diagnosis and chemo? Have you or someone you love been set free from a debilitating condition such as clinical depression? Have you or someone you love reconciled a relationship that appeared to be beyond repair?

If you answered YES to any of these questions (or have been through something similarly difficult and are now standing on the other side), I want to know something serious. HAVE YOU CELEBRATED? It's time to go beyond just surviving and find the beauty in celebrating life's victories.

When God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites walked through on dry ground, the people celebrated. Moses composed a song, his sister led all the women in a dance with tambourines. They people were likely tired and dirty and in shock, but they didn't wait until the next morning. They had a party right there and then.

King David was well known for celebrating God's victories. In the middle of extreme persecution, the Christians in the book of Acts celebrated God's miraculous healing and even their persecution. The Bible is not short on descriptions of celebrations.

When I was in my 20's, a new friend had a huge 30th birthday party. I got invited and it was so fun. Her family went all out for this party, and I wasn't used to the way they spared no expense and invited everyone to join them. Before they served the cake, her mother stood up and shared the reason they were celebrating so lavishly. They had not expected Christy to live to be 30. She'd only recently overcome a difficult cancer diagnosis that had caused some damage to her beautiful face, BUT SHE WAS ALIVE AND CANCER-FREE!

Another friend during that time survived cancer. Sarah had been positive through it all, continuing to work as much as possible. We were both single and struggling financially, but when it was all over, she went on a luxurious retreat by herself. She said, "My trip is for two reasons. First, to CELEBRATE my freedom from cancer and second, to give myself time to process how hard this has all been and feel those feelings, too." She's gone on to become someone who knows how to celebrate and often inspires me through the intentional way she stops to appreciate something or someone good.

If you're local, you probably recall the first birthday party we had for Redmond. We'd had so many difficult days in that first year, often wondering if he'd make it through. I might as well have entitled the party, "We Get To Keep Him!"

We got a huge room at a nearby church, the coolest cake I've ever seen (in person) with little frosting barn animals and a bunch of layers. We got face painters, balloon artists, bouncy houses, and an ice cream machine. We collected donations for Buddy Baskets, a local organization that brings baskets of helpful and fun things to new parents when they have a baby with Down syndrome. Before we cut the cake, I told everyone exactly why we were celebrating. It was such a joyful event and a memory I cherish. It was my act of worship to the Lord for bringing us through.

What in your life needs to be celebrated? Is there a person who has brought you so much joy, it would be an act of worship to celebrate them? Is there an event or milestone you thought you might never reach? Did you finally write that book or start that business? That's worth celebrating.

When we celebrate as an act of worship to God, gratitude for all the good things we have in our lives, it brings Him glory. Celebrate well, and tell the world why you are doing it. The Lord has been good to me. He has brought me through. He has inspired me. He has given me a great gift. Whatever

In Luke 15, Jesus shares three parables about people who called together their friends and family and had celebrations. Check it out. Is it time for you to start planning a party?

Pink and gold Kimberly Wyse
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