Today is my birthday!

So today, on November 30, I will celebrate.

Today I celebrate the gift that is my family. Parents and three sisters, aunts and nieces, brother-in-laws and nephews, and cousins and a grandmother–I am blessed to have a family to love and to be loved by. I also celebrate the family I have created with Keith and our children, Michael and Alex (Alex always complains that she is listed last, but it is about birth order, kiddo, not importance or affection)!  They are my heart, my joy.

Today I celebrate the gift that is friendship. I have been blessed beyond words with good friends. I have friends who share their lives, their laughter, their struggles, and who walk with me in this journey of life. Friendship has become more and more important to me, and I have learned the value of finding and holding on to good friends!

Today I celebrate the gift that is my job! I always say I have the best job in the world–and a truer statement has never been made! I love what I do. I love the women and men I meet. I love having coffee with students. I love talking on the phone with pastors. I love answering reference calls about ministers-in-search-of-a-position. I love listening to stories, even the heartbreaking ones. I love planning and organizing and thinking of new ways to advocate for women ministers. I love watching what all God is doing in the midst of us!

Today I celebrate the gift that is faith. Some days my faith is in short supply. My questions outnumber my answers. But having now reached the ripe old age of fifty-one, I can look back at my life and see where God has in the past loved me unconditionally and welcomed me into relationship. On my hardest of days, I find comfort and hope from memories of God’s care, and I put my hope in God’s continuing faithfulness. Today I am grateful for a life-long and growing faith.

Today I have much to celebrate! And I am grateful for family and friends, for meaningful work and for faith that sustains! Thanks be to God!

Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.