Today marks the 19th anniversary of my second open heart surgery. I remain on a spiritual pilgrimage to assess my life, express my truth and accept all that I am. The number 19 is remarkable and it carries a colossal message. 19 symbolizes surrender. 19 signifies perfect order and completion. My spirit is shifting in this very moment as I type the words.

19 years ago, my life was upended. I confronted my mortality and had to mentally prepare for a life beyond this human existence. As the shadow of doubt and death surrounded me, I found comfort in knowing I had a plan. As I traveled through the wilderness, when the pain overwhelmed me and I asked to depart this realm, I heard “not yet.” Nineteen years later, through every tear and trial “not yet” reverberates through my mind, body and soul.

I have been asked often why I celebrate my surgical anniversary. My answer remains the same. I commemorate this day because I am still here to tell my story. My voice is required. I serve a full course meal of reality with sides of hope, perseverance and faith. On this 19th anniversary, my year of transformation, I have surrendered my will. I understand that all things happen according to God’s anointed time, not mine. I acknowledge and hereby accept the perfect order that supersede my wants and expectations. Honestly, I had to cogitate on this one. Perfect order? I wrestled with this message for months. I concluded that all of my experiences went according to the blueprint of my life. They were intentionally conceived for me to travel this unique journey I am on. The pungent smell of illness, disappointment, and deferred dreams, the saccharine triumphs and successes and the mundane ebbs and flows of life were definitive of me. They are the sum total of all I have become. As Jeremiah 29:11 so clearly states “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” On this 19th anniversary, I can avow that all things are occurring according to plan in perfect order. I revel in completion. Thus far I have fulfilled all I have been tasked with. I discern that what I perceived as premature was actually the completion of a season. As I move into another year of life and new beginnings, I leave with gratitude knowing that all things are working for my good.

At this very moment, I am grateful and eager to continue this journey. My faith reminds me to give thanks in the midst of turmoil and sorrow. Open heart surgery broke my heart and saved it simultaneously. It afforded me a new beginning confirming that my life is divine by design. I’ve been ordained with the privilege of purpose and I will never take that for granted.

I continue to fight for my life. I confront and slay the proverbial Goliaths one day at a time. Every day is different and many of them are difficult. The moments of joy and satisfaction sustain me. I am learning to find the sweet spots in my life amid the devastation that can sometimes accompany it. I have many blessings to count. My husband, family and friends are the greatest. I will carry on until my labor on earth is complete. God is the finisher of my faith and my rewards are boundless. Happy 19th to me. A change is coming.