This week I turned
the dirty, dreaded, delightful, 30. Why do we put labels on these birthdays? To psych ourselves out? I have been putting the second D, “Dreaded” on my #30 since I can remember! But, this week I woke up with a whole different perspective. 30 will do that to you 😉
It all started when I was 12. I can’t remember what I was wearing, or where we were… I just VIVIDLY remember my mother. It was her 30th Birthday, and she was, (how do I put this nicely?) losing her marbles! 30 was the number she had been dreading and I remember sitting with her, mascara running down her face.. sobbing. As a pre-teen… THIS TERRIFIED ME! I thought… “30 seems like Forever away, I’ll be so ooooollllddd, I DON’T WANT TO BE OLD!”. Ever since that moment, I was setting myself up for inevitable doom.
Fast forward 13 years. I was turning 25! This was the peak for me. I had always had the goal of “by 25 I want to be married and have my first kid”, and I achieved that (Barely). But I kept thinking I only have 5 more years until I turn 30! OH NOOOOO!!! Does this mean that my boobs will sag and I will be a gray- haired crank monster? From that day on, for the next 4 birthday’s I had that lingering DOOM.
So here we are. This week I woke up to 18 years of dreaded doom. I may have a few aches in the bones sometimes, and my boobs.. well… let’s just say they hang where they should after nursing 2 babies. haha! BUT to my surprise, I don’t magically have a head full of grey hairs, and I don’t have a huge neon sign on my forehead that says, “THIS OLD BAG IS 30!”
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
Proverbs 16:31 ESV
Instead, I woke up to my amazing husband, who may or may not have gave me a bum grab first thing, and two perfect kiddos rushing in to say “-APPY BIRFDAY MOMMMMMMYYYYY!”. AND the best part of waking up was I realized that the truth is, I am TRULY happy with where my life is right now! So I decided to challenge myself to remember and celebrate the Blessings that I have had in the last 30 years!
1. My number 1 blessing is the Lord. The Lord has truly blessed me throughout my life. Even moments when I couldn’t see it, he has always been there: guiding, teaching, and supporting me. People may ask, “How do you know God is in your life?”. And I would respond… Because I know what my life was like without him, and I know my life with him. There have been moments where I walked away from his presence, but I know feel like with him in my life… I can truly see the blessings he has graciously given me.
In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
2. My husband. The last 5 years of my life have been FILLED with so much love. God unexpectedly brought him into my life and ever since then my life has changed enormously. He is my strength when I am at my weakest moments and he is my right hand, by my side in every amazing stride. Someday’s I feel like my story didn’t start until I met him.
3. My firstborn, Z. He is the vibrant 4 year old. He is curious, and imaginative.. just like his momma. He is sooo smart, and until the moment he was born, I wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do with my life. But at that moment I knew my purpose. My purpose here on Earth is to be a mother. To nurture, love, and teach our children to become a shining light in the world. And I have no doubt he will do just that.
4. Our second child, M. She is a short 22 months younger than Big Brother. Full of spunk, loving kindness, and pink glitter. She is all girl with a splash of dirt on her hands. I love that about her. She teaches me everyday that being a “perfect” all the time isn’t necessary. Life is all about being comfortable in my own skin, and embracing every moment, even the little ones.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
5. My parents. All of them! I have so many people who have come together to help me grow up. First and foremost, my Mother and Father. And then down the road came my Step Mom, grandparents, pastors, etc.. They all helped shape and mold me. I love each of them differently, but so immensely.
6. Bravery. Being brave is not something I am always good at, however, I have learned to wear my big girl panties and take leaps even when I am uncomfortable. It is not easy for me to really put myself out there, especially when I have been burned so many times, and have a self-esteem deficiency. But I am learning, and everyday I learn to be more brave and understand that I can only grow more out of experiences, good or bad.
7. Knowledge. I just had this conversation with my 4 year old. We never stop learning. No matter how old we are. We learn from books, but we also learn from experiences. I have had MANY experiences in my life, some not as easy as others, but I wouldn’t trade those for anything. They helped to give me the spirit I have. Each moment brought me a step closer to who I am today.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Psalm 92:12-15 ESV
8. Death. Yes, death is also a blessing. It can teach us the reason behind why we need to live each moment as if its our last. Sieze the day. Throughout my 30 years I have lost family and friends. Some still sting, and some I have learned to rejoice in. We will always have questions as to why things happen, but I have learned some things just can’t be explained. We just have to embrace the knowledge that the Lord has greater plans for us.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,
10. My job. I have had many jobs, from working in a bowling alley to my now job at the church. Each one bringing me a step closer to my true calling. Sometimes I get down and out about how I’m not really using my degree.. but the truth is, If I can bring just one child closer our Savior, what could possibly be a greater accomplishment?
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV
11. Sometimes a glass of wine at the end of the day is all you need to wash it away. After having a long day, you just have to realize that it is part of the ride, and even if its one after another, it WILL get better and there will be resolve. So have a glass of wine and take a deep breathe, because tomorrow is a new day full of just as many blessings as the day before. You just have to dust off the bad moments to notice them.
12. Rewriting history. I love that over the last 30 years I have made many mistakes, but I also have had the chance to learn from them. Literally rewriting my story is impossible, I know this, but it really makes a huge difference in moving forward when I am able to come to be OK about not being perfect, learn from my mistake, right my wrongs, and more forward. I guess the phrase is “Second Chances” and “Forgiveness”. They are true blessings.
13. Travel is like fuel for the heart. I have traveled to many places over my life. Between places in the US, as well as word-wide. I have learned SOOO many things from people and places all over. Values, what is important in life, self-worth, as well as awareness. I have seen some tough things, and embraced some amazing spiritual defenses. Every day that passes I remind myself of those faces, and I move forward with them carried in my heart.
14. Rain is a beautiful thing. The other week I was by myself one evening. The kids were asleep, and the hubby was away for work. I had had a rough week, and I was sitting out on the covered deck. It started to rain, and I mean… intense downpour. I had the overwhelming urge to walk out of the covered porch on the open deck. So I did. I don’t think I have ever truly intentionally stood in the rain before. It gave me a overwhelming feeling of washing all the negative away. I felt uplifted and rejuvenated. I felt small in that moment, but I knew that God was around me and his big presence told me, “everything will be ok”. I knew in those moments, while my eyes were closed, and I could feel the rain on my skin… that life was changing, but that I just needed to allow myself to FEEL each moment.
15. Embracing Fears. I have had some crazy fears over my life. Some of which are normal, and some I think are all my own. For example, Trains. Since I was a pre-teen I had this fear of trains. They are loud, and fast, and scary! I However, once I went to college, the train was my only way home sometimes! The fist time I stepped on the train I felt sick and had the fear sweats the entire 90 mins. But after a few more trips, I learned to overcome this. And eventually the train trips became something I looked forward to! I would spend the time reflecting and to my surprise, relaxing! So basically what I am saying is… don’t let your fears get in the way of an amazing experience. The trick is, you have to try it to conquer it.
16.Chocolate. Because on the best of days, or the worst of days chocolate can put a smile on my face!
17. Those pants that I had in the back of my closet haven’t fit me for 4 years… they aren’t going to fit in the next 4 to come. I have always had this distorted version of my wardrobe. Instead of focusing how the now, I was always wishing for the then. WHY? So this last month I tossed away anything I haven’t worn in the last 6 months. I always held onto them as a ugly reminder of how my body USED to look with the hopes that it will look that way again, and the reality is it might not ever. AND THAT IS OK! I am learning to embrace this new shell, and every day I get closer to feeling beautiful.
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
18. A broken family. My mom and dad divorced when I was a little over 15 years old, and that transition was probably one of the hardest in my life. But it really taught me life lessons once I was grown and could see version thru adult eyes. It has helped my husband and I to shape our marriage into what we want, and what we don’t want. It may have been one of my weakest moments, but I truly felt it had its purpose.
19. Shake it off! When times are tough you just have to do as Taylor Swift says. SHAKE IT OFF. Because there will always be “haters who gonna hate”.
20. Life is precious, and life is hard, but when you let GOD into your heart: LIFE IS AMAZING. Some people say that “things happen for a reason” and “God has a plan”. I don’t agree… not completely. I feel like the God I know, wouldn’t create a plan that existed strictly for us to fail. He doesn’t put us in situations where we feel heartache and sadness. He is our Father, and doesn’t want us to hurt. That being said, I do believe things happen for a reason. God puts us in a life story that he knows we can handle. He does it to strengthen us. For the same reason that he didn’t take Moses out of Egypt on a magic rainbow so he could forever life in a safe place happy as a clam. Moses had to FIGHT for his freedom, and with God’s help, he overcame his life’s trials. The same is for myself, and you. God placed me with a broken family, with a Mother who is disabled, with a past full of trials… because he knew that my strength would only turn those things around into something good. I put my faith in him, and learned from each of these and he in turn made the anger, heartache, and disappointment into something beautiful. Without these experiences I wouldn’t be blessed with patience, kindness, or faithfulness. The blessings make me into a better friend, wife, mother, and youth leader. These are my callings, and I am blessed with the tools I need.
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl..
Deuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV
So to sum it up. I AM BLESSED. My 30 years have groomed me to be a strong woman of God, who truly has learned to find the happiness in every situation. I couldn’t be more grateful for the faith God has put in me! That carries me through the next 30+ years. 30 looks good on me, and FEELS good on me! Yes, I am not looking forward to the 5 more gray hairs that will replace the one I just pulled, but I am looking forward to being able to look back and say, “I am blessed.”