Last Thursday was Sophie’s 30th week celebration!
Turning 30 was a significant age for me and I really wanted to make it special for Sophie and yet in the midst of the fullness of life didn’t quite have time to put together what I had really wanted to do which was make a 30 things to do list for her. Amazing how the Lord cares about the little details of our lives, because Adrienne, my close friend, teammate and bridesmaid in our wedding had left us with a gift for Sophie for her 30th week. And when we opened it she had put together a 30 in 30 list, complete with many of the supplies we may need for that! (We’ve realized however this week that we’re going to have to make it a 30 in her 30’s list to get it done 🙂 ).
One of the other things I had wanted to do was read to Sophie something I had written when I turned 30. I’m sure some of you have already read it from when I posted it on facebook 4 years ago. One of the reasons I love writing is to build my own altar of remembrance so I don’t forget what God has done and what truths He has been rooting in my heart. So, I sat down Thursday night and read to Sophie what I had written, through tears as I never would have thought what continuing to hold fast to the things God had placed on my heart years ago would mean for me now. The truths He teaches us in different seasons in life always carry over and provide the foundation for the next. So here’s what I wrote March 29, 2009 on my 30th birthday and read to Sophie on her 30th week of life.
I’ve been thinking about this day for awhile as I’ve watched friends enter this new decade of life and as I’ve thought of the cultural norms for how our society says we “should” look at turning 30. To be honest, where my life is today is not anywhere near where I thought it would be. The biggest expectation being marriage. Not only did I think that by age 30 I’d be married, but I also was under the impression when I was younger that I would most likely have a child or two. My husband would be doing the things that come less naturally for me, keeping track of the finances, our car or cars and leading us in what the next step is for our lives. None of these things are even remotely true. There isn’t even a man in my life to think that the potential of that is coming anytime soon.
Several years ago, however, I was reflecting on what I hoped and prayed I would be like if the things I thought I desired the most weren’t true as I turned 30. I started to think that even if I had what I thought I really wanted at age 30, there would always be something else that I was longing for beyond that: a bigger house, a new car, children who behaved more, more time to myself. So, I distinctly remember at age 23 praying that when I turned whatever that age was where expectations of my life were different than reality, that I would be able to not just be thankful but to embrace and enjoy the years the Lord has given me. To rest in what I have and not what I don’t have.
So, this past year I’ve been preparing my mind and my heart to enter my 30’s in celebration of where God has taken my life. It may be a silly thing, but I didn’t want disappointment and sadness to rule or even take hold this year. That I would live out, at least for this year, what a wise man named Solomon said about wise women: “she laughs at the days to come”.
Last year, when I turned 29, I began to think “As I grow old what will it take to change my way of thinking from fear of aging to excitement?” So, I started to process with the Lord and found myself saying “Lord, one more year you give me is another year to invest my life in people and celebrate that more will know you and trust you through my life… this is what will excite me most to grow old” I asked the Lord then, in celebration of turning 30 that He would give me the privilege of getting to see first hand 30 people place their faith in Jesus, trusting Him for the forgiveness of their sins and entering into a personal relationship with their Creator for the first time. Only the Lord can move someone’s heart to trust Him, I only can show people how so I knew that everytime I saw someone actually trust Him would be His gift to me! And guess what… This year I’ve seen 32 people indicate decisions for Christ! Every single one the Lord reminded me was His gift to me to open their eyes in front of me that I would get to see them go from death to life.
I’ve been reflecting this week on where the Lord has taken me in just 30 years and I am amazed. The other day I tried to think of a list of 30 of the most influential people in my life who have been a part of shaping who I am today… there were over 40! I can’t believe the fullness of life and hope and joy the Lord has given me at such a young age. The opportunity to travel to over 15 different countries, bringing the hope of Christ and investing in people’s lives all over the world. The chance to disciple students at Miami, in the Netherlands, Macedonia, and countless other students from campus’s across America.
As the Lord has fixed my eyes on Him and what He’s done with my life it has been easy to celebrate! I pray that continues as I move up the age bracket, that I would have a spirit of celebration, laughter at the wrinkles, hope at the days to come (whatever those days bring, joy or sorrow). I continue to hope and pray that the desires of my heart for marriage, children come true… But, more than that I think I’m realizing the reality that our lives are “but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” The more I grasp the reality of that, the more I want my life to be about His dreams for me and not my own, for He created me and knows me better than I know myself… and His plans for my life are far greater than my own.
So, though there are dreams that haven’t been realized at age 30, there are so many greater things God has done in and through my life that I don’t think I would have ever even dared to dream or could have come up with on my own. He has done in my life already “exceedingly, abundantly, beyond what I could ever hope or dream of.” Let the next 30, 40, 50 even 60 years of my life draw me closer to my Savior, the only one who is worth my life, and let more of Christ radiate through my life into the lives of others! “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” Phil.1:21″