August 28th is a big day for me this year.
I’m turning 35.
Some of you are thinking, “oh…you’re still so young!” And probably some of you are thinking, “oh, I hope I’m so fun when I’m 35!” (I’m actually just really hoping some of you are thinking that second one! LOL) And me….I’m thinking… “Wow…that happened fast!”
For real….that happened fast!
Because I distinctly remember taking this picture with my sister and Rebecca Kirkland when I was probably 12. And just before my mom snapped it, I looked at my sister and said, “Do I look 16?”… with all the assurance in the world that I looked at least 17.
I would be the hottie on the far left in what appears to be a dress more likely on someone who is 71 than 17. Rebecca was really rocking the Nefertiti looking gold collar, and my sister would be the Joker look alike in the green bridesmaids dress…at least she had the wherewithall to rock a red lip.
But somehow, I passed 16, and then went to college. And I graduated and then had a few jobs while I tried to find myself I guess. What I found was that I wasn’t sure what I wanted, and if I’m honest…even knew too much of who I was.
I heard something a few years back that said that women really begin to finally fit into our skin…to know who we are…and to walk in our callings round about mid-thirties. And while it’s odd to find myself now solidly ensconced in the “mid” part of my 30′s, I’d have to say that for me, that’s pretty true.
Because 10 years ago, I was just getting married with all the hopes and dreams of a perfect family and the notion that the main difference from singleness was that my best friend would always be around, and I’d have sex everyday for the rest of my life. And 8 years ago I was pregnant and obliviously happy with what I’d say was a pretty easy ride, and a life shaping up about like I’d expected. And then about 6 years ago, I was slammed in the face with loss….and after that more loss…and then struggle, and more struggle. And then another baby, and then a season of rest and growth. And suddenly out of nowhere, I entered a season of surprises from the Lord…and those surprises grew and grew and the doors kept opening and opening as I kept walking curiously through them. Then more loss….the hard ugly kind, and lots of questions and lots of wrestling, but at the same time still…more blessing too.
And so it keeps going on…loss and blessing, struggle and rest….the seasons keep changing, the wrinkles they’re a coming, and somewhere in the midst of it all, I found God in ways I never have before. And in finding Him like that, I actually found me.
I learned that the best things in this life, are the things I never could have guessed, the surprises I didn’t have the guts to dream, and the things I never knew that I could love the way that I do.
And I hope that the lesson that the Lord has been teaching me this year is the one that defines the rest of my life….
Love, and live, and be thankful…to whoever I’m with, wherever I am. To pour out more than I think that I can. To breathe life and to enjoy it.
For my birthday this year, I just want the people. I want the random drop-bys of friends who love me. I want life to happen with people alongside me, in the midst of heaps of laundry. I want to pour into community, and pour out blessing. I want to redefine what it looks like to be authentically and biblically hospitable, and as a result love people like I never have before. I want the people…the friendships…the relationships…the partnerships…I want the fullness that comes from loving well.
While I’m still pretty stoked about a little birthday money from my Nanny to do something for this tired mama, the stuff I really want….the stuff I really love…it just doesn’t have any pricetag and can’t be easily accomplished. The stuff I’m loving most, is the stuff I’m learning, and the life I’m just living.
So, while 35 used to freak me out, I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m just finally figuring out how to get started.