My birthday was this past weekend. And, if I'm honest, I inwardly rolled my eyes at the thought that another year had come and gone. I hold my twenties in high esteem and have such great memories from those years that the thought of reaching the mid point of my thirties is somewhat discouraging. The thirties seem so, well, so old. So middle-of-life and normal. So routine and predictable.
The thirties seem this way to me in my mind, but when I stop and look at life as it's really happening - as I'm really living it - I see that they are actually anything but routine and predictable. I only need to go back a handful of months and reread my blog posts to remember this! I'm not sure why I have the disconnect of thinking one thing but knowing another thing to be true, but I do.
When I reflect on the things I've done, the places I've gone, the people I've met, the lessons I've learned, the blessings I've experienced, the joy I've gained, and the perspective I've established... wow!... I realize that my thirties are something to hold onto and make much of.
This past year alone is enough to remind me that this thing we call "living life" is an unexplainable and unpredictable joyride. I'm grateful that God is in the business of writing my life story and that He is in charge of turning the pages so that I don't need to be overwhelmed or, at times, underwhelmed with how life is happening!
My responsibility is to walk by faith and obedience. And that doesn't mean doing nothing because I'm not sure which thing to do. Faith is active and obedience is active. For that matter, I've learned that times of waiting are even active. Some of my best times of prayer and learning and growth and discernment come from waiting.
This past year, particularly, I've been reminded of several things. Things that changed my perspective, developed my confidence, increased my patience, and enabled my contentment to flourish.
Things like knowing that God isn't concerned about my happiness but instead about my holiness. Whew! There goes any need I feel to complain or compare or feel self-pity.
Or, of knowing that anytime I'm feeling insecure it's a self-imposed identity crisis. Because I'm a blood-bought daughter of the King, I justified, redeemed, and looked upon as righteous. I may not perform my various roles perfectly in light of that, but that doesn't change my identity. What I do or don't do will not change how God see's me: perfect and loved.
Or, of realizing that God never asks me to be successful, just faithful. Mistakes are okay. Mess-ups happen. Faults are a part of life. But it's what I do with those things that matters. Do I let them define me? Do I let the perceptions of others determine my response? Does my attitude depend on my results? God has chosen me and uses me - little, frail, drop-in-the-bucket me - for His plans and purposes and glory. It's never the other way around, and that's extremely freeing when I grab onto it.
Or, of beginning to grasp that God's command to love Him with all of my heart, soul, and strength is a choose-to-do-it-every-moment-of-every-day kind of command. And that being sure I am intentional in every single moment of every single day to teach this to my kids, as well. God promises blessing and protection for obedience and I'm learning that with the privilege of being a mom comes the privilege of ushering my kids into the holy presence of God by teaching them how to know Him, love Him, and serve Him.
So, these are just a few things. A few of the many. Many, many, many.
Thank you to family who lavished me with gifts and calls and words of love. Thank you to friends who hugged and messaged and went out of their way to encourage and laden me with gifts on my day. You are all treasures - instruments of God's greater plan to help bring me closer to Him and to become more like Him.