I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22! Except I’m not…I’m going to be 37 on Saturday. How did this happen?
I often DO still feel like that 22 year old: bright eyed, full of adventure, excited with dreams, and ready to take on the world. I also often feel like an 80 year-old woman who just wants to sleep all.day.long. I also sometimes feel like the frightened 14-year old, unsure of herself and insecure. This is what being in the middle feels like.
I always heard that sometime in your 30s, you learn who you really are and you stop caring about what people think. I guess that is somewhat true. I still care too much what people think, but I am growing closer and closer to caring less and less. I have learned who I am, but people change, so I have to learn and re-learn who I am and who I am created to be in each season of life. Learning ourselves is a process.
(An 80s tastic picture of me at 3-ish)
It is even more of a process when doing life with someone else. My husband changes too and I have to learn and re-learn who he is. I have to fall out and in love again with this man I committed myself to, this gift from God. I’ve learned to not fear the process. It never gets boring and it’s always familiar. I am thankful he still makes me swoon.
When I was young, I never pictured my life at 37. I was actually convinced I would die young-that the Lord would take me early-because I couldn’t picture my life the way others seemed to easily dream up their futures. To me, it looked like an unfathomable blank space.
Yet, here I am. Wife, mom, missionary, writer. Fifteen years ago, I never thought I’d still be on staff with Cru. Five years ago, I never thought I’d re-kindle my love and dream of writing. Life takes unexpected turns and I am learning to glory in the mundane and celebrate what calls for celebration. The God who writes my story is a God who loves fiercely and holds my life in his sovereign hands. He can be trusted. 10 years ago, I wasn’t so sure of that, but now I am.
(awkward theater nerd teenage April)
In my 30s I’ve learned that I really do have a control issue. My fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants personality led me to believe I didn’t. Then I became a mom. I spent nights lying awake, fearing my children wouldn’t wake up in the morning. I’ve hovered over my children at the playground and followed them around the house to make sure they don’t get into anything they shouldn’t.
I silently believed I had some semblance of control. Then my second was born. In a matter of seconds, that kid can get into trouble. He has eaten Tums, crayons, markers, and licked poo-pouri off the bottle (I don’t blame him; it smells delicious.) None of these harmed him, but he ended up in the hospital with an infection that no person could have controlled or stopped. But, God is in control even when I am not and I’ve learned he loves my children even more than I do. That still seems crazy to me because my gut literally feels like it will fall out with love. I would die for my kids-he already did.
So, the other day, when my newly turned six year old informed me that she wanted me to leave her at the gate, as opposed to walking her all the way to her school, I died a little inside, but I let her have her independence. It’s amazing how 10 feet can feel like 10 miles.
(In my fabulous late 20s when these two kids were dating)
I realized that having kids is hard-you do lose a bit of yourself, but then you find more of yourself when you start getting sleep again. I’ve learned you are never too old to dream, or learn a new skill, or to fangirl over celebrities.
On Saturday, I will be 37. I still have much to learn. I am looking forward to 40 more each day. In my 30s, it has become clearer to me that I am not guaranteed another day.
I am thankful for my story-that God found me, a little Pharisee, and pulled me put of the pit; that he used my suffering to help and encourage others; that he’s given me gifts to celebrate and with which to be sanctified; that he’s not done writing my story.
To Him be the glory.
(Here comes 37! Photo by Emma Frances Logan)
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