Yesterday was my birthday. It was fun in a number of ways. Bradley brought me coffee in bed AND got breakfast ready for the whole family. The kids helped him wrap my gifts and it was so fun to watch their excitement over celebrating Mommy. The ladies in my community group took me out for a much-needed girl time lunch. We ended the day with having some friends over for a fish taco dinner. It was truly a great birthday.
For some reason, though, turning 34 has been hard. 30 wasn’t really a big deal for me; that just felt like another year. But THIRTY FOUR. I’m officially in my mid-thirties, which seems a lot closer to 40 than, say, thirty three.
Many of you are probably laughing at this because you’re much older than I, and 34 seems like just the beginning. And in many ways it is. But, I have seriously struggled with this number. I feel older. My back gives out periodically. It hurts to get up off of the floor. I see crows feet IN ABUNDANCE around my eyes. And let’s not even start to talk about what birthing five babies has done to my bladder.
My twenties were marked by decisions. Big ones like a college major, moving overseas, buying my first car, getting married, having babies. And God used those decisions to work a lot of change in my life.
If my twenties were marked by decisions, then my thirties are proving to be a decade of discovery. Little quirky ones and bigger soul ones.
I’ve discovered that I like mustard, lattes, fish tacos, and guacamole. I like wearing slippers around the house. Land’s End is my favorite clothing store and I’m slowly building my wardrobe one clearance item at a time. I like having long hair and it’s longer right now than it’s ever been in my life. I enjoy painting my nails and wearing sundresses. If I could spend an entire day alone I would spend it writing, thinking, and reading.
My thirties have also brought about deeper discoveries. I thought I was a pretty good girl: I had my act together, I knew a lot about the Bible, I never doubted God’s goodness and grace. Now I realize that I never had it together, I feel more ignorant than ever and some days trusting God is a serious wrestling match in my heart.
I’ve discovered much about loss. Death, shattered dreams, unfulfilled expectations, and daily interruptions. Each one is a loss that causes grief to different extremes. Grief is real. It’s painful and inconvenient. It resurfaces when I least expect it. And depending on the significance of the loss, grieving is something that will last for the rest of my life.
I’ve discovered just how wretched a sinner I am. For much of my life I’ve lived under the assumption that getting older would equal becoming more holy. But, in fact, the more I grow in Christ, the more I realize just how imperfect I am. Instead of seeing less sin, I see more sin, and I see it more often.
Before having children I had an idea of what I’d be like as a Mom. Now, seven years in, and I’m grossly aware of the fact that the Mom that I am and the Mom that I would like to be are two very different people. I have a long way to go.
And so, maybe the greatest discovery in each of these is just how much I need Jesus.
Knowing Him, trusting Him, loving Him, and obeying Him. These are gifts of grace that I pray will become more precious with each passing day.
Here’s to 34.
To knowing Jesus more intimately. To trusting Him more completely. To loving Him more fully. To obeying Him more diligently.