I never write about my birthday, but I’m going to this year.
I’m turning 40 tomorrow. I’ve now been around the sun 40 times. Four decades. Two score. When you’re a kid, you never think that being an adult will come and then we turn 40 and we’ve been adulting a lot longer then we’ve been kids.
Josiah asked me the other day if it was fun being an adult. I just chuckled and walked away. I remember asking my parents the same thing and they chuckled too.
My 40 years is not what I expected. When I was a kid I wanted to be an opthamologist. I had gone to the eye doctor a lot when I was a kid, so I thought it was a cool job. Then as I got older, I went on mission trips to Belize and lived in Mexico City for a year after high school, and I decided that I would probably live as a missionary in another country teaching English. I went to Croatia and Honduras while I was in college. Then I was home for a summer and started hanging out with my soon to be husband and all ideas of living overseas molded into living in Seattle instead, which was an amazing decision for us.
During my adult life, I have learned that nothing in guaranteed. Something, that sadly, my children have already learned. We can plan and have dreams, but it does not mean that things will go the way we intend.
I have learned that life will bring hurt. Hard hurt. I have learned that it is okay to live with a broken heart. A broken heart does not always heal. It still bleeds. It mends and sometimes those scares break and they bleed again. It’s okay to be broken.
I have learned that my identity is not in what hurt I have experienced, that I am a wonderful housewife or in my ability to parent my children. My identity is not in how many children I have, how many losses I have experienced or that my expectations are not being met.
I have learned that my identity, my safety, my suredness and my hope is only found in one thing. The Gospel. I read Ephesians 1 regularly,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
I have learned, the hard way, that goodness is in the hardness of life. That Jesus’ goodness is in the hardness of life. That when there is muck and pain and dung, Jesus is there and He is good and his lovingkindness endures forever.
I have learned that God is tough. He has big shoulders and He can handle my whys and my ugly cries. He can handle my yells and my anger. He has given me far more than I can handle, but He can handle it, so I don’t need to worry. (Even in the sound of triteness of those words, I cling to Him being able to handle it.)
I have learned that I am more of a wretched sinner each day, and it is only through His amazing grace that I am able to take breath each day. For that I am grateful, even as I long for Home.
Everyone has learned so much about life by the time they are 40. I know that this isn’t new information. I know that it hasn’t just been learned by me, but these are the things that I have been mulling around in my head and 40 causes us to think about our life.
This next year, my only hope is that Jesus will use this broken vessel and this hurting heart for His glory. I know that He is, but I also know that He is not done writing this story.
I guess we’ll see what happens next…