One of my birthday wishes was for a picture of these six. I am most thankful to say that it along with all my other birthday wishes were granted this year.
I realize I am in the minority, but I was thrilled to turn 40. A fresh new decade sounds wonderful to me.
My 30's were filled with both the best of times and the worst of times. In many ways, I feel as though I found myself during my 30's.
"Finding yourself" is hard work.
It is costly and heartbreaking and exhausting.
It is exhilarating and empowering and comforting.
During my 30's we built 2 homes. We grew our business and moved it 3 times. We added 2 children to our family. We traveled internationally many times. God changed our hearts forever in many areas - mission, service, adoption, following at all costs. Our oldest "flew the coop." I tried out a couple of full time jobs.
It has been a decade of huge changes.
Those changes have been hard, gut-wrenching, scary, and AWESOME!
As I begin this new decade I feel as though I have come full circle in some ways. I am once again mothering full time. Sure I work for Chad, but my number one responsibility is to care for our family. To me that is freedom. That is who God created me to be. It feels good to be doing what I was made to do. It also feels good to know who I am with certainty. There may come a day when I need to work full time again. If that is the case, I will be OK with it. However, I now know that those jobs will be only for a season. Home is where I am called to be. It is where I am the very best me.
On the flip side, in other areas I feel a bit lost.
In the last year, God has made it clear to Chad and I that we should leave our church of 20+ years. That was HARD and scary and lonely. Although we feel spiritually free, we miss the feeling of comfort and security that worshiping with our long-time friends created. A huge part of my identity was tied up in that building. Leaving it has made me realize just how important it is that my identity is in Christ, not in a building, a group of friends, or tradition. We are not 100% sure where God is leading with all of this, but we are 100% sure that He is leading. Submitting to His leadership has been so freeing.
Leaving both my job and my life-long church has caused me to find out just who my friends are. My circle of support has changed. I am in awe at just how God has connected me with people. The friendships that He has supplied have steadied me, encouraged me, and challenged me during a very difficult season.
God has called me to mission. A part of my heart resides in Ethiopia, but leaving our church has changed the involvement I can have to a program that had been a dream of mine. Though He gave that dream wings, He also asked me to trust Him with it. While I DO trust Him completely, I miss being involved in the thick of it. While my involvement has not completely ended it, it has changed. That change has left a void. I am peaceful that if it is His will, He will open doors for me to serve in Ethiopia again. I also long to see His will - waiting is not my strong suit!
While I have (almost) always felt like a competent mother, mothering an adult child has been challenging. It has caused doubts, confusion, and worry unlike I have experienced during other stages of parenting. This next season will be an incredible season of learning and growth for me as I navigate parenting adult children, teens, elementary-age Joshua, and baby Mataya. I will have every age and stage imaginable! That is both exciting and terrifying! Proms, potty training, graduations, grandchildren, weddings, and t-ball will more than likely all meld together to create my daily schedule! What an amazing time it will be!
40. . .
it feels like a fresh start,
a new beginning,
and homecoming all rolled into one.
I look forward to the lessons and directions God has in store for me and my family during this next decade!
I am thankful for the knowledge that He is always faithful, always in control, and He always has a plan. He is enough.