I love birthdays! Have I mentioned that yet? This whole series might have been a hint. I love new years and new beginnings, and birthdays are just a more personalized opportunity to celebrate how far you've come and dream about where you still hope to go.
This morning I read where Jesus said, "I know where I've come from and where I go next." (John 8:14)
That's the confidence I have today as I close out my twenties. I know where I've come from (God) and I know where I'm going next (forever with God). That's my life--the last thirty years and the next however many years on this earth until forever with Him. Amen.
On this last day in my 20s, I'm sharing where I've been and what I've done and a little of who I've become in the last thirty years. Tomorrow, I'll dream of where I'm headed next. For now, I'm celebrating where God's taken me, in no particular order.
1. Got married. My husband is wild, he is free, he is coyote. And I love him so much.
2. Graduated 8th grade my 7th grade year. I'm not overly smart, just determined.
3. Got my GED. Maybe not your typical moment of pride, but I was working full-time and headed toward college, it felt good to have something to show for my education.
4. Got my bachelor's degree. Not too bad for a high school dropout.
5-7. Had 3 babies. So many words and thoughts and feelings come to mind about them. I love them so.
8. Got to be a stay-at-home-mom. It was always my dream, but in my first 18 months of motherhood I wasn't sure when or if it would happen. Thankful for a supportive husband that doesn't mind a few extra years of near-poverty so I can be our kids' fulltime caregiver.
9. Wrote 3 ebooks and now 4 31-day series. I had to get writing in here somehow. I haven't traditionally published a book, and maybe I never will. But I've still written lots of things I'm proud of and shared the story God's writing in my life.
10. Traveled to the other side of the world. I never flew commercially until that trip. It was all an incredible journey in so many ways.
11. Traveled in the U.S. And I can't discredit the travel we've done in these United States. Gorgeous places to see and memory-making trips with people I love.
12. Moved away from home. Moving out of my parents' home and creating one of my own with Daniel is a milestone worth celebrating.
13. Owned a car. I bought my first car when I was 16. Come to think of it, that's the only car that's been my own.
14. Did public speaking. Since I was incredibly shy as a kid, this is a pretty big deal. Speaking was part of my degree emphasis in college and I love opportunities to share it now.
15. Got paid to write. When I was little I said I wanted to be a secretary, because that involved typing and I was convinced writing wasn't an occupation. Sure, it may not pay consistently well, but I've been paid several times to do what I love and that's a great feeling.
16. Got a tattoo. I never thought I would and didn't think I wanted one. Now I have one for my kids as an Ebenezer, a memorial stone, for the ways God has led, is leading, and will continue to lead in the future. I still plan on two more as meaningful reminders for myself.
17. Had a fulltime job with benefits. It only lasted 18 months. But it got us through the end of college and the beginning of us being a family of 3. I'm thankful for the experience and the provision it gave us.
18. Made meaningful, lifelong friends. I was only in high school for two years, and still I left those two years with two of the best friends a girl could ask for. I've shared all the feels over the years with these two and look forward to a lifetime of calling them friends.
19. Continue making meaningful, lifelong friends. No one prepared me for how hard it would be to make and keep friends as an adult. Still, I look around where I am now and see the beautiful fruits of friendship and am thankful for the effort. I know these will continue to be lasting, meaningful friendships.
20. Surfed. And rock climbed. And rode dirt bikes. And cliff jumped. I'm not very daring or adrenaline-adventurous. But I've done some adventurous things. Maybe not very well, but I had fun doing it.
21. Grew and made memories with my family. Not a lot happened in my early years that feels like an accomplishment to celebrate. Learning to walk and talk and pee in the potty and read all kind of seem irrelevant now. But those early milestones are thanks to the love and care from my dedicated parents, and even my two big brothers and big sister. All our years of memories together have probably had the biggest, most lasting impact on who I am today.
22. Got baptized. I've loved Jesus and have been His since I can remember. It was such a memorable moment to finally make it underwater-official when I was 12.
23. Baby financial steps. Several times in our adulthood we've paid off all consumer debt (student loans are still hanging around), and saved a small emergency fund a la Dave Ramsey. Having a baby or making a move or other life events tends to set us back. But we keep returning to those basic milestones, and I know this is a foundation for better finances ahead... like when I start contributing to our finances.
24. First love, first kiss, first heartbreak. Perfection is in Heaven. Here on Earth I've loved more than one person in my life, I've had many firsts, and I've had a broken heart many times. These were seasons of my life just as real as my current season. There is a season for everything and God has placed eternity in our hearts so we know Heaven is the real gift at the end.
25. Started thinking for myself. This has been a 30-year learning process, and I imagine will continue for years to come. I am a Christian; that doesn't mean I agree with all Christians. I am an Adventist; that doesn't mean I live the same as all Adventists. I am my parents' daughter; that doesn't mean I see everything the same way as them. I'm learning to have thoughts, opinions, and beliefs different from the people around me and be okay with that. My life is between me and God and His approval is all I seek or need.
26. Getting through depression. Charles Spurgeon wrote something like "I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me into the rock of ages." Navigating the ups and downs of my feelings constantly pushes me into Jesus' arms, and I am truly thankful.
27. Started finding myself. That's a term I've heard many times and have mixed emotions over. Still, discovering what lights me up and seeing who God created me to be has been such an important part of my journey. I believe I'm created in His image, and each of these parts of me are a little of Him shining through. I look forward to keep "finding myself," and really just find more of Him.
28. Helping others. Our finances limit how much money we're able to use to help others. But we've still supported causes we've believed, sponsored a child for a few years, volunteered, and even followed a still-small-voice to help people I wouldn't normally notice. So thankful for opportunities to step beyond myself, be the hands and feet of Jesus, and remember life isn't all about me.
29. Adulting. It's not always easy and I don't always love it. And yet, here I am, 11 years in with many more ahead. Bring on more bills and budgeting and scheduling doctors appointments and chauffeuring kids and voting and eating ice cream too late at night because I can.
30. Life. I've lived and learned a lot in the last thirty years, and still have a lot of life yet to live. It's all worth celebrating.
What milestones are you celebrating in your life?
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