Without much fuss or fanfare, the sun set tonight on my 30s.
In many ways I can't believe that tomorrow (officially at 2:09 pm) I'll be 40. I so can remember being a child and thinking that 40 was ANCIENT.
That said, I can truly say that I'm not that bothered by entering a new decade in life. Part of the reason is that in my mind I'm still in my younger 30s. Not because of denial, just because I don't think about age that much...as it pertains to me ~ though the age of my kids is an entirely different story.
But I digress...the other reason that 40 isn't really bugging me is because I still vividly remember when I was 11 and my mom turned 40. She helped lead the children's choir at the Lutheran church we attended at the time and some of the other volunteers were ribbing her about being 40. Mom, who was so cool and young and beautiful to me at the time, just laughed a little and said something to the effect of, "Age doesn't define who you are, it just gives a number and I'm celebrating being 40 years young." And that was that. No lamenting her age, no trying to turn back the clock. Now that she is is a few decades beyond that, she totally defies her age. Not by lying about it, but by keeping active to stay young. Case in point, since July of 2011 she has gone to China once (with us) and Honduras twice (on mission trips) and is preparing to go to both countries again before this year is over. Not bad for someone whose oldest child (me) was born when she was 29... So looking at my mom and her example of how to refuse to bow to age, I'm not bothered at all.
What I am is reflective.
Many, many moons ago when the wait from trick-or-treating to Thanksgiving to Christmas seemed an eternity, I remember my mom telling me that as you get older, the years go by faster and faster. Suddenly I see the truth in those words as I look back and realize my adult life has flashed before me at lightning speed.
Was it really over 20 years ago that I graduated high school? Am I now approaching my 20th anniversary of graduating college?
20...my twenties. Most of my 20s centered around *a boy* I met when I was 23...
I look at pictures of us when we got married. I was 26, he was 25.
We thought we were so grown up, but looking back, were were just babes... We had no idea where life was going to take us, just that we'd follow God where ever He chose to lead us.
And then my 30s. Still grateful to walk the road of life with my best friend. But this decade is perhaps best summarized with the following picture.
The decade where a tremendous desire of my heart was granted and I became a mom. Not just once, but five times over. (I realize that only four of my kids may be home, but in my heart I already have five...one just doesn't live under my roof yet). This decade has taught me so much more about the Father's love for us as I see life through the lens of a parent who loves in all situations, at all costs.
And now my 40s are here, just waiting for the canvas to be colored. To say I'm not sure what the painting of this decade looks like is rather true. Will there be more experience as a mother beyond Natalie? Will I find a new career path that puts my passion for the cause of the fatherless to work? Will I find a new calling to homeschool my children? Will a spot as an advocate for children worldwide seeking families come available? Will mission trips to minister to orphans and their caregivers become a yearly part of life?
Right now I just don't know. But I have a sense of excitement to watch these next ten years unfold. With the father at the helm and my best friend by my side, I KNOW that I'm on course for a grand adventure...not without risk...but an adventure for sure.
[Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.] Proverbs 3: 5-6