Last night I had a dream that Brad and I, along with a few friends of ours, were eating lunch and we were surrounded by teenagers. We were talking but no one could hear us; we could only hear each other. It seemed like we were invisible. Suddenly it dawned on me and I was devastated: We were middle aged and the young people didn't care a thing about us. We had entered into the age that I thought was old when I was a teenager: our mid-thirties. Horror of horrors!
This is me, and I am Not middle age, thank you very much! 33 is the new 23, in case you hadn't heard. Now you have.
Today I turned 33. I haven't actually been around any teenagers today, but I'm fairly sure they would still talk to me (although they might think I was old and a dork who knows nothing). I don't actually think I am middle-aged either, but it was a funny dream to have the night before awaking to a mid-thirties birthday. I look back to when I was 16 and remember thinking my youth pastor and his wife were so much older than me. They were in their very early 20's. Babies! Ah, perspective.
I'm sitting here reflecting on the past year...the past decade! The past year has included two of the hardest seasons of my life, hands down. And yet, it's been one of the richest years, full of growth and love and laughter. When I turned 32, I was a few months pregnant with Isabella, struggling to take care of two toddlers while wanting to puke my guts out. That was easy compared to what was coming. Most difficult season #1: The 9 weeks following Isabella's birth. Coming home only to stay isolated in the bedroom with the baby, while my big girls fought RSV and pneumonia without me. Dealing with three sinus infections one after another (or maybe the same one rearing it's hideous head over and over again). Sleepless nights to top off the illnesses, and I was a wreck, both physically and mentally. Every day, I thought I couldn't handle another day like the previous...and every day the Lord would carry me through another equally difficult one.
Difficult season #2: We moved out of our rental 11 weeks ago, thinking we'd have a purchased home to move into fairly quickly. WRONG! We are still living out of suitcases in other people's homes. Don't get me wrong, I know we are blessed! To have such amazing church family taking us in and storing our stuff for this long is the single most poignant display I've personally ever seen of how Christ intended for his body of believers to act, to care for one another. To be the recipient merrily makes Brad and I hungry to do the same for others when opportunities arise in the future. It's just beautiful. That said, it's been H.A.R.D.
I'll spare the details. The good news is, we should be moving into our new house in the next two weeks!!!!!!!
As I was reflecting on where I was a decade ago, my first reaction could be to shudder and crawl down the humiliating road of shame and guilt. But I don't. Instead, I praise God for carrying me when I turned on Him. I was recently telling some friends stories from way back then...stories of putting myself in situations where I could've been raped, killed in an accident, poisoned by the volume of alcohol I'd chug down every night. Pregnant, homeless. The list of possibilities are endless. And yet, here I am. By grace, here I am.
I was thinking about the part of the poem "Footprints", and though I'm probably taking it out of context of what the poem means, I thought about my life and that poem. If I was looking at where there were two sets of footprints in the sand, it would be where I was walking with God, in my childhood and teenage years, and now. But somewhere in the middle, a decade ago, I would only see one set of footprints. Some people would say I turned my back on God and walked alone. But I say, I know, even though I tried to walk away, He was holding me, carrying me. He never lets go.
He had a plan for me and loved me when I didn't care one bit. It's unimaginable.
He knew there was a good man for me to marry. Three beautiful daughter's to be had. Friends to bless and be blessed by. Parents and siblings to rekindle relationships with. And many years of walking with Him, my Savior, my friend. When I'm fearful for tomorrow, I remember His faithfulness, and I know he has a plan and is holding me in His hand...walking with me on my good days and carrying me through my worst days.
Here's to 33! Praying I grow in faith and in the fruit of the Spirit this year.
Thank you to my hubby and family and friends who have already made today a special day...and it's only early afternoon!:)
(Guys, I looove birthdays...mine, yours, everyone's! I just love them.)
(Izzie happens to share her half birthday with me today! How in the world is my baby already half way to turning 1????? Pleeease slow down!)