Another Year to Grow

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There comes a time when another birthday rolls around and it almost feels like just another day- except some extra love from your favorite people. Unless your husband posts on your social media for everyone to share something meaningful about you on that particular day, in which you feel all sorts of gratitude plus overwhelmingness of the very many dear and extra encouraging responses. After almost 16 years of marriage the man gets what means most to my heart. We had plans to go out for sushi but with some unexpected change of plans I got to celebrate with my sister and family instead. It wasn’t sushi but having family around was definitely better! (Although I’m still hoping for sushi haha).

I’m a rather reflective person. I like to take time to think, analyze and make connections to things in my life. Some years don’t feel much different, sometimes a few of them get jumbled up together and the edges are blurred into a mass of diapers, sippy cups and crusted Cheerios stuck to everything.

Some years reveal discontentment and unhappiness. Some years are really amazing and successful. While some break you apart and reveal who you are (or not) at the core. I’ve had all those in various seasons of my life. I can pinpoint times where I finally felt like an adult, times when I was getting somewhere in life, times where I felt in my role, and then times I didn’t know who I was, times when I wasn’t so sure of the faith I always said I believed. Many times when I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought and how big of a mess I was. And then the time I decided to say yes to something that scared the pants off of me. All of these different ages and stages experienced me, the trials and triumphs grew and matured me. I can remember saying such and such a year was the hardest year of my life and then I overcame it, until another challenging year occurred. And they really were hard for me, at that time, in that season. “Well I’m sure glad that was over!” Until a new one comes up, looking much different than any other. This one is so foreign to me. I’ve not walked this path before. I don’t know how to go through this process because it’s unlike anything I knew before. Yet I know God is faithful, and I could rely on His strength. All I could do was throw my hands up, praise my maker and say “I trust you Lord” because He knows far beyond what my mind could see. And if He set this boat in motion and brought me to this place He for sure wasn’t going to leave me without the oars!

I’ve learned much about continuing to take those baby steps forward when you don’t know the plan or the timing. All I got was the pretty picture in my head and an insatiable feeling in my soul, but I don’t know the details! It is always painstakingly longer than I would wish. However the end result is always far better than I would’ve decided.

Last year was my most challenging year. I had spent the few years prior understanding and acquainting myself with my identity. And then our whole life was picked up and moved. What great timing! Everything in my life changed and I had to take what I knew, all my experiences, my family and my faith and find home in a new land. Holding tightly to what I knew was true in my heart, hanging onto that dream that we had bursting within and taking each step by faith.

Sometimes things don’t look like we envisioned them to be. Actually most times the reality is far from the romantic version in our imaginations. Cmon, I have no running water and an outhouse! I would have NEVER thought this would be a part of my life. But here I am. Mid thirties, a happy wife with a camper full of boys with a few more gray hairs and extra laugh lines (lets be real, some cry lines too). Living this crazy adventure with my man tribe.

So I think back on all those years before this, and wonder were they all in preparation for now? For the direction I am heading next, for all that I’ll experience this year? Perhaps. It all accounts for something- the good, the bad and the ugly. It shapes me in one way or another depending how I choose to see it. But Christ defines me and in that I can stay the course and keep on the right trail.

I might not know all the details of what’s up ahead, but I keep getting glimpses just over the horizon. So I keep pressing on. Eyes fixed on the light. One step at a time. Breathe and step. Trudging up that hill when I feel the burn in my chest. Pushing forward when I just want to stop and find the easier route, the quicker way. But knowing there is reward through the perseverance, and knowing my Father has good good plans for me and my brood I take the next step onward. Chances are I might say this year will be hard too. But even in the challenging I find that joy is also there. The hurts hurt but the good glories, and it glories oh so good. And it’s worth it. I’m thankful for this new season, I’m expectant to see more of our dream unfold. I’m eager to grow and be grown in all of the ways. Here’s to big ol’ thirty-six.

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