Turning 40

I turn 40 on Saturday.

40?? Say it ain't so!

40?? Say it ain’t so!

Depending on your age, that may be REALLY old or quite young. I am quickly shifting into the latter category :). Milestone birthdays tend to make me reflective — like a New Year’s Day on steroids. I look back over the last decade, or two in this case, and think about the one to come.

I went into each of the last two decades with specific plans and dreams, and God laughed. Silly girl! His plans, though sometimes more difficult, were always better, and never, ever what I expected. (note: the hyperlinks in here are to previous posts)

When I turned 20, I was dating Dave. We were fairly serious. I knew he was the one, and he was slowly coming around to that fact. We were engaged that summer, and married a year after that. Here was my plan for the remainder of that decade:

  • I would finish college
  • We’d move to Texas
  • I’d get a job teaching English at a public school in Dallas….
  • So Dave could go to seminary full time
  • He’d graduate seminary…
  • And get a job at some college or church (that was fuzzy) where we would live forever
  • THEN, we’d have kids. I’d be 27 or 28.
Prayer card

Our prayer card: 2003

Here’s what actually happened:

  • I got pregnant  (age 23)
  • I graduated college (age 24)
  • We moved to Texas — against my will (a baby changes everything!)
  • I was a full-time mom and an ad junct English teacher
  • Dave went to seminary part-time
  • I got pregnant again (age 25)
  • I got pregnant again (age 27)
  • We decided to go to Spain as missionaries, sold our house and most of our belongings, and spent a year driving around the country to raise support (ages 28-29)

Yep. My plans were WAY off. But I am so glad. My plans may have been safe, but they wouldn’t have required much spiritual stretching.

When I turned 30, we were just starting our year of language training in Costa Rica. My plans for that decade were pretty simple:

  • We’d move to Spain
  • We’d live there forever
book and me

The first copy of my first book! 2011

Here’s what actually happened:

  • We moved to Spain (age 31)
  • We returned to the states less than a year later, broken (age 32)
  • I got my “dream job”: teaching AP English at a Christian school (age 32)
  • Another dream: I got published (age 36)
  • Another dream: I starred in our mega-church’s mega Christmas production (age 36)
  • Loss of a dream: I was no longer being published  (age 39)
  • Loss of two other dreams: We moved to Largo – away from the school and church I loved (age 39)

Again, my expectations and God’s plans did not match up! And though some of those differences were terribly painful, they were good. Because God is good. And He is far more concerned with my eternal holiness than my temporary comfort. He teaches me, stretches me, and molds me into someone who will reflect Him to those He places in my path.

So, when I turn 40, you know I have plans! Lots of them. But I hope that, after two decades following Jesus, I can do a better job at holding those plans in an open palm. I want to be less frustrated when my plans don’t work out, more accepting of whatever surprises God brings about. I hope that, along with the gray hair and wrinkles, I am starting to show more Jesus, too.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11

 

1 Comment

  1. Beth
    Jan 29, 2015

    thanks for sharing! I appreciate the encouragement as I, too, move into 40 next month. We are amazingly blessed to have serve a Sovereign God! So thankful for how He chooses to transform us.

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