It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. – Charles Dickens
When thinking about all that’s taken place over the course of this decade, the quote from A Tale of Two Cities jumped immediately to the forefront of my mind. It truly was the best of times and the worst of times and to explain it all would take far too long and open up a big barrel of craziness. Of course, along with the great dichotomy that often is life, there are other words that help summarize my experiences better than I seem to do on my own at times.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. – Helen Keller
When seasons of rain come into my life, they generally come in the form of severe hurricanes, tossing everything about and leaving the scene a nearly unrecognizable mess that must quickly be put back together. But in the rebuilding, the structures are given additional support so as to better whether the next round of waves when they come crashing onto my calm shore. Some people seem to go through life nearly unscathed while others experience valley after seeming valley. I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t change one season of terrible weather from my twenties because the incredible–nearly majestic times they led/lead to were/are worth every flood.
And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln
I never really saw myself at the age of 30 (and I STILL don’t see what the big deal is about this new age), so I’m actually a little surprised to be sitting here on the cusp of this next decade living a life I never fathomed–or dreamed of for that matter. In fact, the dreams I did dream came true and I have a million memories (and pictures) to prove it. The thing is, in that life (yes, it’s that different to the one I’m living now I can refer to it as “that life”), I doubt I would have married, had a home or children.Truth be told, I actually bartered with God when I was a child that if he would just allow my one dream to come true then I would never ask for such “normal” things. And I didn’t. He allowed (through much hard work), the dreams I had to bring forth fruit and in time, he allowed those dreams to transition into ones that brought more glory to Him. The cool thing…God didn’t hold my crazy prayers of youth against me (PTL!). His will and purpose was still accomplished and today I sit here having lived what seems like several lives in a span of only 30 years and I’m also immensely blessed to now have those things I thought I didn’t want. I literally went from being a career driven, take charge kind of gal to a fairly “crunchy” (still take charge) momma. My new position as mother to the sweetest guy in the world is worth more than gold to me (I’m not full “crunchy” because I very much lean to the right!). Point being, this is the first TRUE career I’ve had where the outcome is of eternal significance and greater reward than anything this life can give. His birth–what a great period to end the story of my twenties with.
In closing, it’s been quite a wild ride thus far. I went from singing in front of 70-thousand people at the start of my twenties and having my name listed in the “Celebrity Birthday” column in newspapers, to barely recognizing that girl in pictures or even being recognized. I went from stages and studios to a classroom, and somehow cruised through obtaining a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts…I even went to seminary, for Pete’s sake! I went from buying things without thinking to cloth diapering for the environment and to save every last cent I could to make ends meet. I went from there to here and can’t fully explain my life (nor do I want to), to people, unless they’ve been “there” too. People don’t usually “get” me and I, quite honestly, don’t “get” most people (so very grateful for those I do “get”). But, this is me. Same girl as before…just completely different. Love me. Hate me. Just don’t try and change who God made me. With that…here’s to 30!
Below are my life verses, that give me added grace every moment. I don’t know what the Lord has in store for my life over the course of the next decade, but I do know He steers the ship and I just pray for strength to ride every wave with as much dignity as possible and press on toward His goals for me…whatever those may be.
For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press onso that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained (Philippians 3:7-16).
The greatest high–worth every single low–of my twenties: