My 40th birthday seemed like a good time to reflect on God's goodness and kindness towards me-I haven't deserved it, but He has granted it. The first passage of Scripture that came to mind as I woke up on June 14, 2018 was Philippians 3. The verses that first came to mind were 13 and 14, "But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." The Apostle Paul, the writer of the book of Philippians, was constantly looking heavenward-upward. Earlier in Chapter 3, he speaks about what he could boast in-namely his ethnic and religious background. He even says he could boast in being a persecutor of the Christian church and being blameless in outward conduct. One thing he could not boast in was love. Self-righteous people rarely boast in love. But on that amazing day that God used to change the course of Christian missions forever, the risen Christ met Paul (then Saul) on the road to Damascus and blinded him for three days so that he could finally truly see for the first time. This led Paul to write these words to the church at Philippi, "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (3:7-8). Before Paul's encounter with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he counted gain his self-confidence in things that would never save. Then he learned that all those things were rubbish in the face of the one true Savior.
Now that I am 40, it means that for almost half of my life I have been committed to walking with the Lord-far from perfectly, but wholeheartedly. I have counted the things of this world rubbish compared to knowing Christ and God has given me glorious freedom-freedom from striving to be good enough on my own, freedom from striving to be strong enough to heal my own wounds, and freedom from striving for things from a world that "has nothing for me and this world has everything" (Caedmon's Call).
It may seem strange that a major part of reflecting on turning 40 was reflecting on a chapter in the Bible that Paul wrote almost 2000 years ago, but if you know me at all, I hope that you know that the one thing I want you to know more than anything else in the whole world is what it means that Jesus loved you so much, He gave His life on the cross in our place for our sins and then He defeated death on the third day! This is the good news of the Bible and I pray for those of you who have not trusted in Christ as your Savior to trust in Him today and for those who have, to walk in the glorious freedom that He gives to His children. This is what I hope you know most about me. I also took time to reflect on my 30's through the lens Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." The theme that came through that exercise most was God's kindness towards me this last decade. He was kind to bring Ricky and me together. He was kind to give us 4 beautiful, amazing, challenging children. He was kind to never let us go as we experienced good times and hard times and a lot of times in between. He is kind. I pray that I can walk into this next decade living the inside-out life fueled by God's kindness for His glory-pressing on to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Because God is always worthy of praise.
GOODBYE 30's...you were full and now your time is through..
HELLO 40's...your time is wide open as I await what God will do.
40th Birthday pictures...we took an impromptu trip to Nashville, Tennessee. This went about as well as you would think an impromptu trip with 4 kids to a little hotel room would go, but it was filled with memories nonetheless!..
Breakfast in bed followed by sweet gifts from Ricky and the kids.
Enjoyed my birthday dinner at Rainforest Cafe Nashville in my new Rax (best roast beef ever made) shirt. :)
Spending time at a Nashville park with the kids.
Picture of all of us at Parthenon in Nashville. There were replica Greek statues inside and Micah said, 'That one has his diaper off!' :)
Enjoying birthday treat at Hard Rock Cafe Nashville. The waitress wished me a happy 20th birthday and Josiah said, "you don't look 20, you look 40."
Saw this sign up in a Motherhood store in the mall in Nashville and thought it summed up my 30's well! When I turned 30, I was engaged to Ricky. We got married when I was 30, had Isaac at 31, Emma at 32, adopted Josiah when I was 35, and had Micah when I was 37. It has certainly been a full decade-not to mention numerous moves and many other major life occurrences (some good and some really hard)!