Monday, June 2, 2014


This week I celebrate my birthday.

{Correction: people who know me, love me, or just happen to overhear courtesy of my overzealous children will celebrate my birthday.}

I don't necessarily enjoy the 'birthday' part.  The celebrating?  Heck, yeah.  Any excuse for an extra coat or two of mascara, some strappy heels, and food that wasn't prepared by yours truly is certainly cause for celebration.

But the age thing.  The growing older thing.  The bigger number thing.  When I think about it, it gets to me.

I know.  I know.  Thirty-three is not, by any means of the word, 'old'.  I know this.

I also know that when I think back to when I was turning threeplustwenty, the reality of threeplusthirty seemed

The year of threeplustwenty was when I became engaged to a guy who I had spent the better part of our relationship basically the whole relationship in long-distance status.  We had both come from long-term/long-distance relationships prior to dating each other, so the speed with which we became engaged was unsettling at first for some of our family.  When you threw in the fact that we would be making a major move all alone in the 'great big world' of Colorado; emotions ran high, deep, fast, and in every direction in between.  I just *knew* as soon as we'd get to Colorado, we'd be good, because we could do life our way...on our own.

And we tried.  I don't want to say we were unsuccessful in the least bit, because later this month we'll be celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary {which, by the way, carries with it the traditional and modern gift of pottery.  Babe, in case you're reading this, I do not need a gravy boat.},  Life happened.  We weren't necessarily prepared for the learning curve involved with becoming husband and wife.

The truth is, we did life in the best way we knew how.  Almost 2,000 miles away from the places we called home, we found out really quickly that we had no one to cling to but each other.  On-call schedules and the madness of a teacher's workload intermingled with a new puppy, being surprised by a pregnancy, and learning terms like escrow and mortgage insurance.  All of these changes brought on various and unexpected challenges; ones we were able to work through together {not always easily or quickly, but together.}

As our twentysomething selves morphed and grew into threebythirty, there were times we felt we were in the midst of a full-fledged mutiny.  Playing zone defense can be a bit exhausting, especially when each member of the opposing team seems to throw out their own audibles before consulting with each other.  I was desperately sleep deprived courtesy of a baby girl who had her own agenda for, and I craved the comforts of my classroom where I spent time doing what I had spent my whole pre-threeplustwenty years preparing for.  Having that place, that responsibility, that passion-in-action...I felt like I was doing my life right.  I was completely comfortable in the reality with which I found myself surrounded.  I maintained a balance between momming and working and wifing and friending and familying and relaxing that seemed to be working for me.  For the most was all good.

October, 2012.  {Insert screeching break sound/dozens of tear-filled conversations/even less sleep than I had thought humanly possible here.} Now, this is the story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down, and I'd like to take a minute just sit right there, I'll tell you how I found myself in the state with big hair.

Texas happened.  Changes happened.  Things I couldn't necessarily gain control of happened.

And soon, I realized that I had spent nearly the past decade thinking I was a-okay doing life my own little way, relying solely upon my husband, kids, family, friends, and students to affirm, define, and give me meaning.  {Don't get me wrong.  I've got a pretty awesome group of peeps looking out for me.}

But something was missing.  The first time I made this kind of a huge life transition, it was a fresh and fun way to kick off my 'life-as-a-wife'.  I looked forward to the adventure.

The next time the opportunity presented itself...I wasn't ready.  I wasn't happy.  I wasn't excited.  I didn't understand why it all was happening this way, when life seemed to be going along fine and dandy.

It took a while, but I began to realize God had other plans.  It took a while, but I began to realize I couldn't do life the way I had been--I couldn't do life on my own.  It took a while, but I began to realize the truth behind Philippians 2:13--for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose {NIV}.  It took a while, but I began to realize the power of Romans 12:2--Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will. {NIV}

It took a while, but I began to realize why God brought us here.  To Texas.  To the land of humidity, football, big hair, and BBQ.  At first I thought I was all alone{husband and kids, yes...but alone otherwise}.  And while at threeplustwenty, I thought I knew what I needed to do life, God knew that by the time I had reached threeplusthirty that my heart would soften, my mind would open, and I would realize that my life here in Texas was a part of His plan all along.  Here, He planned to show me how I'm not alone--never have been, never will be.  Here He surrounded me with a group of people, rooted me in a church, and nurtured my growing faith through avenues that are all interconnected--and yes, all a part of His plans.  And while I still have an awesome conglomeration of peeps scattered in various parts of this country who have my back, love, support, and encourage me on a daily basis, I also have the most incredible heavenly Father whom has declared, "For I know the plans I have for you....plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.

This year, I'll celebrate my first birthday as a Christian.  I'll probably have wear an extra coat or two of mascara and my favorite strappy heels, and will eat a meal or two that I didn't have to prepare myself...but this year, for this first year in my threeplusthirty years, I will be cognizant of the Holy Spirit who dwells within my heart and never leaves me lonely again.  And that, in itself, is reason to celebrate.