You were a rollercoaster! So much has happened and I am incredibly grateful for you. At the beginning I was not so sure; I told people it felt really old, maybe because it was more syllables than any age I’d been before (or will be, for another nine years). Or maybe it is that when you start inching closer to 30 something happens inside you. Like all of a sudden some of those life goals or hopes that you have kept stuffed in the back of your mind start pushing their way to the forefront, and things start to matter a little more than they used to. Each passing year makes me hold my days a little more tenderly, knowing there are (I know it is morbid) less and less left.
But the days were beautiful and full of surprises. When I rolled up to my 27th birthday party in that sassy romper and lipstick I had no idea that a year later I would be living in a different home, have a different job, and have traveled practically around the world.
Like New Years or a new journal, birthdays are a chance to start fresh. And blank slates and blank journals are a little scary, because they will be filled with something, and we just rarely know what.
What I have told people more than anything about this past year is that my life looks absolutely nothing like I ever thought it would, but it is better than I ever could have imagined. The Lord’s plans are surprising and beautiful and continue to blow my mind and increase my trust.
Twenty-seven, you taught me to be brave, to claim courage as my birthright. You gave me opportunity after opportunity to step out in bravery and faith, proving over and over again the goodness of God. You taught me that God goes with me and before me, to Africa and to the office.
There were a whole lot of moments where fear could have taken the driver’s seat. But you helped me practice saying, “NO. You can ride in the backseat, but there’s no way you’re driving.” I can look back and see all the things I would have missed had I allowed fear to bully me.
Courage is just one step at a time, moving in the right direction. Courage doesn’t have to be loud, dramatic, or big. It can be getting out of bed on a Monday, going on a date, saying yes or no to that thing. It can be life changing or it can just be life continuing.
You taught me to have fun. One of my favorite things about working with college students is how FUN they are, and they invite me into it. I hope I never stop trying to squeeze all the fun out of life that is possible.
You taught me to run along with Heavenly surprises. Like that day my article was published. Or accepting a totally unexpected new job. Or taking a team to Uganda even when all our plans changed. Nothing is boring with the Lord, ever ever ever. If we are bored, we aren’t listening.
Who the heck knows what you might hold? I am a firm believer that life will only get better with each year that comes, and that we are in control of whether or not that is true. Sure, hard things are going to happen – I actually am fairly confident that I will face some of those things this year. But we are in control of our attitude, our response, our heart’s posture. We can always approach life with gratitude and JOY. It is a game changer when we figure that one out.
In a world where we are in control of very little, this is what we can control. I may not find a husband or get published, I may lose a friend or experience tragedy. I might fail epically at something (it’s actually a goal I have – it means i’m pushing myself!). But we are not owned by that, we are owned by hope.
Because I follow Jesus, the Creator, Restorer, Bring-er, and Oprah of hope (you get hope! you get hope!), I am owned by hope. All day, everyday. It is my soundtrack, my anthem, my map, my driver.
Twenty-eight will surely consist of asking, “Do you know Jesus, our hope?” because there is no more important work than that.
So sweet twenty-eight, I’d like to say I am ready for you but I am not sure that is even possible. But I am full of hope and up for the ride. If you are anything like the first few days, you will be a challenge and an adventure. Let’s go!