I think back on the last three decades, and I wonder how it’s possible to be turning 30 years old today. Most of the time, I still feel like the 7-year-old version of myself who played dress up and followed her big brother everywhere he went. But it’s true, as of 5:45 a.m., I am officially 30.
For months, I’ve wholeheartedly dreaded this birthday — and mostly for stupid, selfish reasons. I compared my life to that of the world’s standards, and I let the world win. Because my path has turned out differently than most, I felt embarrassed or ashamed. But this past weekend, I was reminded of how much I’ve been blessed beyond all imagination with an absolutely beautiful life. Instead of mourning over things I don’t have, I’m going to celebrate the things I do have …
- like parents who are willing to travel a long distance just to pray over me.
- like my brother’s son and daughter, whom I was able to hold hours after they came into this world.
- like finally getting the sister I’d always wanted thanks to my brother picking the right girl.
- like three nephews who welcome me with hugs and kisses as if I’ve always been part of their lives.
- like memories of cooking countless styrofoam meals in a playhouse my dad painted pink for me.
- like learning how to be comfortable in my own skin.
- like friends who travel from Nashville just to see me for a couple of hours on my birthday.
- like memories of signing my name in the Samford Hall bell tower.
- like having a childhood friend who played make-believe with me and danced along to “Hanging Tough”.
- like people who would lend me the shirt off their back if I needed it.
- like finally learning how to embrace diabetes and use it as a way to reach others.
- like a network of amazing people who are always there when diabetes makes no sense.
- like memories of playing tag under a weeping willow and setting rabbit traps under apple trees.
- like finally appreciating where I came from and the sacrifices it took to get me where I am.
- like walking across the stage at Auburn and my aunt being there to see it.
- like a God who picks me up when I fall short. Repeatedly.
- like friends who support me in my dreams and in missions.
- like friends who will come pick me and my bicycle up on the side of the road when I call.
- like two mutts who are always happy to see me no matter what.
- like being able to watch my alma mater win the national championship with amazing friends.
- like having friends who will hold my hand during the toughest times — friends who are nothing short of soul mates.
- like a back yard full of friends eating shrimp and celebrating life.
- like three beautiful women I’m blessed to call roommates.
Oh how selfish I have been to think turning 30 is a thing to be dreaded. I have been living for myself and failing to recognize that in all things, He works for my good. That what He has started in me, He will be faithful to complete. Oh, how wealthy and blessed I am in this life. I am so excited about the coming year of my life. In four days, I embark on one of the most glorious and terrifying experiences of my life — and yes, just after turning 30. So instead of looking back at the last three decades of my life and the things I think I may have missed out on, I’m going to look forward to the possibilities the next three decades hold. Sure, I may require more sleep these days. Joints may ache and two glasses of wine may knock me out, but it’s only a small adjustment compared the beauty of this life and the many blessings.
So here I go. I’m taking a deep breath, leaning back against Jesus and realizing it’s OK if I don’t have everything figured out. Thank you for being part of my first thirty. You should probably stick around for another 30. I hear things only get better with age.
And thank you for being part of my life. Thank you. Thank you.