I celebrated my 30th birthday at the Women of Faith Conference in Denver, Colorado. I had such a wonderful time, I wish it lasted more than a day and a half! It was so inspiring to be in a stadium full of women praising God, being encouraged, and having fun in the presence of the Lord!
Some of the speakers included; Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, Jennie Allen, Lisa Bevere, Angie Smith, and Ken Davis. There was an awesome praise and worship team and music by
Selah as well as my girl Cece Winans. I was so close to the stage, I was only about 10 feet away from her! What a birthday treat!
I actually met some women yesterday in the doctor's office who attended one of the WOF conferences a couple of years ago and loved it! I hope to go back! Have you been to a Women of Faith conference? If not, you should definitely check it out!
Hi blogoshpere! It's been an long time.
I guess you could say I took an unofficial "summer break" from blogging.
Not only have I not been writing on my own blog, but I haven't been doing much blog reading either. I'd have to say the break was needed and I think its helpful to step away from "the public" (meaning various forms of social media) from time to time. I think it offers us a time to really "be in the moment." Nevertheless, I have to say that I am eager to get back! : )
Among many things that have transpired in the past few months, your girl turned 30! Yes! 30! Many are sad to see the 20's go. But, I am not. I see 30 in a very favorable light!
It's not that my 20's weren't blessed. They were wonderful. I started courting the man of my dreams at 20. Spent my 21st birthday in Ghana, West Africa. Graduated from the college of my choice and was married in the same month at 21. Started my first "real" job around the same time, got a first apartment, first car, and officially became a "real" adult with "real" bills and "real" issues. I was blessed.
I was blessed to have 4 children in my 20's. I was pregnant with Noelle by 22. Pregnant with Bella at 24. Pregnant with Noah by 26 and had Halle at 28. We closed on our house on my 28th birthday. Remember that? That was a mountain top birthday. What I didn't see coming was that by my next birthday I would be in a valley so low, I would be struggling to think straight.
The day before my 29th birthday, after months of chronic pain, I got a call to confirm something that I was fearing - that I had 3 bulging disc in the lower spine and that it looked like I had pregnancy-related arthritis in my pelvic joints. That news was followed up by the report that there was nothing that could be done about the bulges or the arthritis. But, I could find relief through physical therapy, strengthening my core and pelvic muscles, and perhaps some steroid shots for the pain. So, I spent my 29th birthday running in and out of bathrooms, so I could appear happy and no one would see me crying. Not a good birthday.
It is hard to believe that was a year ago. Things were looking very bad. At that point, I was so glad that Jesus said all we needed was the faith the size of a mustard seed, because that was just about all I could muster up - if that. I wrote more about my physical issues and struggles with depression during that time in this post, if you are interested. Nevertheless, I'm so grateful that my story didn't end there, although it felt like it was. So, what happened next? If you know anything about how Jesus works, I bet you can guess.
I can tell you that really big test, harsh, brutal, earth-shaking test, ones that go on a long time, ones that shake your faith to the core - show you who God really is. They also reveal who you really are. They show you what God has put in you. They also bring your doubts and fears to the surface. Once you've hung in there long enough, they bring your conviction, your grit, your fight to the surface. They strengthen your resolution.
I can tell you that God is in those test with you. Yes, right there in that mess! Right down there in the mud. Even though I was mad at Him, mad at people, and mad at myself, he was still there. He ministered to me, comforted me, strengthened me, healed me, and counseled me. He helped me make sense of some things I could not understand and to let go of some things I could not understand. At one point it was the classic, "Now, why would you let this happen to me when I was trusting you?!" question.
Come on. I know you've been there too. If its not "Why did you allow this to happen to me" its the "Why did you allow this to happen to them?" question. Both are a doozy. God told Job, "Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare if thou has understanding." (Job 38:4). One day, after I got tired of shaking my fist at the heavens and saw that I was in a fight I was going to lose, He had a little talk like that with me. He may have had one or two with you as well.
And so I learned, when you get tired enough and humble yourself, God gives you grace to get to the place that Job gets to when he declares, "...I have uttered that which I understood not; Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." (Job 42:3). You realize that there is no way you are going to figure out life, let alone figure out God. You have to just let God be God and stick around. Take it from me, there is so much peace once you reach that point.
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
So, here I am now at 30. I am doing much better. I can see the sun shining. I am still back and forth to the doctor. I still feel some aches and pains. But, they are not as severe at they were last year. I can do more, move more, sleep better, live better. I am believing that in time, they will go away completely.
After all of the mountains and valleys that I experienced in my 20's, 30 is so exciting to me because I have something I didn't have much of at 20 - experience. I have experience with life, experience with people, and experience with God. Its a very different feeling to be going at something as a novice as opposed to one who has been at it for a while.
A seasoned person has both success and failures to glean from. A seasoned person has already established a foundation. A seasoned person has more patience. A seasoned person is sober enough to know that there will be more mountain tops as well as valleys on the journey ahead, but that both serve a purpose. A seasoned person knows that in all work there is profit, even if it seems slow coming.
A seasoned person doesn't waste so much time trying to understand and control everything, because they've already been down that road a time or two (or three;) A seasoned person doesn't feel the need to spend so much time looking at those around them in order to gauge whether they are on the right track or not. They already know the track they should be on. A seasoned person can reach back to the person behind them and say, "Watch out for that pitfall, that's the one I feel in!" I LOVE that!
I am so excited to walk into this new season of my life. Hello 30!